Driver from India to make NASCAR debut at Martinsville in No. 60 SafeAuto Truck this weekend

SafeAuto is happy to announce that Starbeast Motorsports driver Narain Karthikeyan «NA-rain kar-thee-KAY-un» will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut on March 27 in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Karthikeyan, who is India’s first NASCAR driver, will drive the Wyler Racing No. 60 SafeAuto Chevrolet Silverado. Karthikeyan previously tested an ARCA car at Daytona International Speedway in December and brings 22 seasons of experience in open wheel racing including Formula 1 and the Le Mans Series.

“The opportunity to compete in a NASCAR series is a dream come true for me,” said Karthikeyan. “I have raced all over the world, but this is a different kind of challenge for me and I look forward to learning everything I can about racing in this environment. NASCAR is known for its passionate fans. I am excited to be introducing India to this sport and hope to help develop an equally passionate fan base there.”

Newly formed Starbeast Motorsports is focused on bringing NASCAR to the international community through foreign drivers. Karthikeyan is the center of Starbeast’s efforts to grow the sport in India.

Starbeast Motorsports and Karthikeyan have entered into an agreement with Wyler Racing for the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. Karthikeyan will race the No. 60 in select races to be announced at a later date. SafeAuto Insurance will serve as the primary sponsor after signing a multi-year agreement with Wyler Racing and driver Stacy Compton in 2009.

“We have always had a desire to work with drivers to help with their transition into NASCAR,” said Stacy Compton, who has driven in 27 events for Wyler Racing since partnering with the team last year. Compton will serve as a driver coach to help assist Karthikeyan as he makes the transition from open wheel racing to NASCAR.

“SafeAuto is excited to have such an accomplished Formula 1 driver behind the wheel of our race truck,” commented Jon Diamond, president of SafeAuto, “Many of our customers are fans of NASCAR and we are looking forward to being part of taking this sport to an international level.”

Martinsville Speedway ran its first NASCAR race on July 4, 1948. The speedway is located three miles south of Martinsville, Va., and is the only original NASCAR-sanctioned track still running Cup Series events.

Richard Petty remains the track’s leading winner with 15 victories. Seven drivers scored top-10 finishes in both Martinsville races in 2009: Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart according to NASCAR.com.

The NASCAR debut is in Martinsville on Saturday March 27 at 1.30 ET on the Speed Channel. You can view a complete list of the 2010 NASCAR Truck Series schedule on the official NASCAR site, http://www.nascar.com/races/truck/2010/data/schedule.html.

[Source: Wyler Racing, NASCAR]

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