Champion's car in Atmore
By By Matthew Nascone
The No. 12 Alltel car made a return trip to Atmore Friday, but there was something different about the car this time.
"That win at Daytona was huge," show car tour manager Jerry Leirer said. "Ryan and the whole team got that monkey off their backs."
Ryan Newman drives the No. 12 Alltel car and he won what many consider the Super Bowl of the NASCAR world earlier this month. That win has added some fuel to the show car tour, Leirer said.
The car was in Atmore last August and Leirer said he was glad to be back.
"This store here in Atmore has always been good to us and it is great to be back here," he said.
The car tours all across the Southeast and show car tour manager Leirer said this is an experience like no other.
"The car is always our main draw," Leirer said. "In a small town like this it is great to come here and give the NASCAR fans in this area a piece of the action. We had a packed house when we visited Andalusia and we had probably around 100 people stop by here in Atmore."
There are four retired No.12 cars that travel the nation and Leirer has been traveling with the No. 12 car for four years in the Southeast. He said he wouldn't trade his job for anything.
"The only way someone is going to get the Southeast is if I retire," he said. "This is NASCAR's home and I love traveling around this area."
GMR Marketing provides the accessories for the tour across the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia and Alabama. The main draw might be the car itself, but there is also the Pit Stop Challenge where fans can see how fast they can change a tire, a fabricated pit box with some of Newman's previous race equipment, a PlayStation 2 with the NASCAR 2008 video game and two Alltel kiosks displaying current Alltel products.
Alltel is also offering a chance for fans to watch the Coca-Cola 600 from the Back Stretch Suites.
"Right now we have the My Circle 500 where we are offering 10 winners to bring 10 friends and they will fly to Charlotte, be put up in a hotel, meet Ryan and race against him in go-carts," Leirer said.
The pit crew for each of the 10 finalists will be the 10 friends they each brought along for the ride and whichever team clocks the fastest time in the go-kart and pit crew challenge will win at least $200,000. If that time is fast enough to beat Newman, there will be $500,000 for the winner.
The My Circle drawing ends May 3 and anyone interested can sign up online at alltelracing.com or text the word race to 38229.