Kevin Ribbens, owner of KR Auto Repair in Waukesha, Wis., was named the 11th NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series today at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill.

Kevin Ribbens

Ribbens, 44, whose shop recently became a NAPA AutoCare Center, was selected by Tim Scheutz, owner of NAPA AUTO PARTS of Waukesha. "I've been buying parts from Tim for about a year and a half after he opened the store," said Ribbens, who has owned KR Auto Repair for nine years, after managing it for 11 years. "And he now has about 60 percent of my business. They get parts out fast when we need them and they're very helpful.

"Tim has been trying to get me to be a NAPA AutoCare Center for a while. He finally accomplished it. I wanted to make sure they were decent parts, that lasted, and that they weren't just going to be in and out of the Waukesha area, that they were going to stick around. He's treated me well, so I figured I might as well be a NAPA AutoCare Center."

"When we went into the market we knew that Kevin's shop was one we wanted to have as a NAPA AutoCare Center," said Scheutz, from Waukesha, just a three hours' drive from Route 66 Raceway. "Kevin gave me an opportunity to do business with him and little by little we did more.

"We are going to get a lion's share of his business now that he is a NAPA AutoCare Center. Kevin has always had a tremendous reputation for the business he runs and the people he employs. That is why we wanted to do business with him."

Ribbens is not only a fan of NHRA pro drag racing, he races himself at the Great Lakes Dragway in Union Grove, Wis., in the Midwest Super Stock Mafia class. "I race a '67 Chevy Caprice and we run probably six or seven races a year. We run with a 10-1/2-inch-wide slick because we're limited to that for Super Stock and the car runs about 8.0s at 174 mph.

"Ron Capps is doing really well this year, and this is such a great opportunity to be here as the NAPA Honorary Crew Member on his car. I'm very glad Tim signed me up for this," added Ribbens, who has visited Route 66 Dragway several times, twice to get his racing chassis certified and re-certified by the NHRA. "We got a tour of the entire Don Schumacher Racing pit area, and it was pretty interesting. I learned a couple of new things about drag racing and about how all the teams at DSR work together, which I think is great. I think that's why they're doing so well."

Ribbens' non-wrenching crew-member duties included escorting the NAPA AUTO PARTS 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 AUTO PARTS 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 Ribbens' 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.