WIN Series: Alli Owens - Looks to 2011

Alli’s fans open their hearts
and their wallets

November 28, 2010 is a day that is etched in the mind of 22-year-old NASCAR hopeful, Alexandra “Alli” Owens. She received a life-changing phone call from the representative of a major sponsor. The voice on the other end stated that due to the economy, there was no funding available to support her and her 2011 racing efforts.

The call left her stunned and feeling as though her world was tumbling down around her. It was a Sunday afternoon that will go down in her young life as the point where either she makes it, or she throws in the towel. After spending the day with family and friends, Alli knew that she was at a pivotal point in her career.

In the world of racing, it takes time to get sponsors lined up, and budgets in place. Not to mention the marketing and advertising aspects that must also be planned out ever so carefully. Having learned this so late in November, Alli knew it would be nearly impossible to make all the necessary plans for the following season. With absolutely nowhere to turn, she knew that she needed a miracle.

That miracle came in form of her friends, family and supporters, with each trying to find a way to get Alli back on track, literally. With the arrival of a $2,000 check in the mail from a racer in North Dakota was a note that said, “This is just a buddy helping out a buddy.” Next, the weekly allowance of $10 arrived from an 8-year-old boy.

"I realize that I did lose my racing career for a split-second before my fans told me to get up off my butt and that no, they’re not going to let that happen. To be able to go to Daytona, it's going to be something that everybody cherishes ‘cause I know I will."

This began the campaign to make her debut as previously planned, on Feb. 18. This is the date of the NextEra Energy Resources 250 Camping World Truck Series race in Daytona. With everything in place except the cash, she is ready to make her NASCAR debut.
Owens has made a contribution herself, coming from the budget of her elusive wedding, taking $1,000 out and putting into the pot. Owens and boyfriend Paul planned to marry sometime this year. With Alli working to get back onto the race track, their wedding continues to be a goal without a date.

It will take $35,000 to get into that race with less than one week left to reach that pot of gold. Fans and supporters are sending what they can from their already stressed budgets. There are many people out there who believe in Alli and her dream and her ability to make it come true.

“I don’t want to ask for money, people having a hard time paying their own bills are sending me $5 and $10 donations and telling me they wished it could be more,” says Alli.

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This is where social media has proven its value. Through Facebook and Twitter, her plight has been made known. Not just fans of Alli’s are coming through. Fans of NASCAR and motorsports in general are doing what they can to help the young determined woman reach her goal.

In an e-mail that was sent out to prospective sponsors, Alli felt it was important to share with them the words and sentiments that came pouring in at her request. Below you can read just a few of the responses sent in by her fans.

Nadine Francis, Port Orange, Fla., says:
“This young lady is a role model for the children in our community. She is a hard worker, honest and a fine race car driver. I am a native of Daytona Beach and attended the races when they were in the sand over on the beach, I've seen kids come and seen kids go but Alli is a keeper and we (all her hometown fans and others) would like to see her get a chance to show what she is made of for a complete season. She comes from a local hard working family and we would like to see her succeed."

Ron Conrad, Chino Hills, Calif., says:
"Alli is a treasure to the sport and the real deal. She's a driver, mechanic and a sponsor's dream all rolled into one powerhouse of a competitor."

Anonymous, Daytona Beach, Fla., says:
"Alli is by far the MOST DETERMINED young racer I have the privilege of knowing. Her TALENT, her APPEAL, her MASSIVE FOLLOWING, her EXPOSURE is a win-win situation for any prospective company looking to get their name in the public eye. It's a NO BRAINER!"

Baylee Cummings, Cedar Key, Fla., says:
"Alli is the most hard-working and dedicated racecar driver I've ever known. From racing on dirt, she has faced one road block after another but kept on climbing all the way to Daytona and Talladega with ARCA. Now she needs a chance to make the last jump to NASCAR. It would be a win-win situation for any sponsor."

Peter Greene, Cleveland, Ohio, says:
"Supporting an underdog is one thing but supporting a driver who truly appreciates her fans and is dedicated to her sponsor defines Alli Owens."

Donna Rolston, Lake Helen, Fla., says:
"I watched Alli race her Quarter Midget car. Loved her competitive attitude then, and yes she beat all the boys out! My son would watch her after he got done racing. She is so dedicated and driven. I back Alli all the way!"

As you can see, Alexandra Owens has really made a place in racing for herself. Owens has three top-10 finishes in the ARCA Series and started on the outside pole of the 2009 Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona. When Owens didn't show up at ARCA testing last week, it got friends and associates talking about how they could help get her back in the game.

You need to work hard, to be willing to give when you feel there is nothing left to give.
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A link has been established to her website, . It is here that you can make any size contribution you feel comfortable giving. PayPal is one of the options to make this happen.

