Justin Upton to Defend Championship in 2008

Justin Upton has announced that he intends to defend his 2007 factory stock championship in 2008. The euphoria of 2007 is in the past and now Upton is getting anxious to get back on the track. He will race the same chassis as last year but the car is currently being re-skinned so that it will look like a new car; however, the paint scheme will remain the same with the dark blue color dominating. All of Upton’s sponsors have announced their continued support for the new season.

The season begins on March 7, 2008, at Manzanita Speedway and includes a schedule of 22 races, ending on October 24, 2008. The Stock Car Racing Association, the sanctioning body, has changed some rules that will allow racecars from other tracks to compete. This should make for an interesting and competitive season, particularly with the return of Bobby Taylor, a two-time champion, Bobby Erdman, a three-time champion, both members of the SCRA Hall of Fame, Jody Henderson, a four-time champion at Central Arizona Raceway, and the on-charging Matt Martinez. There is always the possibility that Larry Price and Anthony Madrid, both Hall of Famers, may enter the ranks. Regardless, the SCRA Factory Stock Division perennially puts up some of the best stock car racing in Arizona.

Upton’s car, a 1976 Chevrolet Camaro, powered by a 360 cubic inch engine built by Five Star Engine & Exchange of Glendale, Arizona with a 350 Powerglide transmission built by Columbia Transmissions of Mesa, Arizona, should be just as strong and reliable as the 2007 car. He will continue to run Performance Wheels and Cooper GT tires provided by Higginson Tire & Wheel of Queen Creek, Arizona. The question to be answered will be the overall quality of the competition and that most important factor: LUCK! If Justin gets his share of luck he should be in the thick of the championship run.

As a bonus to our sponsors, the Justin Upton Racing “display car” is almost complete. ABS Body Shop of Mesa, Arizona has just put a fantastic paint job on the car. The only things remaining are to install the engine, gages, seat, fuel cell and decals. Our sponsors and fans will love being associated with this car, and we can hardly wait to show it to you. Watch this website for an announcement and pictures.


Season Dedicated to Heather Upton Evans

While I am experiencing my best season ever on the race track during 2007, my sister, Heather, is having her worst season. While I am engaged in a sport, Heather is engaged in the biggest fight of her life. Fortunately, I know she is a winner.

Recently, Heather was diagnosed with breast cancer and, although I know she will win her battle, it will be an agonizing year for her as she recovers from the surgery and after effects. I wish I could do something for her other than be a cheerleader. But if that is all I can be, I will be the best cheerleader I can be. When I race, I will be thinking of Heather; when I work, I will be thinking of Heather; when I stand down, I will be thinking of Heather. I hope that all my friends and fans will join me as I pull for Heather’s rapid recovery.

In April, 2007, Justin Upton Racing put together a Relay For Life team for the American Cancer Society, raising about $2,000. We will do better in our 2008 campaign. In the meantime, I am dedicating my 2007 racing season to Heather and hoping that she can feel my commitment to her as she fights against a disease that affects all of us, directly or indirectly.

Fight on, Heather! All of us stand with you.

I love you,
Your brother,
Justin Upton


A Tribute to My Father
Father’s Day
2007

My father never talked to me; frankly, he never seemed to have much to say to anyone. He was a quiet, soft-spoken man, uneducated, from the backwoods of Kentucky. He was raised on the family farm, first pioneered by his great-great grandparents, Joseph and Frances Upton, who settled there in 1801. Perhaps all of this somewhat explains his quiet, low-key, unassuming attitude.

It’s too bad that young people are such poor listeners because from the perspective of my own old-age, I now realize that he talked to me all the time, I just couldn’t hear him; I was too interested in me. Now, he is gone, and I can only converse with him in my dreams.

On this Father’s Day in 2007, I will not be giving my father the worthless neck-tie gift that he would never wear anyway, but I am going to think about him and all the stories that he used to tell me that I absorbed but did not hear. I know about his childhood, his youth, and young manhood. I know what he was up to in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, all the way to 1996. I know almost everything about him and it’s all written down in a family book I wrote. I even know about his sex life because I asked him one time, and he told me. He refused at first but I kept after him, explaining that how was I, a young man, ever going to understand such things unless the older generation stopped being so secretive. So, my father, the quiet one, told me. Can you believe that?

Did my father walk the talk? He was better than the talk. My father was a living example of integrity. I don’t think my father could have looked up that word in the dictionary, but he didn’t need to because he lived a life that was so plain, simple, and clean that he didn’t need definitions. Too many people feel good about themselves because they have learned to live close to the line without going over it. My father, on the other hand, was so honest there was never a danger that he would even get close to a line.

