TALLADEGA, Ala. – Doug Melton has enjoyed watching the NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Talladega Superspeedway but yesterday he had the ideal seat as he and his wife Kimberly watched the opening laps of the Aaron’s 499 from the NAPA pit box with crew chief Pat Tryson. Melton was recognized by NAPA Birmingham as the Honorary Pit Crew Member for Martin Truex Jr. and his No. 56 team.

Dennis Fox

Melton of Melton Automotive in nearby Alabaster, Ala. has become one of the premier NAPA AutoCare Centers in the area after becoming a member in March of 2009. Melton opened his repair facility in 2001 on the foundation of providing quality workmanship and reliability for a customer base that has grown significantly in nine years.

“We work hard,” says Melton on his company’s success.”We always strive to do better and do better work than the competition.”

As an ASE Certified Master Technician and business owner, Melton understands the importance of an efficient running business. He graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and also participated in the Toyota T-Ten program, a two-year automotive program offered at Lawson State Community College.

Since teaming up with NAPA, Melton has utilized many of the great programs that NAPA has to offer. These include becoming a NAPA AutoCare Center, NAPA TRACS, NAPAFIX, NAPA AutoCare Business Development Group member, NAPA Real Rewards, Vin Waterhouse, and NAPA stocking programs. The partnership Melton Automotive has built with NAPA has certainly helped him make his business more efficient and more profitable.

“NAPA has really backed up my business,” said Melton. “There are so many perks to being a NAPA AutoCare Center. I am still trying to figure all of them out. They have given me ways to save money and the Nationwide Warranty is an asset. I have been using the NAPA TRACS software to manage the shop and it’s been great.

“NAPA has also really helped me structure my business to be successful. I have attended business owner classes and they’ve provided technical training for my guys. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of that on my own.”

While at Talladega on Sunday, Melton and his wife attended the NAPA Race Day Experience. Melton took part in both Michael Waltrip’s and Martin Truex Jr.’s appearances at the hospitality event. Truex recognized Melton in front of 200 NAPA AUTO PARTS fans. They were then taken to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage area where they got a personal tour of the NAPA team hauler and pit road by Michael Waltrip Racing’s Rick Wainright. They joined the NAPA team for lunch and then participated in the pre-race activities that included a photo opportunity at the No. 56 Toyota that showcased a decal in his honor on the car’s C-post.

“This day has been great,” smiled Melton. “When the folks at NAPA Birmingham told me my name was going to be on the car, I went and looked at past photos of Honorary Pit Crew Members on the internet. I couldn’t believe it. If Martin wins at Talladega, he is welcome to keep my name on the car if that gives him good luck.”

Having Melton’s name on Truex’s car did help. The driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota was en route to a top-five finish on the final lap before getting shuffled out of the lead pack by Kyle Busch. Truex held on to finish 12th – a solid result for the driver considering the last five races saw him record a top finish of 31st.

For the second year in a row at NASCAR Sprint Cup events where NAPA is hosting its popular Race Day Experience, a guest will be chosen based on different criteria determined by the NAPA management from that region. The Honorary Pit Crew Member program is taking place at upcoming hospitality events at Infineon Raceway (June 20), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (June 27), Chicagoland Speedway (July 10), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 8), Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 15), Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 21), Atlanta Motor Speedway (Sept. 5), Richmond International Raceway (Sept. 11), Dover International Speedway (Sept. 26), Kansas Speedway (Oct. 3), Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 7) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 21).