Bill McAnally is our guest on Fan4Racing Fan2Fan NASCAR & Race Talk on Monday, November 23, 2015 at 9 pm ET. Call 929-477-1790 or tweet @Fan4RacingSite, @Sal_Sigala or @beberly18 with any questions or comments during our LIVE broadcast.
For the last 25 years, Bill McAnally Racing with NAPA Auto Parts have been a pillars within the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and this past season is no exception, with his teams often contending for wins and ending their season with their sixth series championship with Chris Eggleston. Teammate Brandon McReynolds made series history as the first West driver to win both East-West combination events at Iowa Speedway this season.
Bill McAnally Racing has an impressive run with NAPA for the last 25 years with over 60 victories and now six K&N West championships. The McAnally organization has reached beyond the K&N Pro Series also holding titles locally in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and Rookie of the Year honors with the Camping World Truck Series in 2002. McAnally and NAPA have also taken on title sponsorship in a myriad of K&N Pro Series West races and are now taking their efforts to the East series the last couple of years.
K&N East drivers, Nick Drake ran the full season finishing seventh in the series point standings. Among other drivers racing for Bill McAnally in the East are Cole Custer and his West driver, Brandon McReynolds.
Drivers making their mark with Bill McAnally Racing over the years include, several NASCAR Next recipients and drivers advancing their careers to NASCAR’s top three National series – Brandon McReynolds and Cole Custer, three-time K&N West champ, Eric Holmes, Brendan Gaughan, Michael Waltrip, Kerry Earnhardt, Sarah Fisher and Travis Pastrana. Before making his first NASCAR XFINITY Series start, Clint Bowyer raced a pair of races for Bill McAnally Racing in 2004.
Commemorating their 25 year partnership, Bill McAnally Racing and NAPA Auto Parts have taken their success beyond the track with their marketing strategy for the business side too.
“I don’t think any one individual has worked any harder than Bill has to help us build our brand on the West Coast,” said Dan Askey, president of sales for NAPA.
The McAnally-NAPA relationship started ahead of their sponsorship effort and before launching a racing career. McAnally was a loyal customer of NAPA as a student at Ukiah California High School. When he graduated and moved to Roseville, California and started a racing team with NAPA Filters and Valvoline Oil as sponsors.
Their first year together in 1990 was a success, with McAnally winning the late-model division championship in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at the quarter-mile Roseville track. Since then as they’ve grown together, and McAnally is grateful for the partnership.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have NAPA partner with BMR for the past 25 years,” McAnally said. “I’m grateful to everybody at NAPA and to all the sponsors in the NAPA family who have been part of our racing program.”
Coming in to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 1992 as a driver/owner, McAnally raced two events in what was then known as the NASCAR Winston West Series.He then raced five events in the 1993 season. Despite losing his car and equipment to vandals the night before the 1994 season opener, McAnally still raced in six events while rebuilding his team. Finally, racing a full schedule in the 1995 season, McAnally finished ninth in the series point standings and followed up the next year with another ninth-place points standing.
McAnally worked hard and found several allies with the executives at NAPA Auto Parts and they continued to build both the NAPA brand and Bill McAnally Racing over the years. It was the idea of hosting his NAPA clients at the races that proved a wining idea, so in 1998 McAnally decided to work on building his team while putting other drivers behind the wheel. The decision was a good one as the team earned their first win that same year with Gary Smith. The following season, they earned two victories and the series championship with Sean Woodside.
The McAnally led organization took their efforts to the next level with Brendan Gaughan behind the wheel, winning two more championships in 2000 and 2001. That’s when Bill McAnally took Brendan Gaughan and his team to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and won the 2002 Rookie of the Year honors while Austin Cameron earned five K&N West victories that same the season.
The next season was more dramatic when Austin Cameron missed several races in the 2003 season with medical treatments for cancer. Cameron did come back to win two events and ended the season by winning the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.
Success continued for the McAnally organization with several talented young drivers bringing in three K&N West rookie titles from 2005 to 2009. During this time, veteran driver Eric Holmes, who had already won a K&N West title, joined Bill McAnally Racing and ended the season with his second title and a fourth for the organization. This was also this first year BMR worked with Toyota. The partnership also brought success with a manufacturer title in 2008. They would go on to again win the driver and manufacturer championship with Eric Holmes in 2010. Overall, Holmes won 15 races with BMR, the most of any driver, and remains an important part of the team as a spotter and driver coach.
Expanding Bill McAnally Racing with NAPA Auto Parts to racing in the K&N East in 2014, they are the first and continue as the only team to race in both the East and West K&N schedules.
NAPA recognizes and appreciates what McAnally has done for the company, according to Brad Shaffer, who served as Division Vice President at Genuine Parts Company.
“I think it’s safe to say that no person has endeared themselves to NAPA more than Bill McAnally,” Shaffer said. “From NAPA store owners to NAPA AutoCare owners all the way to the CEO of Genuine Parts Company, the NAPA welcome mat is always out when Bill comes knocking.”
Writing the book on sponsorship relationships, the future continues to look promising for Bill McAnally and NAPA Auto Parts. With no signs of slowing down, fans can look forward to seeing Bill McAnally teams with NAPA on their cars for as long as there are races and championship to win.