My father was kind and gentle. He did not know how to punish a kid who deserved a time out. As I think back on it, I’m glad he was the way he was; I turned out okay, and my sisters aren’t too bad either. He set the standard, quietly, by example, and we have lived by it, almost without awareness.

I hope that all of you pay tribute to your fathers this weekend and, please, don’t pass the day off with the gift of a neck-tie or a pair of socks. This weekend, give your father the ultimate gift: listen to him.

To my own father, I say, “Thank you, Dad. I miss you and, finally, I appreciate you."

Justin Upton Racing
Larry Upton


There’s No Place Like Home

Norman Rockwell could not have created a better place to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend than in Safford, Arizona. First of all, Justin was born there, and I was raised nine miles west of Safford in Pima. Safford is a small town of about 10,000 where people actually know each other and, better yet, many of them know us. Our first stop was the Casa Manana Restaurant; we walk in and Diane McBride Hoopes, the owner, says, “Larry! Welcome back. Could this be Justin? I haven’t seen him since he was a little boy running around with my little brother!” I was last in the restaurant a year ago and Justin had not been around for about 40 years, but that is the welcome one gets by going home.

The occasion was the 14th annual Gila Valley Family Festival. The entire main street of Safford was blocked off from traffic so that we could have a car show, street vendors, rock bands, and displays galore. It seemed that all of Graham County was there. Justin and I sat there with our racecar and marveled at the serenity of our time in the small town. We wondered what life was like in Safford a century ago, and what it would be like a 100 years from now. I guess we’re stuck in the past; we are not excited about the changes coming to Our Town.

We had a chance to visit with Jerome and Susie Thompson, the architects of the car show for the entire 14 years of its run. Jerome and Susie will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, May 27, 2007, so Justin Upton Racing gave them a couple of our coffee mugs to recognize their milestone. Jerome and Susie are the kind of people that populate Safford, making their town better in numerous ways. Jerome is a typical car nut; I remember when he was one of the charter members of Safford’s first car club in 1957: the Toolers, I believe it was called. If anyone in the Gila Valley has a custom or classic car, Jerome and Susie know them by their first names.

We met a young man from Thatcher, Phillip Fitzgerald, who will be celebrating his 30th birthday on May 30, 2007. Phillip drives a motorized wheelchair, but after hanging out with Justin Upton Racing, he may convert it to a racing wheelchair. He loved the racecar and fantasized what it would feel like to drive it in a race. We will mail him on his birthday the next best thing: a Justin Upton Racing cap with flames and his picture next to the car. We also met Doug Hoopes, an old friend that we had not seen for about 20 years. That’s the fun of going home.

Racecar drivers are a rare breed in a small town like Safford and, as a result, Justin signed lots of autographs. The pace of signing picked up when word spread that he was born in Safford. The kids couldn’t believe that a Safford kid was racing at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix. The question always was, “How did you get started?” As we gassed up on our way out of town, four teenagers in a low-rider examined the car, got autographs, and promised to come to Manzanita for a race. What a life for a kid from Safford!

 


Come Race With Me, Baby!

Recently, I had the dubious pleasure of attending the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Course at Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ. I won’t even begin to explain how I got there. As it turned out, the instructor, Bill Lengacher, a big, gruff, ex-truck driver with a background in mathematics, was a delightful teacher and storyteller. I learned something!

According to Bill, there are over six million automobile crashes a year, three million people injured, and over 43,000 dead. These statistics do not represent a recent phenomenon; auto accidents and deaths accelerated throughout the 20th century with the growth of America’s love affair with automobiles. Obviously, the trends have continued into the 21st century.

Now, here’s something important that I learned. After all that time spent on the racetrack, I did not know this: a four thousand pound vehicle going 70 mph has an impact force of 70,000 pounds! A 200-pound person at 70 mph has an impact force of 3,200 pounds! Our automobiles offer very little protection from these high impact forces. No wonder we are being maimed and killed at such an alarming rate on our streets and highways.

You rarely hear of a racecar driver being seriously injured or killed. It does happen, but it is rare. Here’s the reason: racecar drivers do everything possible to protect themselves. The racecars are built and designed with “roll cages” to withstand the high impact forces mentioned above. The drivers wear “crash” helmets and “fireproof” suits, shoes, and gloves; they are strapped into contoured racing seats with a five-point harness. They are sealed off from the car’s battery and fuel cell. They take every precaution to protect themselves and others from injury or death.

Is it possible that we could convince the street speeders to take it to the racetrack? Would they even have the courage to strap themselves into a 3,000-pound projectile and press the accelerator to the floor on a dirt track with 20 other daredevils willing to do almost anything to win? Well, here’s the challenge: come out to Manzanita Speedway and let’s see what you’ve got! Be sure and drive very slowly on your way to the track.


