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Interstate Batteries ‘Charged Up’ for Iowa Race Weekend

Team Interstate Brings Dual Threat to Hawkeye State with NASCAR Cup Series Driver
Denny Hamlin at Iowa Speedway and Sprint Car Racer McKenna Haase at Knoxville Raceway

DALLAS (June 12, 2024) – Whether you’re a fan of stock cars pounding pavement or sprint cars slinging dirt, Iowa is the place to be this weekend. Just ask Interstate Batteries.

The leading replacement battery brand with the largest independent battery distribution system in North America will have a strong presence in the Hawkeye State as Denny Hamlin carries the iconic green Interstate Batteries colors in the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Iowa Speedway in Newton while sprint car racer and Iowa native McKenna Haase represents Interstate Batteries at Knoxville Raceway Friday and Saturday during the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event.

Hamlin opens the race weekend Friday afternoon with a 50-minute practice session on the .875-mile oval in Newton. The driver of the No. 11 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing is currently third in the championship standings, but has already punched his ticket to the NASCAR Playoffs with three wins in the 16 races run this season. The 43-year-old Virginian is having one of his best seasons and has positioned himself as a championship favorite, a seeming rite of passage for anyone wheeling a NASCAR Cup Series stock car emblazoned with Interstate Batteries.

“I have great memories of that Interstate Batteries scheme,” Hamlin said. “I was watching Bobby Labonte in the Interstate Batteries car beat Bill Elliott, who was my favorite driver, for a championship way back in the day. For Interstate to be part of the sport, and not only part of the sport, but with the same team for such a long time, it’s certainly special.”

Since Interstate Batteries became the founding partner of Joe Gibbs Racing in 1992, a who’s who of NASCAR talent has sat behind the wheel of an Interstate Batteries-branded racecar. Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth are four NASCAR Hall of Famers who have sported Interstate Batteries green, as well as two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch. Hamlin is currently in his 19th fulltime NASCAR Cup Series season, and with every year coming at Joe Gibbs Racing, he is the most tenured active member of Team Interstate.

“As things change, it’s weird how your mind changes over time, because for so long it was like, ‘Well, that’s Kyle Busch’s car,’ Hamlin explained. “Next thing you know, we’ve got a family of Interstate Batteries drivers at Joe Gibbs Racing with Team Interstate. It’s just really cool to be a part of the team with Norm (Miller, chairman emeritus), Lain (Hancock, president and CEO) and their whole team. They certainly love racing and activating around it. Anytime you have a sponsor that is as excited about the sport as we are, it’s always going to make for a good partnership, which is why it’s been going on for more than three decades now.”

While Hamlin is the undisputed veteran of Team Interstate, Haase (pronounced Hah-see) is the newest.

As a 15-year-old in her hometown of Carlisle, Iowa, Haase sold Interstate Batteries door-to-door in an effort to raise enough money to buy her first sprint car. Now 27, Haase carries the familiar bright green colors of Interstate Batteries on the 410 winged sprint car she owns and races at some of the most prominent sprint car events in the United States.

“It’s really amazing to have this relationship with Interstate Batteries,” Haase said. “To be affiliated with a company that is so iconic in motorsports and in business is really, really special. I absolutely love motorsports and the history of NASCAR. NASCAR, in general, was a big part of the reason I fell in love with the sport. And to be able to represent a company that is so meaningful from both a motorsports perspective and a faith perspective is really, really cool.”

The 12-year link between a teenage Haase and the Haase of today is LinkedIn. In March 2023, not long after Lain Hancock was named president and CEO of Interstate Batteries, Haase used LinkedIn to message Hancock with her marketing deck. She wasn’t asking for money, but rather a critique of her pitch. It resonated with Hancock enough that Haase’s proposal began making the rounds within Interstate Batteries’ Dallas headquarters. Today, Haase’s relationship with Interstate Batteries comes full circle with the “Outrageously Dependable” battery brand sponsoring her alongside existing partner Hy-Vee.

“It’s been a long time coming, getting the Cup Series to Iowa,” said Haase, who grew up in the suburbs of Des Moines. “I’m sure it will be absolutely huge because Iowa is a big NASCAR state. I’m excited to watch. I was actually at Iowa when Kasey Kahne raced in the ARCA race there. And my first-ever NASCAR race was at Iowa Speedway back in 2008. So to have a Cup race there now in 2024 kind of makes me feel old, but it’s also really cool.”

And while Haase will be keeping tabs on the NASCAR happenings in Newton, she will have her hands full with her own racing activities in Knoxville, driving her 900-horsepower sprint car around the hallowed half-mile dirt oval.

“I’ve basically grown up racing at Knoxville,” Haase said. “It’s a track that I’m very proud of and wish that everybody could visit and witness how special it is. It’s home to the Knoxville Nationals, and that’s such an incredible event. I’m just super thankful that I get to call this place home.”

The World of Outlaws race this weekend at Knoxville serves as a tune-up for the biggest World of Outlaws race – the Knoxville Nationals Aug. 7-10.

“As far as goals for the weekend, Nationals in August is the main focus for our team,” Haase said. “We aren’t on the national tour and don’t have the same budget as some of the other established teams. We’re always trying to learn and take whatever we can from the races that we do get to race in and put it toward the Nationals. For us, it’s all about making features and getting into the big race. So, we’ll keep working toward that goal.”

Haase’s race weekend at Knoxville begins at 6:30 p.m. CDT Friday with hot laps and qualifying prior to the night’s feature races. She returns to Knoxville Saturday night with another 6:30 p.m. CDT start before the second consecutive night of feature races. Fans can watch Haase in person or live on DIRTVision, the official pay-per-view provider for Knoxville Raceway and the exclusive live streaming home of the World of Outlaws.

Hamlin’s race weekend in Newton begins at 4:30 p.m. CDT Friday with a 50-minute practice. Qualifying begins at 12 p.m. CDT Saturday. The Iowa Corn 350 powered by Ethanol goes green at 6 p.m. CDT Sunday. USA will provide live coverage of each day’s on-track action.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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