The Whispering Pines Fire Department received a lot of exposure last Saturday.
Race driver Carl Spear, No. 6 in the national standings, had his car decorated with the Whispering Pines Fire Department name. Sponsors normally pay racecar owners to have their logos listed on their cars.
Whispering Pines Fire Chief Mark Essary said that Spear, who is a friend of his, offered to put the name of the volunteer fire department on his car for the NHRA Checker Schuck's Kragen drag racing nationals held this past Saturday at Firebird International Speedway in Chandler.
"(Spear) pretty much did it on his own as a surprise to us," the fire chief said.
He said his friend told him he was thinking about putting the name of the volunteer fire department on his car for the event that was televised on ESPN and broadcast on the Web.
Essary was surprised when his friend actually went through with the offer.
"He said he wanted to do it to give us some recognition," Essary said.
Spear races all over the nation and has three cars.
On Saturday, the speedway was packed with hundreds of racecars, and Essary believes the Whispering Pines vehicle could attract more tourists to the Rim Country.
Spear's vehicle was announced to the crowd as the car representing the Whispering Pines Fire Department, near Payson.
Essary said not all of the firefighters have seen the racecar yet, but the ones who have thought it was "pretty cool."
This Saturday in a division race, Spear's car will once again have Whispering Pines Volunteer Fire Department painted on his car.