2007 Season Just Around the Corner

The 2007 stock car racing season is upon us. Upton Racing is finishing its final preparations in anticipation of opening night on Friday, March 9, 2007, at Manzanita Speedway.

Unlike last year, we have made lots of changes during the off-season. First, we have changed the name of our group to Justin Upton Racing, LLC. Inasmuch as Justin takes all the risk of driving in those maniacal races, we thought we would put his name up front. Secondly, we formed a limited liability company in which to house all our racing assets and liabilities (mostly liabilities since everything eventually gets torn up). Third, we obtained a new racecar hauler from Diversified Truck & Equipment Sales, Inc. We think it is beautiful, and we will be putting our sponsors’ logos on it. Fourth, we are building a new backup racecar. And last, we are entering the season with a new member of our pit crew, James Klever, who has specialized training in the automotive field.

Returning as key sponsors this year will be Auto Trader Magazines, Union Bank, Waldo’s BBQ, Thompson’s Auto Repair & Towing, Columbia Transmissions, Apache Auto Wrecking, Johnny Rackley’s Machine Shop, Dan’s Racing Supply, Prattster Graphics, Ideal Pest Control, and Auto Pro Collision Center. We are pleased to announce the addition of Five Star Engines & Exchange, Southeast Valley Line-X, Proud Owner Design, Sun Country Photo Tee’s, Diversified Truck & Equipment Sales, Inc., and PrimeStaff. All of these sponsors are listed at the bottom of all the pages of our website. Please click on their logos and review their websites, products and services.

We will be posting some pictures of the new racecars after we put all of the logos on them. In the meantime, stay tuned for the new online store which will feature t-shirts, caps, mugs, etc., including a calendar featuring racecars from the early 1950’s. Also, we hope you will read our weekly blog which will begin during the first week of the racing season.


Our Sponsors Do Big Things

Justin Upton Racing has just learned that one of our newest sponsors, PrimeStaff, has been selected by Goldline Research as one of the Top 10 Most Dependable Staffing Agencies of the West. The firm’s recognition will be published in the March 2007 issue of Spirit Magazine, the official magazine of Southwest Airlines. As much as that says about PrimeStaff, we’ll just add that it also shows we know how to pick’em, too.

PrimeStaff, with headquarters in Scottsdale, AZ, dates to 1992. It is a specialized agency providing extensive staffing experience in the areas of healthcare, insurance, accounting and administrative support. The company has built its reputation on a foundation of integrity, confidentiality, competence, and a national network of associate staffing firms. Their selection for this special award demonstrates the appeal of the company’s core values and the hard work of its management and staff.

Justin Upton Racing salutes PrimeStaff! We hope we can match your achievement during our 2007 racing season


Upton Racing Goes to Church

Sometimes even “old reprobates” do the right thing and, in this case, we went to church. Unlike the old days when we were kids, we didn’t try to sneak out; we just barged right in with our racecar, and we had fun!

Arizona Community Church, led by Senior Pastor Jeff Meyer and his wife, Kathy, hosted their 9th Annual Motorsports Day on Saturday, January 13, 2007, at the church facilities at 9325 S. Rural Road in Tempe, Arizona. And you know what? They looked right past our litany of sins and made Upton Racing feel welcome. Maybe it was because John Hill, our old friend from Team RFC (Racers For Christ), who served as the Master of Ceremonies, put in a good word for us. Whatever it was, we got in, along with about 5,000 other people, and just like in the old days, we showed off in church. We put our car up front in the VIP section so that everyone could see it, while we sat in the back, as usual.

The church attracted over 300 cars of all types, including Upton Racing’s factory stock racecar, NHRA dragsters, classic and vintage cars, motorcycles, Nick Griego and his BRA Modified racecar, Rick Setser and his sprint car, and Sheriff Joe sent his big, black, armor-plated, whiz-bang, SWAT team criminal catcher. The church was inundated with cars and people. Even the Tempe Police were there, telling us not to park our cars next to fire hydrants and in red zones. As this was the ninth year of the show, I guess they knew where we would choose to park. There was food, raffle prizes, which included a Harley Davidson jacket and a free Corvette for a weekend, t-shirts, caps, and others, none of which were won by us. It seemed that the chilly weather brought out the people, which made us very glad that we are not on the church’s cleanup crew.

The bottom line is that we had a very good time, met some of the nicest people who are now our friends, and saw some of the most unusual and beautiful cars in Arizona. We are going back next year for the 10th Annual Motorsports Day, and we better see you there, or you may be relegated to the ranks of the “old reprobates,” and you may not get off as easy as we did.


