With just a few weeks remaining until the Sprint Cup Series season gets under way, Sprint unveiled its 2011 Miss Sprint Cup lineup Wednesday night in Charlotte, N.C.
Returning Miss Sprint Cup representatives Paige Duke and Monica Palumbo were joined by newcomer Kim Coon. The trio was introduced to a crowd of race fans and motorsports media at the popular Whisky River nightclub.
In addition to making appearances at charity events and NASCAR sponsors' functions, the representatives serve as the "fans' friend on the inside," offering behind-the-scenes access through regular video, photo and text updates to their more than 300,000 social media followers (Twitter, Facebook and the NASCAR.COM "Community" page).
The Miss Sprint Cup lineup also greets thousands of race fans each weekend at the Sprint Experience, the mobile marketing display Sprint brings to every Cup Series event. There they talk with fans about the latest Sprint products and offerings and help emcee the weekend's various contests and giveaways. On the Sprint Experience stage, they also interview the sport's top drivers and personalities, as well as celebrities from music, television and film.
With a personality steeped in down-home charm, Duke is a self-proclaimed "country girl" who loves hunting, barrel racing, horse riding, deep sea fishing and, of course, country music. Born and raised in Lancaster, S.C., Duke graduated magna cum laude from Clemson University and remains a diehard Tigers fan.
"Being Miss Sprint Cup has been an amazing experience," Duke said. "I've enjoyed seeing different parts of America and meeting the diehard race fans who support the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I'm really looking forward to being a part of this amazing sport and representing Sprint at the track for another year."
Palumbo is a Charlotte native who attended East Carolina University. The consummate "girl next door," she's been recognized by The Sporting News as one of "NASCAR's 50 Most Beautiful People." Her TV work includes a guest host spot on "Live with Regis and Kelly" and a regular weekly segment on "NASCAR Race Hub" on SPEED.
"When they asked me back for my fourth season, I was ecstatic," Palumbo said. "I'm fortunate that I get paid to basically have fun and interact with wonderful people while representing a great organization like Sprint. If you love what you're doing, it's hard to call it work. I'm blessed to say that I definitely love what I do."
Coon was pulled from the world of corporate marketing to join the Miss Sprint Cup lineup. Born and raised in Orlando, Fla., Coon received her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and a master's degree from the University of Alabama. Always on the go, she's balanced a career in marketing and PR with her role as an NFL cheerleader and a volunteer with the Susan G. Komen For the Cure campaign.
"I'm just ready to get down to Daytona and get the season going," Coon said. "Monica and Paige have already taught me a lot, but I know I've got a lot more to learn. I'm looking forward to seeing all the different tracks, experiencing my first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Victory Lane, and especially getting to say hello to all the fans."
The unveiling was hosted by Daryl Motte, emcee of the Sprint Experience, who treated fans to an evening of contests similar to what they can experience when they visit the mobile display. As he does each race weekend, Motte engaged fans in dance contests and challenged them to post the fastest time in a tire-changing competition. In addition to prizes for the winners of those events, Sprint gave each of the first 200 fans through the doors of the club that evening a pair of ticket vouchers for the May 21 Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
After the lineup was revealed, Duke, Palumbo and Coon met with the media and signed autographs for fans in attendance.