Mike Torres, a transplant to Colorado from Brooklyn, N.Y., was named the 15th NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series at this weekend's Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.

Mike Torres

Torres, 32, relocated to Littleton when he was18 years old, and in the last eight months set up Dakota Ridge Complete Automotive there, a NAPA AutoCare Center, where he serves as the Chief Operations Manager.

"I've been an auto mechanic for years and we became a NAPA AutoCare Center even before we opened," said Torres, whose father Rich drove to this weekend's event from Staten Island, N.Y., to share the honor with his son. "I then got involved in an organization called the NAPA AutoCare Colorado Select.

"I have followed NHRA my whole life and I show my NAPA yellow-and-blue very proudly at the shop."

Said Brian Roach, district manager, Denver NAPA Distribution Center: "Mike and his partners Chris and Mark Shamis were looking for a supplier that could be their partner and help them enter a competitive market dominated by national repair facilities. They selected NAPA AUTO PARTS as their primary supplier due to the strength of the local store and the strength of the NAPA AutoCare program. They wanted to align themselves with a supplier that gave them the ability to compete with the national chains.

"With the Mile-High Nationals being a major event in the area, we were fortunate to be able to offer a few of our customers a chance to attend this great NAPA event," continued Roach. "We entered the names of all the NAPA AutoCare facilities into a drawing and Mike was selected to be our Honorary Pit Crew Member. When I called Mike to ask him if he would represent NAPA he was thrilled. He is a huge NHRA fan."

Torres' non-wrenching crew-member duties included escorting the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car to the staging lanes for the eliminations rounds on Sunday. He then helped retrieve the car at the end of the track following NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car driver Capps' runs.

The side window of the NAPA Dodge also sported Torres' name as the NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member.

"This is phenomenal," he said. "It's the opportunity of a lifetime. The single biggest thing I'm personally excited about is actually having my name on the car. At home last night watching qualifying on TV and seeing the car go down the track with my name on it was just a thrill that I haven't been able to quite get over.

"And the fact hat he pulled off No. qualifier, you couldn't ask for more. I barely slept last night. From seeing my name, and seeing him No. 1 qualifier and getting here and seeing the car, my dad and I are just excited to no end. It really is a phenomenal privilege to have been invited here for this."

Torres 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.

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.