Kids and Racecars

The kids at the Thomas J. Pappas Elementary School in Tempe, Arizona proved once again that racecars and kids mix. Ken Fincel, Promotions Director for Auto Trader Magazines, asked Upton Racing to participate in a car show as part of the Halloween celebration at the Thomas Pappas School, and we’re glad we did. The kids, especially the boys, loved the racecar. They lined up and took turns climbing in and out of the car. Finally, we stopped it when they began to show up for the second and third turn in the car.

Representatives from Big Boys & Their Toys and Sun Country Promotions, along with Auto Trader Magazines were there to show their cars and hand out Halloween surprises and candy to the 200 plus kids. We met the kids, teachers, and felt like we added to the fun of the event. Please invite us back again next year!


2006 Season Ends; Taylor, Gill Win Championships

SCRA’s 2006 season is in the books, and two perennial winners are back on top of the standings. Bobby Taylor, the 2003 Factory Stock champion is back on top in the Factory Stocks, while Kenny Gill, the 2005 Super Stock champion, does a two-peat.

All the odds were against Taylor coming into the 2006 season. He ended last year in the battle of his life, taking on the big one: cancer. He never wavered, finishing last season strong and entered 2006 like a man on a mission. From an outsider’s view, it appeared that Bobby was not only determined to beat cancer, he wanted to crush it. Many people said that they had never seen him race as aggressively as he did in 2006. After the early season shake-out, the charge for the championship came down to Taylor and Terry Mumaugh, another driver that is always in the chase. The title was not decided until the final race of the season when Taylor won going away by winning his heat race and the main event. Mumaugh really saw his opportunity go by the wayside when he lost a wheel and axle two weeks ago, placing a little spread between him and Taylor. All in all, it was a great season for the Factory Stocks, averaging 30 cars per event. The top 10 drivers were Bobby Taylor, Terry Mumaugh, Jody Henderson, Scott Hollon, Paul Arseneau, Ron Poe, Geoffrey Hatch, Matt Martinez, Justin Upton, and Ricky Thornton, Jr.

Kenny Gill just keeps getting better and better, putting on a show week after week. Unlike Taylor in the Factory Stocks, Gill wrapped up his title a few weeks ago as a result of unbelievable consistency. His competition was primarily the same as in years past as Don Costa, George Fronsman, and Danny Price ran up front with him all year. However, this year, a rookie, Chris McCurdy, moved up from the Factory Stocks and surprised everyone by finishing second in the standings. McCurdy got stronger as the season progressed. The top 10 drivers were Kenny Gill, Chris McCurdy, Don Costa, George Fronsman, Danny Price, Dale Wall, John Reynolds, Dominique Askren, Jeremy Goetschius, and Clifton Maggard.

The Super Stocks averaged 16 cars per event, raising big questions about the future of the division at Manzanita Speedway as Manzy has declared that it needs at least 20 cars per event. Anyone who has watched the Supers race knows what an incredibly exciting division it is. SCRA will work in the off-season to try to entice new cars into the division.


Cardinals Stadium Was A Blast!

Upton Racing’s backup “show car” was the first car ever on the mezzanine at the new Cardinals Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The occasion was the Sanderson Ford Monster Truck & Motocross Freestyle Show on Saturday, August 26, 2006. Number 66 was given a spot with Auto Trader Magazines just inside the Gate 2 entrance which meant that anyone entering Gate 2 had to go past the racecar.

Although the car was expected by the team managing the show, there was enough confusion in getting the car into the stadium to satisfy everybody. Immediately upon arrival at the Stadium, Kevin Webb, the man in charge, said that we had too much gas in the car, and we had to get it out. So off we went to find a gas can and a siphon hose. We couldn’t find one, so we went back to Kevin to convince him that we had only three gallons of gas in the car. He finally agreed with us but said that he didn’t think the car would fit through the doors into the Gate 2 area. So we went to inspect the cargo elevator. After looking at that “coffin,” I decided that there was no way I was going to take a chance on putting the car in that thing. Besides, the young elevator operator didn’t seem too sure about trying to haul the car up one level in the tight fit elevator. So back to Kevin Webb we go. He says, “Well, let’s give it a shot and try the doors.” Have you ever tried to push a car with a locked rear-end? Everybody was sweating, including a couple of fans that jumped in to help us. We squeezed through the door with about one inch to spare. Kevin turned out to be a big help to us.

