Wow! Is NASCAR racing a popular sport among truckers! At the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville last week, NASCAR caps, jackets and bumper stickers were everywhere. You could buy Jeff Gordon calendars, win a jacket autographed by Richard Petty or even meet real race drivers.
In the back parking lot with the show trucks, OOIDA members visiting Louisville got a kick out of meeting the OOIDA-sponsored racing team driver, Michael Dokken and other members of the Rick Ware Racing team.
Dokken calls Clearwater, FL, his home. While the relationship between OOIDA and the Ware team is relatively new, Michael and Rick go back to the 2000 racing season. In his first race with the No. 51 team, Michael qualified the truck in the 10th position, and finished eighth. Later in the season, Rick allowed Michael to pilot the truck again. While leading the race with just a few laps to go, the truck ran out of fuel.
Reid Beggs drives the transport that moves equipment for Michael Dokken.
Ware driver Lance Hooper was also in Louisville to meet fans. Hooper is a native Californian, who parlayed starts for six different owners into a top-20 Craftsman Truck Series Championship finish in 2001. He ended up making 18 starts in 2001, which was up from the 13 NCTS races he ran in 2000, when he also completed the hat trick of having competed in all three NASCAR's national series when he started six Winston Cup events for car owner Richard Jackson. Hooper ended up with nine top-17 finishes.
Team owner is Rick Ware, Ware Enterprises Racing out of Thomasville, NC. After a long racing career himself, Ware retired from active competition due to an injury and in order to concentrate on ownership duties of three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team.
OOIDA members Mike and Vicky Long are a critical part of the Ware Enterprises racing team and are involved in the promotional efforts.