POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2009) – Doug Whiteman, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., was named the 27th NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member and the final one for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, which ended today at the 45th annual NHRA Finals.
Whiteman, 45, owns George's Shell gas station, a NAPA AutoCare Center, in Fontana, Calif., which was named after his father who bought the station when Whiteman was 9 years old. It's been a NAPA AutoCare Center for 25 years, and "I have worked there my whole life," he said.
"Our relationship with NAPA has been very close. It's where I do most of my business," continued Whiteman, who is also the president of NAPA's Inland Empire Business Development Group and was NAPA's ASE Tech of the Year in 2008 for the L.A. Area.
"We work with the NAPA store in Fontana, and we're both on the same page as far as quality parts at a fair price go. You get good value for your money at NAPA and high-quality parts, which is what we focus on."
This was Whiteman's first trip to the NHRA Nationals and Pomona Raceway after meeting NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car driver Ron Capps recently at the NAPA conference in Las Vegas. "I follow NHRA drag racing and Ron's efforts; I just haven't been out to a race until today," he said.
"It's incredible. I'm excited. I didn't sleep since about 4 o'clock this morning waiting for this. Getting to see what goes on behind the scenes is really cool. That's what makes it fun and exciting."
Jim Freeman, Sales Manager for the Los Angeles NAPA Distribution Center, helped present the honor to Whiteman in the Don Schumacher Racing pits. "Doug is a very good friend to us and NAPA AUTO PARTS," he said.
"A group of NAPA managers decided to nominate him because of his position as president of our Inland Empire Business Development Group. It's a great decision for us. He's a big supporter of our Fontana store, and we're very glad to have him as a customer.
"The L.A. NAPA Distribution Center services stores from Moreno Valley all the way up the coast to Santa Maria and in between," added Freeman. "There are more than 60 NAPA stores that we service, including more than 28 company-owned stores.
"We think NAPA's association with Don Schumacher Racing is fantastic. It brings a lot to NAPA. There are a large number of NHRA fans and we're glad to be part of it."
Whiteman's non-wrenching crew-member duties included escorting the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car to the staging lanes for the Funny Car eliminations rounds today. He then helped retrieve the car at the end of the track after each pass.
The side window of the NAPA Dodge sported Whiteman's name as the NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member this weekend.
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.
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.