A quintet of NASCAR stock cars are among the vehicles set to display at the inaugural Firle Beacon. The motorsport festival will take place at the Firle Place manor in East Sussex on 30/31 July.
As NASCAR progresses through generations of cars, older vehicles are typically sold off and used in lower series or vintage race. Others restore them for non-competitive events like track days or demonstrations. The five cars that will be driven at Firle Beacon are restorations of those that competed in the Cup and now-Xfinity Series in the late 2000s. All five have also participated in other European demos, particularly the American SpeedFest at Brands Hatch that also hosts the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Perhaps the most notable car is Carl Edwards‘ #99 Aflac Ford Fusion that he drove for now-RFK Racing, which Simon Chalkly will pilot at Firle. The only Ford of the five, #99 won four Cup races with Edwards behind the wheel.
Three Chevrolet Impalas will appear in the form of Mark Martin‘s #8 Steak-umm, Danica Patrick‘s #7 GoDaddy, and Ward Burton‘s #4 State Water Heaters machine. Each will be respectively driven by Robin Stephens, Phillip Sherwin, and Paul Yorkshire. During his stint with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the #8 appeared on Martin’s car for two races in 2008 and he scored top tens in both. Patrick’s #7 saw Xfinity Series action from 2010 to 2012 for JR Motorsports (owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose family ran DEI) with a tenth-place points finish in its lone full schedule in 2012. Burton attempted the entire 2007 Cup Series for Morgan-McClure Motorsports in the #4 but the team struggled to make races and recorded a best finish of fourteenth.
Ross Pannell‘s #43 Cheerios Dodge Avenger was driven by Bobby Labonte as the Cup Series transitioned to the Car of Tomorrow. Labonte was with Petty Enterprises in the legendary #43 from 2006 to 2008, scoring a best points finish of eighteenth in his final year.
“We are honoured and excited to be part of this new motorsport event in Sussex,” reads a statement from American SpeedFest organiser UK NASCAR. “It is great to have the opportunity to give the spectators an insight to the noise, smell and extravagant liveries of some of the NASCARs in our collection.
“We look forward to giving the public a taste of real American NASCAR thunder at Firle.”
Most of the vehicles expected to appear at Firle are rally cars, including a collection of those driven by the late Russell Brookes and Colin McRae‘s 1997 World Rally Championship-winning Subaru Impreza.
“We are thrilled that these NASCAR legends will be joining us for the inaugural Firle Beacon this summer,” said organiser Henry Gage. “We hope to welcome even more in the future.”