As the 45,000 fans began to arrive, we realized that we had the best location of any other vendor at the Stadium. We were inundated with fans checking out the racecar, kids wanting in the racecar, parents taking pictures, and handing out Auto Trader Magazines and Hon-Dah Resort-Casino key chains. Justin Upton, the driver of number 66, was great in dealing with the parents, kids, and fans. Later Justin said that working with the kids was the best part of being a racecar driver.

The Monster Truck Show was anticlimactic for Upton Racing. It was a lot of fun for the fans, but we had already done our job. We did have to admit that the Cardinals Stadium was a very nice venue. The Monster Trucks were awesome with beautiful paint schemes. The motocross freestylers put on a terrific show during the breaks in the Monster Truck Show. I would say that the fans had a great time and probably got their money’s worth.

By the time we finally got the car out of the Stadium and loaded on the trailer, I was so tired that I wasn’t paying attention and dragged the trailer across a curb, knocking out the radiator in the racecar. That’s another reason that racing is so expensive, i.e. tearing up the equipment even when you’re away from the track.


Upton Racing Goes Home

Memorial Day weekend found Upton Racing in Safford, Arizona for two appearances and two car shows as part of Safford’s annual Gila Valley Family Festival. Of course, it was fun, but made more so because Justin Upton was born in Safford, while his father, Larry, grew up in Pima. We got to see the family! Later, we were joined by Richard Kirn, driver of number 67, and Ken Fincel, Marketing Director of Auto Trader Magazines.

Jerome Thompson, our old friend, was the chairman of the Main Street Car Show for the 13th consecutive year. We were not surprised to find that Jerome has mastered the intricacies of organizing a superb event. The city had blocked off about four blocks of Safford’s Main Street, had a couple of bands, lots of street vendors, and Jerome had more classic cars than we could count., and we met a lot of old friends. We were pleased to be part of such a well-run, high-class event. We hope our behavior doesn’t prevent Jerome from inviting us back again.

We owe a thumb’s up to Randy Glover, Desert Riders’ Motorsports, and David Green, Green’s Furniture. They were gracious enough to engage Upton Racing to spend some time at their businesses with our racecar, which enabled us to buy gas for the trip to Safford. We hope the people of Safford and the surrounding area will visit these outstanding businesses; they are the friendliest people and will accommodate your needs. The prices are right, too!

We had the good fortune to meet the Mayor of Safford, Ron Green, who invited us to go with him when he made his annual Memorial Day speech to the American Legion in Solomonville. The Mayor even gave us an opportunity to speak on how “The Legends Stock Car Championships” will benefit Arizona’s veterans.

Topping off the visit was our meeting with Goldie Shideler, a story we posted on this website earlier. But the perfect ending of Memorial Day was visiting with Captain Weldon Green, David and the Mayor’s father. Captain Green just turned 90 and regaled us with stories from the France and Italy of World War II.


Eighty-four year old Goldie Shideler of Safford was straight-forward in her approach to Upton Racing’s Justin Upton, who was appearing with his race car at Green’s Furniture on Memorial Day. “I want to drive your race car. I’m 84 years old and I have 100 things I want to do before I die; one of them is driving a race car.”

A few years ago, while Shideler was in Minnesota visiting her daughter, a woman asked her, “What’s on your 100 list?” Shideler was mystified until the woman explained that everybody should have 100 goals. After reflection, Goldie decided that she should have a list of goals, so she got the list to 80, saying that she is still trying to think of 20 more. She has done most of the things on her list, including skydiving, riding in a hot air balloon, a glider and helicopter. She has ridden a camel and elephant but still needs to ride the San Francisco Trolley, go to Central Park in New York, and the Taj Mahal in India. But today, Monday, May 29, 2006, was race car day.

Upton was at a loss as to what to do, but Goldie was insistent. After explaining that the car doors were welded shut and the only way in was to climb through the window, Goldie replied, “I can do that.” She could, but found out that the seat was set up for a person 6’1” while Goldie is only 4’6”. David Green, owner of Green’s Furniture, came up with the solution. Justin Upton would drive the car, Green would help Goldie into a sitting position in the back window so she could grasp the bars of the roll cage, and Justin would drive the car around the block. Goldie agreed that this would count as driving a race car, and she could mark another goal off her list. After the ride, Goldie was asked if she was scared. She said, “No, I don’t have enough sense to be afraid, so my daughter is afraid for me.”

After visiting with Goldie Shideler, Upton and Green have agreed to stop watching television and get out of the house more often.


Smart Shoppers Go to Pizza Mart

The focus was on pizza when Upton Racing went to Pizza Mart, 1329 E. Main Street in Mesa, one of our sponsors, where we ran into Daphne Munro and Javier Gomez doing the “Smart Shopper” segment for the ABC Channel 15 News. Jesse and Julie Slade, owners of Pizza Mart, had their makeup on and their customers lined up while they served Daphne a big ice cream cone as Javier filmed the segment. It must be true; our sponsors are stars! Pizza Mart’s patrons loved it. We have some of them on our slide show: Chris Morales, Martha Garcia, Jerry Casio, and Cesar Gutierrez; they are the young, pretty people looking happy.

