SONOMA, Calif. – For the fifth time this season, a valuable member of the NAPA AUTO PARTS community was recognized for their customer loyalty. Jim Poole was selected as the Honorary Pit Crew Member for Martin Truex Jr. and his No. 56 Toyota during Sunday’s running of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. He was given the prestigious honor by Santa Rosa Auto Parts.
“I was very, very excited when I got the call and was told I received this honor,” beamed Poole. “It is an opportunity of a lifetime!”
Poole has been the maintenance supervisor for Vino Farms Inc. Vino Farms is one of the largest vineyard management companies in Sonoma and Napa County. It encompasses over 6,500 acres.
“We don’t have wineries. We are growers,” explained Poole. “We sell the grapes to the wineries.”
His responsibilities include maintaining over 150 pieces of equipment which includes pickup trucks, tractors, ATV’s, grape harvesters, along with stationary motors and pumps for frost protection and irrigation. Because of his occupation, he expects nothing but the best when it comes to the parts he needs. He’s been a loyal NAPA customer for over 28 years.
“NAPA is responsible for keeping all my trucks and tractors going,” said Poole. “The programs that NAPA has for us and our computers really allow me to find the parts I need rather quickly. We also take all of the classes that NAPA offers to keep everyone up to speed.”
Poole was joined by his wife Joan to take part in the day’s festivities. They have been NASCAR fans for years and try to attend several races over the course of the season. They have attended races at Phoenix International Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Infineon Raceway. They are proud to say they cheer for Truex and the NAPA Racing team along with the local favorite Jeff Gordon.
On Sunday, their visit to the Infineon Raceway was like no other. Their day started at the NAPA Race Day Experience – NAPA’s VIP hospitality event. While there, Poole was introduced to Martin Truex Jr. and his owner Michael Waltrip during their scheduled appearances. Truex presented Poole with an autographed crew shirt in front of 150 NAPA AUTO PARTS guests. He and Joan 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.
What was the most important thing Poole wanted to do?
“I want to sit on the pit box and watch the race,” stated Poole.
An Honorary Pit Crew Member decal with Poole’s name also adorned the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. Fans in the stands could easily see it when Truex took the green flag in the 10th position for the big race.
“When I saw my name on the car, it just about brought tears to my eyes,” smiled Poole.
Poole got to watch 61 action-packed laps from the NAPA pit box. Truex was on mark for a top-five finish before Jeff Gordon spun out the NAPA driver. A significant loss of track position put the NAPA Toyota back in 26th position on the restart. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to make a lap after that due to a multi-car crash on the restart that collected the No. 56 machine. Damage sustained by the wreck prevented Truex from returning to the race. The NAPA team was relegated to a 42nd-place finish after running as high as second.
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).