AVONDALE, Ariz. – Matt Allen of Phoenix was selected by NAPA to be the Honorary Pit Crew Member for Saturday night’s running of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Allen was joined by his wife Dr. Edith Allen to participate in NAPA’s new program for valued customers and clients at select NASCAR Sprint Cup races.
“This has been a great experience for me and my wife,” said Allen who owns Virginia Auto Service. “I have worked in racing and have been to NASCAR races before, but this really is a great opportunity that NAPA has allowed us to take part in. It’s very interactive so it’s a lot different from the other times when I have been in the NASCAR garage.”
Allen, who became interested in cars and racing when he was just 10 years old, has over 21 years of experience in the auto service industry. His love for racing turned into a career in 1990 when he went to work for Kelly-Moss Motor Sports – a SCCA racing team sponsored by Porsche. After four seasons, he stumbled upon Virginia Auto Service, a boarded up business that was for sale in Phoenix. He purchased it and turned it into a thriving business that employs eight people with annual sales totaling $1.2 million.
“In business, I have always treated customers fair and with honesty and integrity,” added Allen. “I always ask myself, ‘Would I recommend that part or service if it were my mother’s car?’”
The Allens got to enjoy the NAPA Race Day Experience where Matt met NAPA driver Michael Waltrip and joined the two-time Daytona 500 champion on stage during his personal appearance with guests. From there, the Allens were escorted to the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage area where they met the team, toured the NAPA hauler, ate lunch with the crew and participated in driver introductions. The Allens took plenty of photos including one with Waltrip by Matt’s decal located on the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. Once the race started, they watched a portion of it from the NAPA AUTO PARTS pit box with crew chief Robert “Bootie” Barker.
“It was really neat to see my full name on the car because there is no doubt – it’s me,” smiled Allen who is the proud father of two young girls, 10-month-old Emily and two-year old Claire. He is also raising his eight-year-old nephew, Ludwig, who is also a race fan.
This season at 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup events where NAPA is hosting its popular Race Day Experience, a guest will be chosen based on different criteria determined by the NAPA management from that region. The Honorary Pit Crew Member program will take place at upcoming hospitality events at Talladega Superspeedway (April 26), Charlotte All-Star Race (May 16), Dover International Speedway (May 31), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (June 28), Chicagoland Speedway (July 11), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 26), Watkins Glen International (August 9), Michigan International Speedway (August 16), Bristol Motor Speedway (August 22), Atlanta Motor Speedway (September 6), Richmond International Raceway (September 12), Kansas Speedway (October 4), Texas Motor Speedway (November 8) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (November 22)..