A new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team is vowing to race every lap this season despite an under-the-radar entrance into the sport and a sponsor that has yet to be officially announced.
The BK Racing team purchased the former assets of Red Bull Racing last month and got the keys to its new shop on Feb. 1. Since then, the organization has been scrambling to prepare its No. 83 and No. 93 cars for the Daytona 500 -- all with an air of mystery surrounding the scramble.
Why a mystery, you ask? Because the "BK" in BK Racing stands for "Burger King," but the fast food chain hasn't officially announced its involvement.
Its logos are on the car and the firesuits of drivers Landon Cassill and David Reutimann, but Burger King is not actually an owner of the team.
"BK Racing is owned by a small group that spun off from TRG Motorsports -- a few disgruntled investors who decided to get together and do it themselves," said Wayne Press, one of BK Racing's primary backers. "We wanted to have control of what was going on with the team, which we never had before. If we were going to put the money up, we'd rather control our own destiny."
Front Row Motorsports has sponsorship from fast food restaurants like Taco Bell and Long John Silver's because team owner Bob Jenkins is a major franchisee. But BK Racing has a different kind of partnership with Burger King -- it's just one that hasn't yet been publicly detailed.
In the meantime, the team is preferring not to make a big splash in the media and instead hoping its performance and results will speak for themselves. BK Racing is a full-season effort and will not start-and-park, Press said.
Those who have been around NASCAR for a number of years are familiar with new owners and teams who believe they can make it in the Sprint Cup Series and fail, but Press said there's reason to believe BK Racing has staying power.
"We survived on a shoestring budget with the 71, and we're so much better funded going into this venture with the 83 and 93," Press said. "BK Racing is here to race every race, every weekend, every lap."
Veteran general manager Harry McMullen, who was also formerly with TRG, said he believes joining BK Racing is a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
"There are 10,000 people walking around the garage and walking around the streets saying, 'We're going to do this and we're going to do that,' and you can just tell [they aren't],'" McMullen said. "This group here, you just know [they are]. There's a big vision here and I'm certain we're going to fulfill it."
The team will run Toyotas (the former Red Bull cars), and the crew includes former Greg Biffle crew chief Doug Richert. Travis Kvapil will run the No. 93 car when Reutimann is not in it.
"When you shake hands with these gentlemen, you walk out and say, 'You know what? These guys are the real deal,'" McMullen said. "You can just feel it."