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#EnduranceWeek: Fueling up for the 600-mile Cup event

#EnduranceWeek: Fueling up for the 600-mile Cup event

CONCORD, N.C. – Herb-marinated chicken, wild rice with roasted vegetables, tomato salad and a fresh raspberry dessert will be part of the fuel that keeps Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. focused throughout the intense 600-mile race on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Talk about a responsibility. Deb Haase has been preparing meals not only for the drivers, but for their families, and Hendrick Motorsports executives during the last seven years at the racetrack.

#EnduranceWeek: Watch Sunday’s Sprint Cup event at 6 p.m. ET on FOX; listen live on PRN.

Haase pulls from her roots when creating the balanced meals from scratch. Originally from Lead, S.D., she grew up watching and learning from her mother, who prepared and cooked meals for the family on a daily basis. After pursuing a criminal justice career in Sioux Falls, she moved to North Carolina, where her and her husband Robin started helping with Hendrick Motorsports showcar department. It didn’t take long for her coworkers to realize she enjoyed cooking, and soon enough she was back to her passion of preparing meals.

Each meal Haase serves includes whole grain and a lean meat like chicken, seafood or pork. She avoids red meat and products that include white flour. She’s only concerned with the proper nutrients so she spends eight to nine hours each day preparing the meals without preservatives so the drivers will be able to function at optimum levels.

Whether preparing a weekend menu or serving Earnhardt’s favorite dish, the importance behind each meal served is ensuring the right nutrients are included. But as adequately filling as Haase’s meals are, it’s asking a lot of them to go the distance in Sunday’s 600-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race. That’s when Gatorade’s Energy Chews come into play, particularly for Jimmie Johnson. Like his teammates, the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet SS can expect to lose 10-15 pounds while competing in a race car that will achieve temperatures of 130 degrees Fahrenheit. He chews on the gummy blocks for a quick caloric burst of restorative energy. Research conducted by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute concluded that during a three-hour race a driver will lose 10 pounds, which is approximately the same amount of weight lost by a professional football player in the same time span.

Being prepared is critical – before the race and during the grueling 400-lap event. Here is a look at the menu Haase has prepared for this weekend:

•Thursday Lunch:
Grilled turkey, tomato & provolone sandwich
Dill pickles
Fruit cocktail with mint

•Thursday Dinner:
Salmon with leeks & dill & Greek yogurt dressing
Orzo pasta with feta & sundried tomatoes
Broccoli almandine
Cantaloupe & blackberries

•Saturday Lunch:
Grilled shrimp
Arugula & fresh pear salad
Multigrain Melba toast

•Sunday Dinner:
Herb marinated chicken
Wild rice with roasted vegetables
Tomato salad
Fresh raspberry desert