TOPEKA, Kan. (May 30, 2009) – Larry Leibrand, of Kansas City, Mo., was selected as the 10th NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series at this weekend's NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
Leibrand, 51, has owned Riverside Automotive, in Riverside, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City, since 1989 and buys parts for his business from the local NAPA AUTO PARTS store located "about a half-mile from my shop," he said. "Everyone at that NAPA store has been wonderful. They do a great job and we work well together.
"I'm very happy to be here," continued Leibrand, a tri-athlete who competes in the MS150 each year, which runs from Kansas City to Sedalia, Mo. "I have been to the Topeka race before, about four or five years ago, but, honestly, I don't know a whole lot about the sport. I follow NASCAR and of course I know who Ron Capps is.
"I like all sports. As a tri-athlete I run, bike and swim four or five days a week. If I wasn't here I'd be running my bike. It's hard to compare the two sports, but I certainly enjoy my triathlons and I enjoy being here at the Topeka drag races with all the NAPA and Don Schumacher Racing people."
Keith Finlay, district manager, NAPA Kansas City, was on hand for the announcement in the DSR pit area. "Mr. Leibrand has been a customer now for about 10 years," he said, "and after quite a lot of prodding, he finally decided to become a NAPA AutoCare Center back in March, and I felt it fitting to select him as the NAPA Honorary Crew Member this year, after the loyal business that he's given us over the years."
Leibrand's non-wrenching crew-member duties included escorting the NAPA Adaptive One Brakes Dodge Funny Car to the staging lanes for the qualifying rounds on Saturday. He also helped retrieve the car at the end of the track following NHRA Funny Car points leader Capps' runs.
He also met and chatted with the entire NAPA Adaptive One Brakes Dodge Funny Car crew, was a special guest in the NAPA hospitality area throughout the weekend, 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.
The side window of the NAPA Dodge also sported Leibrand's name as this weekend's NAPA Honorary Pit Crew Member.
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.