DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NAPA AUTO PARTS kicked off the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season with its popular Honorary Pit Crew Member program at Daytona International Speedway during the Daytona 500. This year, Mark Goodrich and Kevin Edmunds had the opportunity to attend as two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip and Martin Truex Jr. competed under the NAPA banner. Goodrich represented the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS team while Edmunds represented Waltrip's No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota.
Goodrich has been associated with the NAPA AUTO PARTS brand for 39 years. He started working at NAPA in 1972 and became a store owner five years ago after purchasing a store in Midway, Ga. He and his wife Annette successfully run the store and support NAPA programs in full. They are pipelined and have a full-time OSS effort.
"NAPA is the biggest parts business going," said Goodrich. "NAPA is so strong with all the programs they have to make us successful. We didn't have to reach out and grab the opportunity. NAPA brought it to us. If you just serve your customers correctly, the business is there and you will do extremely well. You can't fail with NAPA."
Edmunds is the Tampa, Fla. Firestone District Manager. He started his career with Bridgestone/Firestone in October 2004 as the service manager for a Brandon store location out of the Tampa District. In March 2005, he was promoted to store manager at the Carrollwood location. In November 2007, he earned a position as assistant district manager in the Tampa District. Edmunds then advanced to district manager for the Tampa District in February 2009.
"NAPA is really a great group to work with and we've had a long relationship with them," said Edmunds. "Everyone on all the NAPA teams do a fantastic job. They understand in the business we're in, we need parts quick. Customer convenience is at the highest level we have ever seen. Now with social media, every time there is a delay in getting a part or even better, have the swift delivery, they are sitting in your showroom telling everyone about their experience. We rely on NAPA to help deliver the customer satisfaction we need to have a successful business."
On Sunday, Goodrich, Edmunds and their guests took part in the NAPA Race Day Experience with drivers Waltrip and Truex. The drivers presented their Honorary Pit Crew Members with an autographed crew shirt and received a personal tour of the garage, NAPA team hauler and pit road. They joined the NAPA Know How Crew for lunch and then headed out to pit road to participate in pre-race activities and driver introductions. The highlight of their experience was the unveiling of their names decaled on the No. 56 and No. 15 Toyotas.
"This is my 35th straight Daytona 500," smiled Goodrich. "This event is like no other and it sets the tone for the rest of the NASCAR season. Of all the times I have been here it is an honor to receive this recognition. I have enjoyed it all day. I've talked with Michael and Martin. Over the years I've talked to Michael, but it's so nice to talk to Martin and many more people in the garage. I'm looking forward to watching the race from the pit. It's going to be a ball!"
"The day has been fabulous," said Edmunds who has attended several NASCAR Sprint Cup races in the past. "The chance to meet Michael and Martin has been phenomenal. We got to the NAPA hospitality event and were treated great. I can't wait to see my name on the car!"
Once the green flag waved, they both climbed on top of their respective team pit boxes to watch the opening laps of the The Great American Race. They witnessed Waltrip run most of his race in the top10 before an accident ended his day in 40th. Truex led the race eight different times and was guaranteed a top-10 finish before he was wrecked when the event went into overtime. Fortunately, Truex continued on to finish 19th.
This season, NAPA is hosting its Race Day Experience at many of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. An Honorary Pit Crew Member is chosen based on criteria determined by the NAPA management from that region.