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2009 Whelen Rookie of the Year Will Drive for Continental Tire Sports Car Championship Team
(Daytona Beach, FL) -- Sloan Henderson is used to breaking records, as well as stereotypes. A top competitor in NASCAR's Whelen Late Model series in Ohio, she's on a racing fast-track and has her sights set on the top-level of motorsports competition in America.
Today, the NASCAR Whelen 2009 Ohio Rookie of the Year will take to the track to test in a very different kind of car than the Legends and stock cars she's piloted over the past five years. She'll be behind the wheel of a bright orange Honda Civic Si fielded by 2010 Continental Tire Sports Car Champions, Compass360 Racing.
"NASCAR's had their eye on Sloan for the past few years," explained C360R Team Principal Karl Thomson. "She's got amazing raw talent, having progressed to Whelen in a few short years. She's also got tremendous marketability, and has the potential for a bright future in motorsports. This test is chance for her to drive a very different kind of car at a very different venue."
Indeed, this test marks the first time 18-year-old Henderson will be turning right, as well as left. "I've spent my racing career on ovals, and I'm really excited about the opportunity to drive the road course at Daytona this weekend," enthused Sloan. "This is a big step for me as a driver, and I'm so thankful for the chance that NASCAR and Continental Tire have given me to drive in Grand-Am. My goal this weekend is to learn as much as I can from the team and team-mates, and to simply get better every session!"
Henderson began her racing career at age twelve, after a riding accident on her horse broke her jaw. Her father wanted to have her compete in a safer environment, and they began in Quarter Midgets in 2004. She moved into Bandoleros and Legends, finishing third in National Points in the Bando in 2006, and placing sixth nationally in Legends in 2008.
2009 marked a break-out season for Sloan, where she was the only female to set fast time, win a heat race, get four podium finishes, six top five and eighteen top ten finishes, a feat which netted her Whelen Rookie of the Year for Ohio. She built on that success in Late Models throughout 2010, taking her sixth win at the Kil-Kare-Robbie Dean Memorial 94 Lap race.
"We're exited to give Sloan the chance to see what Grand-Am racing is all about," noted Thomson. "The Grand-Am series (which include the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge) are an important part of the NASCAR family. We're hoping more up-and-coming racing stars like Sloan will become interested in sports car racing, and become a part of our paddock."
Henderson will share the #76 Compass360 Racing Honda with team hot-shoe Ryan Eversley. "It's so exciting to have the chance to work with Sloan to introduce her to our kind of racing. Grand-Am offers young drivers a great place to grow and become true professionals. The racing is very, very close and provides fans and drivers alike a lot of excitement!"
Compass360 Racing, which runs a four-car team in Continental, has won the Street Tuner championship two years in a row (2009 and 2010) with their orange Civics. They've won the Manufacturer title for Honda three out of the past four seasons, and are one of the most established Street Tuner teams, having started full-time in the Grand-Am paddock in 2004.
Sloan Henderson's three-day test at Daytona is part of the the "Roar Before the 24," an intensive weekend during which the teams and drivers prepare for the first race of the 2011 Grand-Am season as part of the Rolex 24 Hour event, which takes place on January 27th-30th at Daytona International Speedway.