This Saturday, February 25, NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) team MAKE Motorsports will kick off the 2012 season with a sponsorship from HBO and the hit comedy series EASTBOUND & DOWN. In celebration of the HBO series’ season three debut on Feb. 19, the network will sponsor the #50 Chevrolet driven by T.J. Bell at DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
The #50 Eastbound & Down/Make Motorsports Chevrolet features elements of Kenny Powers’ prized jet ski, The Panty Dropper, with a purple and leopard-print scheme, as well as the likeness of the “legend” himself, who also hails from Shelby, N.C.
“The name and likeness of Kenny Powers have long been associated with victory and success,” said Powers. “It’s pretty obvious why somebody would want to put a giant picture of my face on a tastefully decorated stock car.
“Best of luck to our driver, T.J. Bell. If he doesn’t win first place at Daytona, they must not have made that picture of my face big enough.”
Also making his debut with MAKE Motorsports is new crew chief Mark Zakalowski. Mark “Z” as he’s known by the team has spent years in a variety of engineering capacities in racing, including time with Dale Earnhardt Inc., Haas CNC Racing and Robby Gordon Motorsports. Zakalowski has had a long history with team owners Mark Beaver and Tracy Lowe, working with them on their Dirt Late Model machines that competed in the Prelude to the Dream event at Eldora Speedway.
Longtime sponsors Liberty Tire Recycling will be joined for the 2012 season by Gulfcoast Software Solutions, a leading provider of loss prevention software for all types of businesses and facilities.
“It’s been a whirlwind of activity in the last few months as MAKE Motorsports prepares for its first full season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series,” said Mark Beaver, co-owner and Shelby, N.C. native. “Between our new crew chief Mark Z. and our partnership with Gulfcoast Software we are really building our team up to a high level. And what a way to get started to have HBO chose our team to expose its hit show ‘Eastbound & Down’ to NASCAR fans.”
MAKE Motorsports was created in 2010 and initially participated in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). While the team will continue to run a limited NCWTS schedule, they will also be running for the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship on a full-time basis in 2012.
“Mark and I had been co-owners of a variety of teams in the past, but it’s really the creation of MAKE Motorsports, between his family and mine that has taken off,” said Tracy Lowe, co-owner and also a Shelby, N.C. native. “We started off with such a small operation and are thankful that we could grow it with the assistance of NASCAR, Liberty Tire Recycling, Pro Cal and many others.”
Driver T.J. Bell has also been involved with MAKE Motorsports since its inaugural year, competing in six NCTWS races and six NNS races for the team in the last two seasons.
“To be a part of a team such as MAKE Motorsports from its first year, it’s just amazing to see how the team has evolved,” said Bell, who has driven in NASCAR since 2003 and has open-wheel and sports car racing on his resume, including driving in the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. “Mark and Tracy have put together a great operation out of literally nothing, and to see us be able to race at Daytona with an incredible sponsor lineup, especially HBO and ‘Eastbound & Down,’ I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Practice for the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway begins at 9 a.m. (ET) on Thursday, Feb. 23, with final practice televised live on ESPN2 at 10 a.m. Qualifying for the 300-mile event will take place on Friday the 24th at 2:05 p.m. and the race will take place on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 1:15 p.m. Both qualifying and the race will be aired live on ESPN2.
As a reminder, EASTBOUND & DOWN airs Sundays at 10pm, only on HBO!
Will you watch Eastbound & Down on HBO? Let me know in the comments section.
Also, remember to follow me on Twitter for more Eastbound & Down scoop.