AAA, which helped pioneer and officiate motorsports in the U.S. until 1955, recently said it plans to return as a major participant in professional auto racing.
The motorists' organization will be the ``Official Auto Club'' at 11 tracks owned and/or operated by International Speedway Corp. (ISC), which hosts NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and Indy Racing League (IRL) events.
The not-for-profit AAA, North America's largest motor club and membership organization, has more than 47 million members in the U.S. and Canada.
``AAA's re-entry to the world of motorsports is an exciting and historic event for our members and for race fans everywhere,'' said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. ``Our organization was a major force in the growth and development of auto racing during the first half of the 20th century, and we look forward to working with ISC to further extend the enthusiasm and fan base for professional auto racing in the 21st century.''
As part of its agreement with ISC, AAA's well-known logo will appear on track safety and recovery vehicles, as well as on track signs, in racing programs and in other promotional venues. Tracks will provide space for local AAA clubs to display and present membership services to race fans, and the association also will offer complementary roadside assistance services to fans during event weekends at ISC tracks.
Orlando-based AAA said it exited motorsports in the mid-1950s to concentrate on providing quality automotive and travel services to a rapidly expanding membership while introducing new membership benefits. However, several individual AAA clubs continued their involvement in racing at the local level during that period.
ISC promotes more than 100 events annually. The company owns and/or operates 11 of the nation's major motorsports facilities, including Daytona International Speedway in Florida (home of the Daytona 500), California Speedway near Los Angeles and Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.