I recently spoke to Alli via Skype and we spoke of what the future holds, professionally and personally. Below you will see the results of this interview. I hope you find yourself as intrigued with this young woman’s talents and impressed with her perseverance as I do. She’s got what it takes to become real competitor on the track.

I started off by asking Alli how she was doing today and the conversation went on from there ...
AO-“Well I’m kind of nervous since tomorrow’s the last day we’ll be able to say yes or no to Daytona. Hopefully everything works out.”

LB-So tomorrow is the deadline then?
AO-“Yes. My CC has gotta know if we’re going racing so they can set up the car and have it ready. We gotta order seats and fire suits and things like that. So the deadline is Monday at the very latest.”

LB – Well OK then, we’ll keep our fingers crossed. I have a lot of faith in your fans out there. While reading you Facebook entries this morning, it seems like there are a few fans that are going to try to touch base with you.
AO-“Every sponsorship proposal's the same. So we decided we needed to do something different with this one. I just asked for people to send me quotes today. I was so surprised with the response that we got from it, so instead of me selling myself to prospective sponsors, here is a list from my fans. I let them do it. So I posted all those comments on the letters I sent out. I think we actually ended up with so many posts that I don’t think they’ll get through them all.”

LB- But before we get into to that, I want to ask you about all the major changes going on, both personal and professional. You became engaged since the last time we spoke.
AO-“YES! That was (giggle giggle) ... First of all my mom has always said that I’m good single cause I don’t know the difference between race cars and men ... Because I spend more time with race cars and I have a love and passion for them. She said a man would be crazy to try to interfere. So Paul actually works in racing so it works out really well. He likes to see me succeed in this just as much as I do so it kind of works out. Not to mention I don’t have to fight over who gets the garage, the play area (workshop) that we're actually doing together. He has his tools on one side and I got my racecar stuff on the other.”

LB- So when's the big day? Have you set a day?
AO-“Everytime I set a date, it changes because of the series I’m running. My first plan made was suppose to be the for the NNS schedule, so it was kinda planned around that. But then it changed to the truck schedule. Then back to ARCA, and back to CWTS. So were just gonna wait and see what happens in racing and we’ll make it big.”

LB- I believe I read somewhere you were talking about having the ceremony at Daytona. Is this still true?
AO-“Actually the 500 Club is such a nice area, what better way to celebrate then to get married at the track, plus I actually met Paul down there so it kind of worked out.”

LB- I heard you picked up and moved to Mooresville, is that true?
AO-“Yes, it's permanent. I am here. It's pretty cool cause lots of our neighbors actually work for NASCAR’s development and tech areas. Some from Ganassi as well. So it's cool that a lot of them are race fans.”

LB-So this is a move you and your fiancé Paul made?
AO- “Yes, we got a house and our two dogs. I feel really domestic now. I can actually cook and not burn down the kitchen, so I think I’m developing along just fine.”

LB -What prompted the move? Was it just you two wanting to live together or was it getting closer to the racing situation?
AO- Well, I think in my eyes and my parents eyes when I moved up here it was for me to go racing. It was almost like going off to college. I’d move back home after racing or after I got established in racing so I wouldn’t have to be up here all the time. I found a home here and I just love this area and love being around it.”

LB-Last year you took a hit, having lost a major sponsor.
AO-“In June we began to make our plans for 2011 and as far as I was concerned they were coming along nicely and the ‘sponsor’ was going to be a part of it. November 28th I got the phone call that said they were not renewing. I was just completely ... I hadn’t even looked for any other sponsors because I thought they were coming back. We had some people that wanted to work with them and they didn’t. I was like oh ... it's off-season and people have their Daytona vehicles to go and their teams lined up, and sponsors are lined up, teams have their drivers. I was so behind the eight ball, I didn’t think there would be a 2011 season.”
LB-That had to be a big disappointment ... I heard you on Sirius radio and you were talking whether you would be throwing in the towel at this point or keep going …
AO- “It's hard. Racing was my livelihood. Paul was in one of the big layoffs with racing so he didn’t have a job. I was like, I can’t just sit home and look for sponsorships. I gotta go out and work. So I was an insurance agent and am still doing that a little bit. I had to get a job. So I didn’t have the whole 9-5 to sit at home and call people and look for sponsorships. I didn’t have money to pay people to look for sponsors ... So what do I do now? My parents were saying that they would love to help me, but they couldn’t because they were struggling, too. I was like, reality has sunk in and now what?”

