UC company rides into NASCAR sponsorship

Fitzgerald will officially unveil its No. 22  Ford Mustang livery in mid-March in Pickett County during a special event.
Fitzgerald will officially unveil its No. 22 Ford Mustang livery in mid-March in Pickett County during a special event.

BYRDSTOWN – An Upper Cumberland-based business is taking its marketing game up a notch and jumping into the NASCAR scene.

Team Penske, a professional racing team, announced Wednesday it’s partnering with Fitzgerald, the Byrdstown-based glider kit assembler, to sponsor the No. 22 Ford Mustang in select 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) races this season.

Fitzgerald will adorn the side of the No. 22 Ford in events at Bristol Motor Speedway in April, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July, Darlington Raceway in September and Dover International Speedway in October. In addition, Fitzgerald will be an associate sponsor of the team for the balance of the season.

The official unveil of the No. 22 Fitzgerald Ford Mustang livery will be made in mid-March at the company’s corporate headquarters in Pickett County during a special event for employees and local media.

“The family and I have always been huge fans of NASCAR, and it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to see our family name on the side of one of these amazing machines,” Tommy Fitzgerald Sr., company founder, said in a release. “We feel that our partnership with a team as prestigious as Team Penske has increased our odds of seeing our family name in Victory Lane.”

In 1989, the Fitzgerald family recognized a need in the transportation industry for a quality built glider and, already with more than 10 years experience running a trucking company, the family rolled their first glider kit out of their one-bay garage. The goal was to build a truck that was easy to service, capable of getting better fuel mileage and reliable. Twenty-five years later, Fitzgerald continues to produce one of the most reliable trucks on the road. Fitzgerald Glider Kits produces more than 4,000 trucks per year, and offers various models of the Peterbilt, Kenworth, Freightliner, and Western Star brands.

Fitzgerald operates out of an 110,000-square-foot building on 31 acres in Byrdstown and recently moved all Freightliner builds to a new 60,000-square-foot facility in Jamestown.

The No. 22 Team Penske team, meanwhile, has won three consecutive NXS Owners’ Championships and has produced 25 wins with four different drivers (Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and AJ Allmendinger) over the course of the last three seasons. The No. 22 Mustang is the first car to capture three straight NXS Owners’ titles.

“We are excited to welcome Fitzgerald to Team Penske as a new partner in 2016,” said Roger Penske. “Fitzgerald is a family-run business that has made a name for itself and has become established as an industry leader. We believe that the Fitzgerald brand is a great fit with the No. 22 Ford team. We look forward to not only seeing Fitzgerald represented on the car, but also using the company’s products in our race shop.”

The 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season will begin at Daytona International Speedway Saturday.

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