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Thursday, October 4

Town approves sponsored police cars
Associated Press

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- NASCAR teams might soon be sponsoring police cars in this town known as "Race City, USA."

The town board has approved the concept of NASCAR sponsors donating squad cars and having their names affixed.

Mooresville has over 40 NASCAR teams, more than any other town in the country. Top drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rusty Wallace, Ricky Rudd, Steve Park and Sterling Marlin have shops in town.

Now it's up to NASCAR to sign off on it. Police Chief John Crone said he doesn't know of another program like it.

"It's a pretty daring adventure, I would say, and anytime you try something new, you are open to ridicule," he said. "But we think this is going to be a real savings to taxpayers and a real boost to morale."

The police department wants racing team sponsors to donate the patrol cars, which can each cost as much as $30,000. The idea is to give each officer a car without the town spending any more money. In return for the donation, the cruisers would carry the sponsor's name and the team number -- just like race cars.

Ray Monroe, who has worked in sports and NASCAR marketing for years, said he thinks race fans would travel miles just to see the mocked-up police cars.

"It will be exactly like a race car, except it will say `police' on the side and hood and have the lights on top," he said. "It will be a tremendous boost for Mooresville."

The town board approved the measure on Monday.

The police department is hoping for 25 donated cars. The first could be on the road a few months after NASCAR approval.

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