Daphne Munro and Javier Gomez were determined to film the Pizza Mart segment. Their camera broke, so they went back to the station and got another one. The show must go on! For their extraordinary effort, Pizza Mart was good to them, serving ice cream over and over until the segment was just the way Daphne wanted it. It looked great on the Channel 15 News.

Actually, it’s about time that Pizza Mart was discovered. Jesse and Julie have been serving great pizza and all the trimmings for years. You won’t believe the price; they’re giving the stuff away. If you want great pizza at a price you can afford, just drop by or call for a carryout at 480-962-4233.


Banker Proves He Has the Right Stuff

Kyle Curtis, the President of the Union Bank of Arizona in Gilbert, took to Manzanita Speedway’s one-third mile dirt track on Tuesday, April 18th, to test his mettle behind the wheel of Factory Stock Division car number 67, normally driven by Richard Kirn. And guess what? He surprised us!

Union Bank of Arizona is a primary sponsor of the Upton Racing team and, on a lark, the bankers were invited to have a go behind the wheel; to our surprise, Curtis called our hand and showed up, race-ready. After outfitting him in a fire-proof suit, helmet, gloves, and giving him a lesson about the gauges, dials, and shifters in the cockpit, Kyle was ready to take to the track. During his first few practice laps he just followed along behind number 66, Justin Upton. Gradually, Upton picked up the pace and Curtis stayed with him. Richard Kirn, the regular driver of number 67, said, “Wow, this guy’s doing pretty good for a rookie.” Usually the newcomers hug the inside line of the track, but Curtis was getting in the outside groove where the speeds pick up.

We do a change of drivers and Kirn takes number 66 on the track and instructs Curtis to follow him. Kirn sets up in the outside groove and gets in the gas. Curtis follows along behind him; and not that far behind. Finally, Kirn punches in at racing speeds and Curtis drops back. When they come off the track and hang it up for the night, a check of Curtis’ tachometer shows that he hit over 5000 rpm, not bad for a first-time rookie! When Kirn peaked the rpms on the 66 car, he was at 6200 rpm, good enough to win a lot of races. Kyle’s response to the reading of the tach was, “I had to let up, Richard was holding me back!” Upton Racing firmly believes that one should test their banker before doing business with them. Kyle Curtis passed the test.


Upton Racing Goes to a Toy Show

Upton Racing joined one of its major sponsors, Auto Trader Magazines, in their booth at the annual Big Boys & Their Toys show at West World in Scottsdale, Arizona on April 21-23, 2006. Auto Trader Magazines, as one of the primary backers of the show, had a substantial booth and display area that featured several “show cars and motorcycles” from the Department of Public Safety and Valley police departments. Naturally, front and center of the display area was the 2005 Factory Stock Division championship car owned by Upton Racing. The huge annual event showcased all types of cars, including classic, antique, race cars, new cars and trucks, monster trucks, police and military vehicles, along with boats, motorcycles, rock crawlers and more. Vendors for every exotic product imaginable were also on hand to entice one and all to give them a try.

The show was held in West World’s gigantic tent, which was filled to capacity with all kinds of big toys for big boys and girls with big checkbooks. It was quite a spectacle. Upton Racing’s Richard Kirn and Justin Upton were on hand to show our race car, explain the intricacies of its construction, its capabilities on the track, and tout the virtues of our sponsors and their products. Some of our sponsors were in attendance and dropped by to visit; we appreciated that.

During the three days of the show, more than 11,000 people stopped by the Auto Trader Magazines booth and took a look at the Upton Racing car. It was our pleasure to represent the Stock Car Racing Association and the many outstanding sponsors and supporters of our race team. Upton Racing, accompanied by Auto Trader Magazines, will make its next appearance in Safford, Arizona on May 26-27, 2006, at the “Gila Valley Family Festival.”


AutoPro Collision Center Has Gone Artistic With Upton Racing

At the beginning of 2006, Upton Racing decided to build a racecar that would not race, a car that would be reserved for car shows and public relations displays for its sponsors. This has proved to be quite an undertaking because a lot of resources are going into a car that will always be on the sidelines; racers like to see their money flow into a car that will take them to the front of the field. Upton Racing anticipates that the car will create its own financial return in sponsors that are more committed to the team and, perhaps, new sponsors.

