GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2009) - Frank Lopiccolo, of Jacksonville, Fla., was named the fourth NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series today at the NHRA Gatornationals.

Shawn Jenkins

Owner of Jacksonville's first Tuffy Auto Service Center, also a NAPA Auto Care Center, Lopicollo was chosen through a special drawing among area NAPA Auto Care centers that were required to meet a certain level to qualify.

"It's very exciting," said Lopiccolo, 50, of Jacksonville. "I'm very honored to have been chosen for this. I've been in the automotive industry all my life, but this is my first NHRA drag-racing event.""

Lopiccolo's Tuffy Auto Center recently won the New Dealer of the Year Award from Tuffy corporate, selected among 270 stores nationwide. "It was one of the highest honors as far as customer service goes. So, a lot of good exciting things are happening for me," he said.

"We've been with NAPA from day one when we opened Tuffy Auto Service Center two years ago. NAPA has just been great. We bought a lot of equipment from them, and they're our No. 1 supplier of automotive parts."

Donny Franklin, district manager for the NAPA Distribution Center in Jacksonville helped present the award to Lopiccolo in the NAPA hospitality area in the Don Schumacher Racing pits this morning.

"We ran a program for the NAPA Auto Care centers out of Jacksoville and they had to meet a certain level to qualify," said Franklin. "Once they qualified, we put all their names in a hat and we drew Frank's name out.

"It's a great program and I know Frank well. We had a promotion here last year as well and the folks really enjoyed it. The NAPA Honorary Pit Crew Member award is something great to add to the program."

Lopiccolo's non-wrenching crew-member duties today included escorting the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car to the staging lanes for the first round of eliminations. He also helped retrieve the car at the end of the track following driver Ron Capps' run.

He also met and chatted with the entire NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car crew and was a special guest in the NAPA hospitality area throughout the day. He received a NAPA team jersey, experienced an up-close-and-personal view of the NAPA crew as the team worked on the car, and enjoyed a private tour of the team transporter and pit area.

NAPA AUTO PARTS distribution centers at each NHRA event during the season have different criteria for choosing the persons who are potential NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Members.

The name of each NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member selected throughout the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season will be prominently displayed on the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car on race day.