Mooresville, N.C. – August 25, 2010 – When the NASCAR® Nationwide Series heads north of the border for its annual visit to Canada this weekend, one of the series’ most experienced race teams will have a fresh face behind the wheel. Paulie Harraka, in his sophomore season in the K&N Pro Series West and his junior year at Duke University, will pilot the Exide® Batteries #87 Chevrolet for NEMCO Motorsports at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Sunday, August 29. The race will air live on ESPN 2 at 2:30 PM EST.
This event marks the NASCAR Nationwide Series debut for Harraka, who is a member of the Drive for Diversity program. Harraka, the winningest driver in the program, won the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship in 2008, followed by NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Rookie of the Year in 2009. Currently, he is 3rd in K&N Pro Series West points standings.
After finishing 2nd in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Infineon this summer, Harraka caught the eye of Joe Nemechek, NEMCO Motorsports owner. “I’ve been impressed with how he’s grown as a race car driver – particularly on the road courses,” said Nemechek, who has won 16 Nationwide Series races.
“Paulie has always seized opportunities presented to him, whether it’s a scholarship at Duke or a seat in my race car. It's going to be an honor to give a talented ‘Drive for Diversity racer’ a ride in one of our cars.”
To make his Nationwide debut for such a storied team is a dream come true for Harraka. “I love road course racing and can’t wait to compete at Montreal,” said an exuberant Harraka. “I can’t express how grateful I am to Joe and Andrea Nemechek for the opportunity to drive their racecar in Montreal. And, to have our car branded with Exide® Batteries – a symbol of top performance and rich racing heritage—makes it even more special.”
The NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will kick off a busy week for Harraka. Immediately following the race, Harraka will fly to Durham, North Carolina to begin his first class of his junior year at Duke University. On Wednesday, August 25, Harraka will be featured in Changing Lanes, a reality series that follows the Drive for Diversity program drivers as they chase their NASCAR dreams. The premiere episode will air at 8:00 PM EST on BET.
“Paulie Harraka is an incredible new talent, making Exide’s affiliation with NASCAR® even more exciting,” said Bruce Cole, President – Transportation Americas, Exide Technologies. “Not only does this sponsorship afford us additional opportunities to showcase Exide’s Official Battery of NASCAR® status, it also aligns our Company’s premium-quality, track-proven portfolio of battery products with the brand-loyal NASCAR audience.”