Lester to attempt Cup start

UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Houston-based Waste Management, an exclusive NASCAR sponsor, announced today that it has partnered with Bill Lester as he attempts to become the first African-American driver in 20 years to qualify for a NASCAR Cup Series race, according to SportsBusiness Journal’s Scott Warfield. Lester, a Craftsman Truck Series driver, will be piloting the No. 23 Waste Management car for Bill Davis Racing in the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. In addition to AMS, Lester’s Waste Management Team is scheduled to compete in Cup races at Michigan International Speedway in June and California Speedway in September. Lester’s No. 23 will also be supported by Precision Tune Auto Care, SponsorTRAK.com, Valvoline Lubricants, AJCars.com and Race Day on Fox Sports Radio. Atlanta-based Championship Group handles program management and business development for Waste Management. THE DAILY 03/14/06 Lester will attempt to qualify for Sunday's Nextel Cup Golden Corral 500 in a Bill Davis Racing car sponsored by Waste Management. At stake is a chance to become the first African-American in NASCAR's premier series since Willy T. Ribbs finished 37th at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 1986. Despite huge growth in attendance and TV ratings the last two decades, NASCAR has lagged in attracting minority fans and competitors. Waste Management will sponsor him in Cup races at Michigan on June 18 and at California Speedway on Sept. 3. Lester said there's an option for more races. He will be one of an expected 17 drivers vying for eight unprotected spots in the 43-car field at Atlanta. USA Today

03/12/06 Bill Lester is expected to announce at a Tuesday news conference that he'll attempt to make the Cup race next weekend at Atlanta in a Bill Davis Racing car. If Lester makes the race, he would become the first African-American to compete in a Cup race since Willy T. Ribbs in 1986. Roanoke Times

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