HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 25, 2021) – Michael McDowell captured the 2021 NASCAR season-opener on February 14 in grand fashion, taking the checkered flag in the coveted DAYTONA 500 at the venerable Daytona International Speedway. With no NASCAR Cup Series wins in his 14 seasons and 357 starts entering the race, the 36-year old McDowell became the DAYTONA 500 champion as a huge underdog. His rise to the top of the NASCAR world required a great deal of patience and perseverance. It’s those same traits that recently attracted Armando Christian Perez – better known across the world as Pitbull – into the world of NASCAR as a team owner.
In January, the Grammy-award winning musical artist and Miami native became a part-owner of first-year team, Trackhouse Racing. This weekend, Pitbull will be making his first trip to his home track as a team owner, as Homestead-Miami Speedway hosts the NASCAR Xfinity Series Contender Boats 250 on Saturday (4:30 pm, FS1/ MRN-Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90), to be followed by the Dixie Vodka 400 on Sunday (3:30 pm, FOX/ MRN-Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90). Daniel Suárez will be piloting the No. 99 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Trackhouse Racing in Sunday’s premier series race.
Along with former NASCAR driver Justin Marks, Pitbull, also known as “Mr. 305” and “Mr. Worldwide,” is hoping to propel the team to the same success that he has had in his esteemed musical career.
“What I love about NASCAR is the ultimate underdog story. I’m your ultimate underdog,” said Perez, a Miami native. “When you’re an underdog, you’ve got a chip on your shoulder. You’re a fighter, you’re a champion, and you welcome failure. What I mean by that, failure becomes the mother of your success. I tell people all the time there’s no losing, only learning; no failure, only opportunities; no problems, just solutions.”
Pitbull’s success has not been limited to his music. Having grown up in Miami and attended Coral Park High School, he understood the need to improve the path to victory for Miami’s youth. In 2013 he opened the first SLAM Academy in the heart of Little Havana, a tuition-free public charter middle and high school. Sports Leadership and Management now operates nationwide, including Atlanta and Las Vegas. Starting that school was done from the heart, similar to his venture into NASCAR team ownership.
Photos courtesy of Trackhouse Racing
“Getting involved in the team, this is deeper than sponsorships, this is a movement,” Perez said “This is a revolution; taking a sport and creating a culture because when we first opened SLAM, we had brought a NASCAR car to SLAM the first day eight years ago. If you would have seen the look on those kids’ faces when they saw that car, they just had no clue that it was actually something that was tangible.”
Through his team ownership, involvement with SLAM and his music, Pitbull hopes to create unity in his space. For many years, NASCAR has been known to bring generations of families together, forging memories that last a lifetime. It’s a primary goal of his and something he feels that is well within reach.
“It goes to show you through inspiring, no matter what, we’re always going to find a way to bring people together,’ Perez said. “That’s what I’m all about. As you can see in these times we’re living in right now, the most important thing is to let everybody know out there there’s only one most important race, it’s the human race. It was these races are about at this point, bringing the sport, creating the culture, letting everybody out there know through the races, through the cars, through our stories, we just want everybody out there to enjoy and we’re going to utilize it as a form of uniting everybody out there.”
Only a limited number of premium seating is available for the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami, as socially-distanced grandstand availabilities have reached capacity. Premium options to purchase for the NASCAR Cup Series race are in the following areas:
Champions Club – An enclosed, air-conditioned area complete with upscale food and beverage offerings. The most popular premium seating area on property, access comes with reserved outdoor chairback seating. Sits high atop Turn 1 with one of the most breathtaking views in all of NASCAR.
GEICO RV Parking – Fans with RVs have the opportunity to be either inside or outside the 1.5-mile venue. As part of GEICO Grounds Turn 2, reserved spots are complete with water and electrical hookups, while on the outside of the track there are two RV parks, one reserved and the other non-reserved.
For information on how to purchase the above, fans can visit https://www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com/upgrades or call 866-409-RACE (7223).
Grandstand tickets are still available for the Contender Boats 250 on Saturday with many great seating options, including the “Family 4-Pack.” This special $80 offer includes 2 adult tickets, 2 kids tickets (12 and younger), and 2 Racing Electronics scanner rentals to get the inside track of all the action on the track. A number of premium seating options are also available for Saturday’s race. Individual adult tickets start at just $30 with kids 12 and under free for the Contender Boats 250 with the purchase of an adult ticket.
Homestead-Miami Speedway will host a limited number of fans for both events. Fans seeking ticket options, as well as learning all safety protocol guidelines for the weekend, can visit www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com or call 866-409-RACE (7223).
About Homestead-Miami Speedway
Homestead-Miami Speedway has been open since 1995 following an initiative to spur economic recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. The Speedway, which was founded by Miami businessman, racing enthusiast and philanthropist Ralph Sanchez, is a 650-acre facility that features a 1.5-mile oval and 2.21-mile road course. The Speedway hosts on-track events nearly 300 days per year and generates more than $301 million annually for the region. NASCAR crowned champions in all three of its national series at Homestead-Miami Speedway for 18 straight years (2002-19). In 2021, the Dixie Vodka 400 moves to the third race of the NASCAR Cup season on Sunday, Feb. 28, following two weekends of action at Daytona International Speedway.
About Dixie Vodka
Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Dixie Vodka is the largest premium craft vodka produced in the Southeast and the 9th fastest growing spirit brand in the United States as ranked in 2019 by the Beverage Information Group. Since launch in 2014, Dixie has been one of the most awarded vodkas in the United States, including Dixie Black Pepper being awarded the top flavored vodka in the world at the globally recognized San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2019. In addition to its core Southern Vodka, 6x distilled from All-American corn and naturally gluten free, Dixie has five authentically southern flavors, all using regionally sourced ingredients grown by local farmers. Committed to responsible stewardship of the land, Dixie is a proud member of 1% for the Planet, as well as a certified South Carolina product. Dixie is owned by Grain & Barrel Spirits, an innovative spirits producer and a member of the Inc. 5000, the definitive list of the fastest growing privately held companies in the United States. Grain & Barrel also owns pre-prohibition favorite Chicken Cock Whiskey and The Endless Summer Spirits Company.
About Contender Boats
Contender Boats is a Homestead-based premium boat manufacturer. For more than 35 years, Contender has built hand-laid fiberglass hulls that ride like no other. Built for performance. Built to fish. Models are available from 25 to 44 feet. Contender boats have a legacy of exploring the open oceans of the world. From the marlin rich waters of the Caribbean islands to up and down the eastern seaboard and far beyond, you’ll find Contender Boats “Always In the Game.” https://contenderboats.com/Contender Boats Inc) @contenderboatsofficial