Local Gainesville resident Jerry Polvere was selected as the second NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member of the 41st annual NHRA Gatornationals, and the fourth of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Jerry Polvere

Polvere, 49, owns Jerry's AC and Auto Repair, a NAPA AutoCare Center in Gainesville, which he's been operating since 1982. 'We just started our relationship with NAPA and we like working with them a lot," he said. "I’ve been buying their parts for years but I’m just now getting associated with them a little closer. They provide good service and quality parts.”

As a drag-racing fan, Polvere said he attends the Gatornationals every year. As a car restorer, he gets involved with the Super Chevy show with his restored 1967 Camaro. "We were actually in a car show last night and we won first place in one of the categories," he said. "It was right down on 39th Ave. in Gainesville. They do it every year during the Gatornationals and it supports children’s cancer.”

He was thrilled when he heard he was named this weekend's NAPA Honorary Crew Member. “I’m very honored," he said. "This is quite a treat to be here. I’m at a loss for words, but it’s quite an experience. I was actually the Grand Marshall three years ago here. I did that through another company and that was quite an experience as well. I’ve been around these nitro cars since I was 14 years old."

Rocky Justice, owner of the Gainesville NAPA AUTO PARTS store, was instrumental in the selection of the honoree and was on hand to help present the honor. “We decided to select one of our better customers to give the award to," he said. "We selected Jerry out of a group of about 100 customers who are becoming loyal, dedicated NAPA customers. The recipient should be someone who enjoys the activities and we wanted to give Jerry that honor this year.

“I’m just involved in NHRA drag racing as a fan," he continued. "We have a lot of customers, especially around this time of the year who have come into town and have actually bought parts from us for some of their drag cars. So we’ve seen a lot of activity this week.”

Mike Foster, General Manager of the Jacksonville (Fla.) NAPA Distribution Center, also helped honor Polvere. “It’s incredible to be able to bring your customers out and be able to treat them to the race and the hospitality at Don Schumacher Racing. It’s very cool.”

Polvere's non-wrenching crew-member duties included escorting the NAPA Filters Dodge Funny Car to the staging lanes for the Funny Car elimination rounds today. He then helped retrieve the car at the end of the track after each pass. Capps finished the day in the semifinal round and is second in the point standings.

The side window of the NAPA Filters Dodge sported Polvere's name as the NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member this weekend.

He also met and chatted with the entire NAPA Filters 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.