From Bill Klingbeil
Indianapolis, IN — (January 17, 2014) — Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) and Beast Enterprises announced today that the Great Clips, Ultra Wheel and John Christner Trucking (JCT) brands have joined the Jason Leffler Tribute Car effort for the 28th annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire at the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Center. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 71 Great Clips/Ultra Wheel/JCT/Chevrolet/Beast entry that is entered by the late Jason Leffler and Julianna Patterson.
That Great Clips wished to be a part of this special tribute comes as no surprise given the special relationship Leffler had with everyone associated with the company over the years. Leffler represented the world’s largest salon brand in the NASCAR Nationwide Series both on and off the track from 2006 to 2012, developing great friendships along the way. Additionally, Great Clips and Kahne have a long-running relationship dating back to Kahne’s first full season of NASCAR competition in 2003.
“Honoring Jason by supporting Kasey in this year’s Chili Bowl Nationals has special meaning for everyone at Great Clips,” said Terri Miller, Sr. Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Great Clips, Inc. “Jason was not only a great representative of our brand for many years, we also considered him family. We couldn’t be more proud than to be a part of this tribute to Jason at the Chili Bowl, one of Jason’s all-time favorite racing events of the year.”
TSR and East are also proud to have Ultra Wheel and JCT as part of the tribute to Leffler’s legacy. Ultra Wheel’s Jim Smith was the first to contact the team regarding the opportunity and had been part of Leffler’s career for numerous years, and both he and the brand had been a great friend to the Leffler family.
“It is certainly an honor for Ultra Wheel to have the opportunity to participate in this tribute to Jason Leffler,” said Smith. “Jason was a great driver and a greater friend. We all dearly miss him.”
John Christner, the founder of Sapulpa, Okla.-based JCT, also has been a longtime associate of open-wheel racing. Heavily involved with the Chili Bowl event for numerous years, Christner is also honored to be part of the Leffler tribute effort.
“We’re proud to be part of the Jason Leffler Tribute entry that will compete at this year’s Chili Bowl Midget Nationals,” Christner said. “Jason was a big part of the Chili Bowl’s tradition and when the opportunity arose to be part of the tribute effort with Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Bob East, it was an easy choice. Not only was Jason a fierce competitor, he was also a great friend to many in the pit area and, to have an opportunity to help commemorate his career, is truly an honor.”
Race fans will have an opportunity to win the car – not including the engine – that Kahne will drive in this year’s Chili Bowl by registering online at http://www.starnetdp.com/
Kahne and Stewart, who will sign autographs at the Expo Center following Friday’s A-main qualifying session, have teamed up for this year’s event with the goal of raising money for the Charles Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust with a donation through the Tony Stewart Foundation to benefit the late racecar driver’s son.
The fundraising and car giveaway website – http://www.starnetdp.com/
The annual Chili Bowl takes place at the Tulsa Expo Raceway inside the Tulsa Expo Center. The fan-packed facility will host Kahne and more than 200 other competitors attempt to qualify for one of the coveted spots in Saturday’s 50-lap A-Main finale. Each driver will participate in a qualifying program and accumulate points to determine the A-Main lineup.
Stewart is one of only five drivers to win the Chili Bowl more than once (2002 and 2007), and one of only 17 different drivers to win the Chili Bowl since its inaugural event in 1987. Kahne will look to score his first Chili Bowl victory and take home the coveted Golden Driller trophy.
To help raise awareness, fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #LEFturn71 when posting on Facebook or Twitter about the 2014 Chili Bowl.
For more information regarding the 2014 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, visit www.chilibowl.com.
About Tony Stewart Foundation
The mission of the Tony Stewart Foundation (TSF) is to raise and donate funds through the TSF Grants Program to well-qualified organizations serving children who are critically ill or physically disabled, animals which are at-risk or endangered, and for drivers injured in the sport of motor racing. Qualified charities that may apply for a TSF grant must be a non-profit charity operating within the United States and classified as 501(c)(3), provide a copy of its IRS Letter of Determination with EIN number, have been fully operational for a minimum of two years, and fully meet the guidelines and mission statement of The Tony Stewart Foundation. TSF does not provide funding to individuals. Visit www.TonyStewartFoundation.org for more information.
About Charles Dean Discretionary Trust
In honor of NASCAR driver Jason Leffler, who lost his life in a racing accident on June 12, 2013, a trust fund has been established for his five-year-old son, Charlie Dean. This trust will serve as the official Leffler Family fund, with all monies going directly to Charlie’s needs. Turner Scott Motorsports co-owner Harry Scott Jr., former Braun Racing owner Todd Braun and Steve Overholser, CFO of Great Clips, will serve as trustees. Donations can be made to The Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust at The Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust, c/o SunTrust Bank, 232 Williamson Road, Mooresville, NC 28117 or by visiting http://www.tonystewartstore.