(LOS ANGELES, February 21, 2006) — The new AAA-sponsored, No. 6 Ford Fusion piloted by veteran driver Mark Martin will make its West Coast debut at the Auto Club 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race on February 26 at California Speedway in Fontana.
The Automobile Club of Southern California, which helped pioneer and officiate motor sports in Southern California during the early 1900s, is title sponsor of the Auto Club 500 and one of the AAA-affiliated clubs sponsoring the racecar fielded by Roush Racing, back-to-back Nextel Cup champions in 2003-04.
"The Auto Club is pleased to welcome the winning combination of Roush Racing and Mark Martin to the Auto Club 500 in their first California appearance showcasing the AAA colors. By having AAA appear on the No. 6 car, AAA will support the millions of members who are fans of NASCAR and acquaint other NASCAR fans with the premier motoring organization in the country," said Auto Club president & CEO Thomas V. McKernan.
Martin has been the mainstay at Roush Racing, teaming up with Jack Roush in 1988 to help launch Roush's NASCAR operation. Since then, Martin and Roush have become one of the most successful partnerships in the sport. In 18 years on the circuit Martin has scored 35 Nextel Cup victories and captured 41 pole positions, 356 top-10 and 224 top five finishes. He has started 633 Nextel Cup races and currently has a string of 575 straight starts.
AAA's first NASCAR Nextel Cup race car sponsorship for an entire season is the latest step taken towards its reentry into the national motorsports arena. In 2005, AAA became the official "motor club" and "auto insurer" at 12 tracks owned by International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and will provide complimentary emergency roadside assistance to all fans — members and non-members alike — during major event weekends at those facilities. This includes battery service, flat tires and lockouts.
A number of AAA-affiliated clubs have sponsored major races and/or cars for nearly a decade. In Southern California, the Auto Club has been a major race sponsor at California Speedway since the facility opened. The Auto Club also sponsors the NASCAR Late Model series at Irwindale Speedway, the Auto Club NHRA Finals drag racing event at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona and serves as presenting sponsor of the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield. The Club is also a sponsor of the John Force Racing Team on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national tour.
The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest affiliate of the AAA, has been serving members since 1900. Today, the Auto Club's members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing, buying and financing programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club's Web site at www.aaa.com.