Turner Motorsports announced today that Trent Owens will serve as crew chief of the No. 50 Walmart Chevrolet with driver Bill Elliott in the team's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) debut at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) in July. Owens currently calls the shots for Turner Motorsports' No. 30 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) entry and recently led the team to victory in the 2012 season-opener at DIS.
A former driver himself, Owens is a long-time fixture in the NASCAR garage. The Darlington, S.C., native served as crew chief for six years for Braun Racing and remained with the organization through its acquisition by Turner Motorsports two years ago.
Turner Motorsports' NSCS debut is in conjunction with Walmart's Race Time program, launched last year as the largest retail promotion in NASCAR history. Race Time 2012 gives customers more accessibility to discounted race tickets, driver appearances and fan events at Walmart stores. It also offers a greater selection of authentic NASCAR merchandise available at Walmart stores and www.Walmart.com/NASCAR.
The goal for Elliott, who was voted NASCAR's Most Popular Driver 16 times and is one of NASCAR's Top 50 Drivers of all time, is to qualify and compete at the Coke Zero 400. He will also visit Walmart stores with his show car before select races.
Walmart's sponsorship of the No. 50 entry at DIS was announced in January as part of its 50th anniversary celebration.
"It's exciting to be part of Turner Motorsports' first Cup race with Bill Elliott and support from Walmart," said Owens, who has four NNS wins as a crew chief. "We've come a long way in just the last two years, so to take this step is really going to be a milestone for everyone who works so hard for this team every day."
Over the years, Owens has been successful working with a variety of drivers with different levels of experience. Prior to his win in the Feb. 25 NNS event at DIS with rookie James Buescher, Owens last season led veterans Mark Martin (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) and Reed Sorenson (Road America) to victory lane. In 2007, he served as crew chief for Dave Blaney in his win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Fans will also get to participate in Elliott's return to the 2.5-mile superspeedway by voting on what driver's suit and helmet he will wear for the race. Three different driver's suit and helmet combinations have been specifically designed for Elliott and fans can vote by visiting www.Walmart.com/NASCAR between March 28and May 14.
Elliott, the 1988 Cup champion, has 44 career wins in the series, including four at DIS. He most recently finished 12th there in the 2011 Daytona 500.
"Having the chance to work with Bill is icing on the cake," Owens said. "Obviously, he's had an amazing career, and I have a lot of respect for his talent and what he has accomplished over the years. Not only is this a great opportunity for Turner Motorsports but it's a big deal for me personally."
Turner Motorsports PR