The car, a 1981 Chevrolet Camaro, includes a Ron Funk chassis and general body and sheet metal work by Dan’s Racing Supply. Chrome wheels will come from Gill’s Racing Wheels while Tire Pros has supplied B. F. Goodrich tires for the car. The car has now been placed in the capable hands of Chris Olexiewicz, owner of AutoPro Collision Center, located at 120 E. Highland Street, Chandler, AZ 85225. Olexiewicz is the artist who will rejuvenate the old Camaro body and merge it with the classy paint job that his customers accept as routine. Final detailing of the car will be done by Dan’s Racing Supply.

AutoPro Collision Center opened for business in California in 1993, moving to Chandler in 2000. The company handles all types of auto body work and painting for any type or make of car or truck. When Chris Olexiewicz and his crew of trained body and paint specialists finish a job, it is like new. They can do amazing things with paint. According to Chris, the strangest paint job he has done was a giant six foot pickle for a pickle vendor.

Racers like AutoPro Collision Center because Olexiewicz himself is a racer. He began racing hobby stocks in 1993 in the Chico, California area. Chris switched to dirt modifieds in 1997, racing in the IMCA series before switching to the BRA Dirt Modifieds in Arizona. He won championships in modifieds at his California track in both 1999 and 2000. As you might expect, Chris’ race car is beautiful.

If you need body or paint work on your vehicle, call AutoPro Collision Center at 480-812-3556 and ask for Chris. You will be glad you did.

Show Car - before going to AutoPro Collision Center!


Tire Pros Partners Up with Upton Racing

Upton Racing is pleased to announce that it has established a marketing relationship with Tire Pros, a multi-state tire distributor offering its exclusive tire brand by Michelin and other respected tire brands such as BF Goodrich, Michelin, Uniroyal, Dunlop, General, Continental, Pirelli, and American. The Tire Pros logo will be featured on both the #66 and #67 Factory Stock race cars at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix throughout the 2006 season. In addition, Tire Pros will be a prominent sponsor for Upton Racing’s “display car” now under construction.

According to Larry Upton, spokesman for Upton Racing, Brandon Carnahan, Business Development Manager for Tire Pros, has been a big help to the racing team. “We are incredibly excited to work with an organization with the reputation of Tire Pros. Our relationship will go a long way toward making us a first-class racing team. We encourage our fans and friends to visit a Tire Pros store in your neighborhood for all your tire needs.”

Tire Pros was organized in 1971, driven by a desire to create the best company anywhere. Period. Management built the company on a philosophy of taking good care of the customer with uncompromising honesty. Today, as one of the largest tire store chains in the United States, Tire Pros can save you money while giving you the highest quality products and service. With Tire Pros there is no tricky pricing with add-on fees and services that a customer does not need. This policy has enabled the company to grow by developing loyal, repeat customers.

Tire Pros takes pride in its team of expert technicians who take part in on-going product and technical educational programs to keep them on the leading edge of tire and automotive advances. It’s all about protecting its customers’ tire investment. Tire Pros does it better than anyone.

Look for the Upton Racing “display car” at a Tire Pros store near you. The car is a 1976 Chevrolet Camaro built along the lines of a Super Stock per the Stock Car Racing Association rules which can be found at www.azscra.com.


Waldo’s Birthday Party Rescheduled for March 18th
Please Join Us

The State of Arizona should give Waldo’s BBQ, the official BBQ of Upton Racing, a special award that recognizes its role in bringing rain to the parched Valley of the Sun on March 11, 2006. There is no way it would have rained without the commitment that Waldo’s made to an outdoor birthday party on that date. Waldo’s will try again for a big anniversary party on Saturday, March 18, 2006.

Just to let you know, the rain was not a problem for Upton Racing. Our all-weather race car drivers, Justin Upton and Richard Kirn, were fully prepared to bring their toy submarines and race each other in the puddles in Waldo’s parking lot. But Frank Estadt, General Manager of Waldo’s BBQ, kindly gave us the day off if we promised to bring real race cars with us next Saturday. We can hardly wait! We love Waldo’s BBQ, and we love to show off our race cars and brag on ourselves!

Upton Racing Has Been Invited to Waldo’s BBQ Anniversary Party!

Upton Racing, a marketing partner with Waldo’s BBQ, 4500 E. Main in Mesa, is going to join Waldo’s on Saturday, March 11, 2006, for their annual birthday bash. Waldo’s, founded in 1993, is going to be 13 years old, a teenager! Upton Racing’s drivers will be there with fire suits on (we like the BBQ hot!) along with three race cars: two stock cars and one sprint car.

