CONCORD, N.C. – Last Sunday at ISM Raceway, Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 featured the NAPA AutoCare Center logo prominently on the hood for the very first time.
So, it’s only fitting that the honorary pit crew member for the No. 9 team at the race was Troy Morgan, the owner of LeRoy’s Auto & Truck Care – a NAPA AutoCare Center.
As part of the experience, Morgan got a meet-and-greet with Elliott, a private tour of the No. 9 team hauler and the garage, the chance to attend the drivers meeting and a No. 9 track shirt just like the team wears.
He also got his name on the No. 9 Chevy, but instead of his own name above the passenger door, he opted to put the name of his shop.
“I first heard that they were going to put my name on the car and I was like, ‘Shouldn’t we put the shop name?’” Morgan said. “It’s not me that makes this place successful, it’s all of the guys here.”
When word got back to the shop, even the employees that don’t typically watch NASCAR made sure to tune into the race.
“One of the guys at the shop called me and said there was some slow motion of the logo there on one of the replays,” Morgan smiled.
Just before the race began, Morgan walked to the grid to stand by the No. 9 NAPA AutoCare Center Chevy and take a picture with Elliott.
“He’s a good kid,” he said of the driver. “He has represented himself and the brand very well, and he is still growing in his career getting better and better every year.”
With the green flag set to wave, Morgan climbed atop the No. 9 team pit box and watched the race behind crew chief Alan Gustafson and team engineers.
“Sitting behind the crew chief in the pit box, that’s something you don’t get to do every day,” he said. “Once-in-a-lifetime kind of views, because I don’t see myself going to Hendrick Motorsports and joining a pit crew anytime soon.”
One of the aspects of the experience he found most interesting was just how active the pit stall is even between pit stops.
“You see it on TV and you see it from the stands but when you’re there to kind of watch, it’s just a constant flow – somebody is always doing something,” he shared. “When that car comes in, it’s seconds of, well, organized chaos. Then boom, the stop’s over and everybody is looking over and researching and studying data. I thought that was pretty intriguing.”
All-in-all, it was an experience Morgan won’t soon forget. And seeing the NAPA AutoCare Center logo on the hood of the car – and his shop’s name above the door – made it all the more special.
“That,” he said, “was pretty cool.”