DAYTONA BEACH, FL. At a news conference here ahead of last weekend’s running of the Daytona 500, Freightliner Trucks announced its official sponsorship of NASCAR and that it's returning as a 2006 sponsor of 13 individual NASCAR teams. The OEM also will host a series of pre-race events dubbed the Freightliner Run Smart Hauler Challenge open to NASCAR hauler drivers.

“Both NASCAR and Freightliner Trucks share a passion for vehicles that push the envelope in terms of performance and efficiency,” said Michael E. Delaney, senior vp of marketing, Freightliner LLC. He noted that NASCAR sponsorship was a great fit for the OEM because many heavy-duty truck drivers and buyers are NASCAR fans.

For the ’06 season, Freightliner Trucks will sponsor these individual NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series teams: Evernham Motorsports; Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI); Penske Racing South; Hendrick Motorsports; Petty Enterprises; Haas CNC Racing; Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabatas; BAM Racing; Akins Motorsports; Rusty Wallace Racing, Inc.; Jr. Motorsports; Fitz-Bradshaw Racing; and Michael Waltrip Racing.

Freightliner pointed out it has supplied hauler vehicles to these NASCAR teams for over five years. As an associate sponsor of the 13 racing teams, the Freightliner Trucks logo will appear on each team’s race car, driver suit and crew uniforms as well as the heavy-duty transporter vehicles they operate.

Freightliner’s Coronado and Classic XL heavy-duty truck models will transport the sponsored race cars and team equipment from race to race for the entire ‘06 NASCAR season. In addition, medium-duty Freightliner Business Class M2 SportChassis models will also haul NASCAR equipment and scoring trailers and some teams will use M2s as box trucks and roll backs as well to haul show cars and engines. All told, some 80 Freightliners will be involved this season.

“Freightliner Trucks has supplied Evernham Motorsports with outstanding support and first-class vehicles for five years running,” said Ray Evernham, owner of Evernham Motorsports. “Our drivers have nothing but great things to say about the quality and performance of the Coronados. We are truly excited to continue our relationship with the Freightliner organization into the 2006 season and beyond.”

This season will mark the initial running of the Freightliner Run Smart Hauler Challenge, an event designed to showcase the driving skills of Nextel Cup Series hauler drivers. Over the course of the season, the drivers will compete by maneuvering Freightliner Coronados through obstacle courses and completing other skill tests. They stand to win a $35,000 grand prize, a $15,000 second prize and a $5,000 third prize.

Dates and locations of the hauler challenge are:

  • March 9, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas
  • May 18, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Charlotte
  • July 7, Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet
  • Saturday, Oct. 7, Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega
  • Sunday, Nov. 5, Texas Motor Speedway, Dallas (finals)

    Freightliner also unveiled a new chrome interior bright package that will be offered on Coronado, Classic, Classic XL and FLD SD models. Factory installed, the package is made from durable, quality materials and includes switch panels, sleeper control panel trim, dump valve trim, mirror and power window switch trim, trailer brake cover, door kick panel and shift cover, along with other dash trim.

    In addition, all Coronado SleeperCabs as well as Columbia and Century Class S/T Signature interior models are now available with standard one-piece cabinet doors. The doors are also available as an upgrade on Columbia and Century Class S/T SleeperCabs with Base and Heritage interiors. Backed by a comprehensive warranty, the cabinet doors are made with a highly durable, scratch-resistant material, noted the OEM.

    Freightliner also announced that beginning immediately on all Coronado orders, satellite-ready Delphi XTA-2400 AM/FM/WB CD radios will replace cassette players as standard audio equipment on this flagship truck model. The CD players are specifically designed to withstand rugged long-haul and off-road environments, said the OEM. Backed by a comprehensive warranty, the CD players boast LED backlighting for longer display life, a theft deterrent system and an alarm clock.

    For more information, go to www.freightlinertrucks.com.