Waldo’s BBQ is the official BBQ of Upton Racing, and Richard Kirn and Justin Upton, our race car drivers, will guarantee the delicious taste of Waldo’s mesquite-smoked ribs, pulled pork, beef and chicken and all the fixins’. How can they guarantee that? Because they are regulars at Waldo’s table. Not only that, they have thrown a couple of pretty good parties that Waldo’s catered. And guess what? The food is just as good when Waldo’s brings it to you, sets up the spread, and feeds your crew. Maybe it’s even better because you don’t have to clean up, Waldo’s does it! And guess what else? The prices are right, you won’t have to sell the house to have Waldo’s cater to your friends and make you look like a big shot!

Here’s a great idea. Plan a tailgate party at your house, call Waldo’s, order all their good stuff, and have them cater a party out by your pool about four o’clock in the afternoon on a race night. After you have stuffed yourself and your friends, instead of dozing off, load them up in the SUV, and drive to Manzanita Speedway at 35th Avenue and Broadway in Phoenix and watch Upton Racing battle it out with the other giants of stock car racing in the Valley. Get there about 7:00 p.m. so you can get the good seats, and racing begins at 7:30 p.m. Be sure and check Manzy’s website at www.manzanitaspeedway.us to make sure you schedule your party on the correct day. Upton Racing promises you that the excitement and roar of the engines will wake you up and help you digest that wonderful Waldo’s BBQ meal. Again, we know this works because we have done it.

We will be looking for you at Waldo’s birthday party on Saturday, March 11th. Tell Frank Estadt, Waldo’s General Manager, that we sent you. And we would think it polite of you if you stopped by and looked at our race cars, maybe crawl in and have your picture taken. It’s going to be fun!


Union Bank of Arizona Signs with Upton Racing

Union Bank of Arizona, located at 3631 E. Baseline Road, Gilbert, AZ, has engaged Upton Racing to assist in expanding its relationship with local school children. Currently, Union Bank has a partnership with 11 elementary schools through its “UBAZ Jr.” program which teaches children the fundamentals of handling money, i.e. how to save. Upton Racing, which fields two Factory Stock race cars at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, will use its colorful race cars to attract attention to “UBAZ Jr.” while promoting automobile safety. Upton Racing’s drivers and cars will make appearances with Union Bank at its partnership schools.

The Union Bank of Arizona, headed up by Dan Dunlap, a fourth generation banker, opened for business on May 1, 1998. It is a full service, commercial banking organization offering a complete line of traditional and non-traditional banking products and services. Union Bank stands out because it is one of Arizona’s few locally owned and managed commercial banks. The bank also has a branch office located at 20713 E. Ocotillo Road in Queen Creek. This office is managed by Sandy Schrand and subscribes to the same high standards of service as that of the home office in Gilbert.

Kyle Curtis, President of Union Bank, points out that the bank has a commitment to treat customers as “friends helping friends.” This is not a commitment that Union Bank takes lightly; it is a commitment that can only be fulfilled by people whose passion is banking, the people at Union Bank.

Upton Racing is proud to endorse the Union Bank of Arizona. We believe that as soon as you enter the bank’s lobby, you will feel the warmth of people who truly are passionate about serving you, and you will feel welcome. You will be glad that you gave Union Bank a chance to be your home town bank.


Upton Racing Teams up with Thompson’s Auto Repair & Towing

Upton Racing is pleased to announce its marketing partnership with Thompson’s Auto Repair & Towing for the 2006 racing season at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix. Thompson’s will be featured on both the #66 and #67 Factory Stock race cars throughout the season.

“We are excited with Thompson’s support. Bryan Vivian, the owner of Thompson’s, has been generous and helpful to Upton Racing as we prepare for the upcoming season. We like being associated with people like Bryan because he has dedicated himself to building a business with an excellent reputation in the East Valley. We want to do our best to encourage our fans to visit his business,” say Upton Racing drivers Justin Upton and Richard Kirn.

Thompson’s Auto Repair & Towing, located at 1325 E. Main Street in Mesa, is a full service, automotive repair and maintenance shop. The company is a NAPA AutoCare Center and has served the Mesa area with many years of consistent and friendly service. Upton Racing’s Richard Kirn, who serves as a mechanic for Thompson’s, states that “We are a clean, friendly and efficient shop. We do everything possible to make our customers feel welcome, comfortable and satisfied with their service experience.”

Thompson’s team is a group of highly trained, certified and professional technicians who work hard to get their customers back on the road as soon as possible. The team is ASE certified and updated on a constant basis to ensure that their customers always receive the highest quality service.

Look for Upton Racing and Thompson’s Auto Repair & Towing to take to the track for the season opener on March 4, 2006, at Manzanita Speedway.


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