KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Chris Nolan would love to drive a race car for Michael Waltrip and maybe he should ask especially since it looks like he’s got luck on his side after the weekend he had at the Kansas Speedway. Nolan of Spencer, Neb., was selected by NAPA to be the Honorary Pit Crew Member for the Price Chopper 400. And while attending yesterday’s NAPA Race Day Experience, his wife Vonda won the big prize at Waltrip’s appearance – a NAPA AUTO PARTS racing helmet like the one the two-time Daytona champ wears.
“I think we’ll play the lotto this week,” Nolan beamed. “We’ve never been this lucky before.”
Nolan, the owner of Nolan Motor in Spencer, is no stranger to the auto care business because he grew up in this father’s shop. He loved the business his family started over 25 years ago that he bought it. He employs two full-time workers and one part-time worker. He buys only NAPA AUTO PARTS.
“We work hard and feel fortunate in these tough economic times that people are coming to us to fix their old stuff versus buying new,” said Nolan.
Nolan was notified a few weeks ago from NAPA that he was selected to be the Honorary Pit Crew Member at Kansas. Up until that point, the NASCAR fan had only been to a race at Kansas Speedway.
“When I got the call from NAPA telling me about this opportunity, I really didn’t believe it for awhile,” he elaborated. “It was pretty crazy actually. We’ve been here for two days and we are having a great time. I am standing out here on pit road and I guess I still don’t believe it yet. Nothing compares to this.”
His time in Kansas included a little work.
“Last night when we were on our way back to the hotel, we stopped at a gas station,” explained Vonda. “There was a lady stranded there because she didn’t have any brakes. Chris helped her. He had to look around to borrow some tools, but was able to fix it and get her back on her way. That’s how he runs his business too. He’ll go out of his way to help anybody he can.”
As part of the experience, the Nolans enjoyed attending NAPA’s popular Race Day Experience. Chris was honored by driver Waltrip during his appearance and was presented with an official NAPA Racing crew shirt. Vonda walked away with the grand prize – the NAPA Racing driver’s helmet. They were then transported by golf cart to the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage where they enjoyed lunch with the team and an exclusive tour of the team’s hauler, Sprint Cup garage and pit areas by Michael Waltrip Racing’s Rick Wainright. While on the starting grid, they had their picture taken with Waltrip by Nolan’s decal on the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota.
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 Texas Motor Speedway (November 8) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (November 22).