LB-The interview that we did last year, I asked you if you had a plan B and your exact words were, “Failure is not an option.” There is no Plan B. I really think your fans are going to surprise you. I think it's going to work out.
AO-“I think everyone gets to that point where they don’t want to give up but when reality hits and there’s not another way. When I got that phone call from my sponsor, I seriously just broke down. I cried hard and could not breathe. I stayed in bed. I told my hubby-to-be that I didn’t know what I was going to do. I don’t know if I’m going be the same person that I was when we met. I just didn’t know what I was going to do with myself. I’ve been racing since I was 8 years old. Every single weekend I was at a racetrack or something that had to do with racing. Always racing, racing, racing. At that point, I didn’t want to be here in North Carolina. Didn’t want to see it didn’t want to hear about it. I was like it isn’t fair. I did everything I could for this industry. For the fans, for everybody. It's just at the point, is the good guy going to win? It was so tough to pick up and try it again.”

LB-What does your schedule look like in 2011?
AO-“The plan was suppose to be eight NNS races and four ARCA races. Then that changed. So I’m not planning on running ARCA at all this year unless somebody wants me to drive their car. I can’t justify running ARCA when it’s the same to run trucks or Nationwide. I met Ray Hackett. He has a Ford team. He's such a new guy that nobody knows who he is, which is awesome. He has really good equipment and a really good heart and he's a grassroots racer, too. A very humble guy. I figure if this is gonna be my last shot to really try and make something of 2011, I'll work for him. The plan is, if we have money to go racing we're going be in a truck or Nationwide. He has a couple NNS cars sitting there, so we’ll see.”

LB-Your fans would love to see you in NNS. A move up into a NASCAR series. It’d be cool to see you up there ... getting a little closer to your DREAM!
AO- “I know. I know.”

LB-What are your thoughts about NASCAR's decision to simplify the points system?
AO - "I think NASCAR’s just doing what ever they can to keep fans watching. They thought Danica was going to be a big enough movement to keep fans excited about the sport, but she obviously needs to learn more and she’s admitted that. It just wasn’t everything that it was hyped up to be. So NASCAR is looking at other options. If Jimmie Johnson wins again,I don’t wanna watch another Chase.”

LB-I know, I’m a huge JJ fan ...
AO-"I know me too. I think he’s awesome!"

LB-But give someone else a chance, I’m tellin ya!
AO-"So hopefully this will be the savior they’re looking for.”

LB-Hopefully. If they simplify it maybe the average Joe is gonna understand it a bit more. It does get confusing.
AO- "I have a hard time convincing my friends that I do go around in circles for a reason ..." (laughs)

LB- So if you were speaking to a possible sponsor what would you say to convince him to take a leap of faith with you, what would you say…
AO- 'The thing that really gets me is you look on TV and every other commercial is (in) some way gearing toward the middle-class market. The people that buy. Women are the buying power. With the different things they are trying to market. Spending millions of dollars and have massive amounts of people sitting around and the table doing research trying to figure out how to reach out to these people.

"I think that our Twitter and Facebook case study prove that you need to find something that people can relate to. I feel that corperate America and people in this industry almost talk down to the smaller person instead of encouraging them. It kills me that NASCAR sits here and tries to push ticket sales and for the amount of money that it costs to buy a ticket, people are donating that to me to go race. So when you look at it, they have the money to spend, and they believe in what I am doing and the whole message behind it.

"I wish it wasn’t just me, I wish it was like a softball team so it's not just on me. But when you look at it, people need to understand that it's not just Alli Owens in that race car, this is the blue collar, middle-class grassroots people that they are trying to market and it's all of them that are trying to come together to go racing at Daytona. It's not even the fact that we’re going to go race, it’s the fact that we’ve all come together as a whole and want to make this happen because somebody told us that we couldn’t.

"For a sponsor to be a part of that, there is no way you can put a price on that. It's priceless on what we are doing. What we’ve accomplished. No price tag you can put on what has happened in the last week and half. It's so much more that somebody holding a Coke and saying, 'go buy a Coke,' or something like that. It’s the power of people! The power of people is huge and I think that all of us together have shown corporate America and NASCAR that this is how you can do it and hopefully someone will see that and want to be a part of it. I personally think that my fans are the greatest ones!"

Find a way to give what you can, even if is only $5. Every dollar counts in this campaign. Take it from her fans: Alli is more than just a racer, she is a mentor to many young drivers out there who need to see it possible to make your dream come true.

Don’t throw in the towel, Alli!

If you want to help Alli Owens with her dream, go her website ( and click the PayPal button on the right-hand side to make a donation, or mail your donation to:
Owens Racing LLC
400 Venture Ave
Suite A
South Daytona, FL 32119
WIN Series: Alli Owens - Looks to 2011 WIN Series: Alli Owens - Looks to 2011 Reviewed by Lindi Bess on Saturday, January 22, 2011 Rating: 5