TJ Bell will not only return to the track in the Camping World Truck Series with MAKE Motorsports and a brand new sponsor, Liberty Tire Recycling, but he has every intention of turning that infamous Darlington stripe "green" this weekend.
Bell will be running on the “track too tough to tame” with one of NASCAR’s first ever “green” sponsors in the Truck Series.
Liberty Tire Recycling, gracing the hood of the MAKE Motorsports No. 50 Chevy Silverado, is the nation’s largest tire recycling provider.
“MAKE Motorsports is a positive, boots on the ground, grassroots team and Liberty Tire Recycling is about spreading the message of recycling and claiming in a positive, viral way,” Thomas Womble, Vice President of Liberty Tire Recycling said. “Our company donated over 500,000 pounds of recycled rubber to build athletic fields in Iraq.
"We hope to bring that grassroots effort to NASCAR, and we hope to help the overall outside view of the sport merge into one that actually can be green."
"We're a team that is built on family, our word, and our sustainability in the sport of stock car racing," Tracy Lowe, MAKE Motorsports co-owner and one of the only female team owners in NASCAR, said. "As a mom, I like to do whatever I can to help give my children a better planet someday.
"Teaming with Liberty Tire Recycling is perfect—spreading that message of sustainability through our daily working lives in NASCAR. Who would have thought? I can't wait to see what the true impact will be in the sport."
Mark Beaver, MAKE Motorsports team co-owner, also praises Liberty Tire Racing.
"The guys at Liberty Tire Recycling have grown with quiet strength and domination," Beaver said, "moving from a family company of a few, to now transforming 110 million tires a year into recycled raw materials that change our lives in a sustainable way.
“It's rare that you step on an outdoor rubber surface, mat or other rubber material, without it being from Liberty. I'm excited to see that GREEN Chevy Silverado get on the track, to help them gain more exposure for that great GREEN message."
While the team owners and new sponsor are ready to race at Darlington, there is no one more excited to get back behind the wheel of a race truck than driver TJ Bell.
“We’re going to Darlington and see if we can tame that girl,” Bell said. “We got Liberty Tire Center on board and it’s pretty unbelievable what they do with tires.”
Bell shared that he visited his sponsor’s plant in Concord, North Carolina, and was amazed to see what the company did with old tires from the land fill and also race tires, using them for coal and other fuel.
“It burns the same way as coal and we’re getting rid of all these tires instead of burying them,” Bell said. “They’re really recycling a bunch of stuff and making it better for everybody.
“It’s a win, win for everybody—the sport, MAKES Motorsports and the biggest gain is for the environment.”
Bell said that the sponsorship with Liberty Tire Recycling was a one race deal, at least for now. He said it was especially important for the company to be at Darlington as that was a major market for them.
“We’re hopefully going to wow them,” Bell said. “We want to keep the truck in one piece and see the checkered flag. And hopefully, if that all works out and everything’s good, they’ll sign on for some more.”
While Bell is looking forward to the upcoming race, he admits that this will be his inaugural run at the “Lady in Black.”
“I haven’t raced there,” Bell said. “I’m going to spend a lot of time on my simulator. There’s been a lot of places that I don’t know why or what, but the first time I walk in, I think that looks fun. Darlington looks like a place that is a lot of fun.
“I’m pretty excited about it to be honest. I know a lot of people are scared of the ‘Darlington stripe’ but I love running right up against the fence. A lot of best finishes have been at race tracks where you run really hard and a lot of people are afraid of them.
“I think that’s the greatest challenge but the best part about it. I just really look forward to getting back to racing. I’m going to go into it with the mindset that I’m going to have a good time because normally when I have the best time, usually a lot of good things come of it.”
Bell will make his "green" debut in the No. 50 Liberty Tire Recycling MAKE Motorsports Chevy race truck at the Darlington Raceway in the Too Tough to Tame 200.
The race will run under the lights on Saturday, August 14 at 7:00 PM ET and will be broadcast on SPEED.