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NASCAR Sprint Cup car to honor men’s basketball

by UofL Today last modified Jun 13, 2013 08:17 AM

When NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) driver Brian Vickers climbs in the No. 55 Toyota at Kentucky Speedway on June 29, he and his “Aaron’s Dream Machine” will sport University of Louisville colors honoring the school’s 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship team. Michael Waltrip Racing owns the car.

NASCAR Sprint Cup car to honor men’s basketball

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“This will certainly help my popularity with local fans that weekend,” said Vickers, laughing. “I’m a huge sports fan so to have the national champions on board is a huge honor. They are winners and it’s always cool to surround yourself with success. Our goal is to make them proud.”

One of Vickers’ strongest supporters is well-known not only in the Bluegrass state but also across the nation.

“We’re thrilled Aaron’s and Brian Vickers have chosen to run the Louisville colors during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Kentucky Speedway,” said UofL basketball coach Rick Pitino. “I know how many Louisville basketball fans are NASCAR fans and, like them, I’m looking forward to seeing the car on the track. I think one of those die-cast cars might eventually make it to my office. I’ve seen the paint scheme and it’s pretty cool.”

At last year’s Kentucky race, MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip drove a University of Kentucky-themed paint scheme. The Owensboro, Ky. native and 2010 Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame inductee admits that seeing the Louisville colors on one of his cars makes him proud—for the most part.

“Like everyone in Kentucky I grew up watching basketball. It’s a part of our culture. We’d watch the games and race,” said Waltrip. “Now I have to be honest. I’m a UK fan but once the ’Cats didn’t make the tournament I rooted for Louisville. As a Kentuckian, I’m proud of their championship and really glad we could honor them during the Kentucky weekend.”

UofL supporters and alumni can support Vickers in his second NSCS start at the Kentucky Speedway by taking advantage of a special Cardinal Takeover ticket package for the Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts that includes admission to a hospitality tent with food and complimentary Coca-Cola beverages, a Fan Zone pass that provides race-day admission to the infield for pit road access, a trackside view of a prerace concert with Billy Currington presented by Kroger and more.

The first 200 fans to attend the Cardinal Takeover also will receive a collectible red miniature Louisville Slugger bat with the Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts logo emblazoned in gold.

Cardinal Takeover packages can be purchased online, by calling 859-578-2300 or by visiting the Kentucky Speedway ticket office at 1 Speedway Drive, Sparta, Ky., 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

“Like everyone, we were thrilled with the Cardinals’ national championship run. This car pays tribute to their excellence and brings attention to the whole Cardinal Nation, which has enjoyed an incredible sports year. The way things have gone, I would not be surprised to see the Cardinals car in victory lane,” said Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger.

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