Friday, January 28, 2011

Miss Sprint Cup Unveiled

The 2011 Miss Sprint Cup lineup
Miss Sprint Cup held an unveiling party at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s bar Whisky River in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday night to announce the lineup for the upcoming season.

A week earlier, Paige Duke had announced on Facebook and Twitter that she would be returning for her second year. SB Nation writer Jeff Gluck had written an article that Amanda Wright would not be returning, and everyone was left to guess if Monica Palumbo would return - most assumed she wouldn’t.

Each girl was introduced separately at different times of the night, giving them a chance to interact with fans.
First was Paige Duke; we were then treated to a video with pictures of her while Gwyneth Paltrow's song "Country Strong" played. Paige is a country girl straight from Lancaster, S.C. She attended Clemson University and graduated magna cum laude and is still a proud die-hard Tigers fan. She loves animals and during her off-season works at a veterinarian's office. She likes fishing, even for sharks, but her favorite is hunting for deer. There were a few pictures of her riding a bull in her video, and the night's host, Sprint Experience emcee Daryl Motte, dared her to ride the bull at Whisky River. She went for the ride and stayed on for 22.6 seconds. She challenged fans to beat her time and no one was able to do it.

The second Miss Sprint Cup girl introduced is the newest member, Kim Coon, an Orlando, Fla., native and Miami University graduate who went on to get her master's degree from the University of Alabama. AC/DC's song "Thunderstruck" played during her video, which showed us pictures of her ziplining, as well as with her dog, friends and cheerleading. She spent two seasons cheering for the Carolina Panthers and worked in corporate marketing before joining the Miss Sprint Cup team. Kim informed me that she had not met any of the drivers yet; she looks forward to meeting them and all the fans at the Sprint Experience and can't wait to get to Daytona.

The biggest secret and most exciting surprise to all of us was the introduction of the third Miss Sprint Cup, Monica Palumbo. When she walked through the door and out onto the stage, the crowd cheered loudly in excitement - she is coming back for her fourth season. Keeping this a secret was hard for her; she said everyone thought she wouldn’t come back but inside (herself), she wanted to say, “Yes, I’m coming back!” Her video was filled with pictures of memories of her last three seasons as Miss Sprint Cup as the song "American Girl" by Tom Petty played. Monica mentioned that she loves meeting all the returning fans; she remembers faces but not names. She's built a good repertoire with the fans. Lindi Bess wrote an amazing article about Monica last year for Skirts and Scuffs.

Miss Sprint Cup started in 2007 and the representatives are the three ladies whose job is heavily focused on the fans. They keep their 300,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter up to date on current news in the garage. They can be found at the Sprint Experience at every race, where they have contests and give away prizes, including new cell phones. Paige and Monica agree that the most fun part of their job is the chance to hang out in Victory Lane with the winner. Monica advised newcomer Kim to be careful around the Gatorade bottles because they sometimes get hit in the head, and she told her that the champagne was good for her hair.

The first 200 guests to arrive at Wednesday night's event received a gift from Sprint, which was two tickets to the All Star Race this May. Throughout the night, there were contests and raffles where fans either won a cell phone, passes to the Charlotte Motor Speedway - Speedway Club also for the All Star Race, and one lucky man won an autographed helmet by Kurt Busch.

The evening ended with an autograph and photo session for fans.

You can follow Monica Palumbo, Kim Coon and Paige Duke on Twitter.

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