In the hustle and bustle of SEMA last week we missed the announcement that Shelby Automobiles will be sponsoring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motorspeedway in March. The race will actually be lengthened to 427 miles and will be called the 'Shelby 427'. We think it would be more historically appropriate for Shelby to sponsor a road racing event, but the company's proximity to the race track and the better marketing reach make NASCAR a logical choice.

In conjunction with the sponsorship, Shelby will be offering a 427 package for the GT500. Hoping for a 427ci engine conversion? So were we, but prepare to be disappointed. The 427 package will be a simple badge job and will include "Mr. Shelby's personal autograph as well as many other event-related add-ons." Those who purchase the package will also receive race tickets and the possibility to serve as the race's honorary starter. Full details on the race and the 427 upgrade package are in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Shelby]

PRESS RELEASE:

LAS VEGAS – The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 1, 2009 will be sponsored by Shelby Automobiles. The event will be lengthened to 427 miles and will be called the "Shelby 427."

Together, LVMS and Shelby will market a Las Vegas Motor Speedway Limited Edition Shelby 427 package for the Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang.

LVMS President Chris Powell and Shelby Automobiles founder Carroll Shelby made the announcement today at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.

"We are ecstatic to have the legendary Shelby name on our 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup race," Powell said. "It's a tremendous opportunity for us to give added exposure to the Shelby brand that has, over the years, become synonymous with the best in high-performance cars."

Bruton Smith, founder and CEO of LVMS parent company Speedway Motorsports, and Carroll Shelby have been friends for many years.

"We are thrilled to combine the efforts of our two companies in this sponsorship," Smith said. "Carroll and his team have long been known for the high quality of their work and the tremendous popularity of their cars."

Carroll Shelby has driven and designed race and sports cars for more than 50 years. His company, Shelby Automobiles, located its manufacturing facility at the speedway complex as the anchor tenant in 1998. The company uses the oval and road courses for its research and development. This is the first time Shelby Automobiles has sponsored a NASCAR event.

"The Shelby name will be forever linked to racing because of our unrivaled success in competition over the years," said Amy Boylan, president of Shelby Automobiles. "The Ford Shelby Mustang programs have allowed us to begin exploring motorsports options again. While we determine the series best suited to our products, we wanted to raise our profile in the racing community, and the NASCAR race next to our campus presented the ideal opportunity. Shelby was the first small American sports car and muscle car manufacturer to win world championships, and now we're the first to sponsor a NASCAR race."

"We're thrilled to have our name on the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Shelby 427," Carroll Shelby said. "From drag racing to Formula 1, I've been involved in just about every type of motor racing except NASCAR. I love the competition, passion and excitement of the fans and teams in NASCAR. We're offering real enthusiasts an opportunity to be part of something really special through this program."

Since its inception in 1998, the Sprint Cup race at LVMS has been run at a length of 400.5 miles, which is 267 laps around the 1.5-mile oval. In order to accommodate the new event name, the race will be increased by 27 miles and will feature 285 laps.

As part of the one-year race sponsorship, Shelby Automobiles will market a Las Vegas Motor Speedway Limited Edition Shelby 427 package for the Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. Owners of 2007 and 2008 Shelby GT500s with the post title Super Snake package on their muscle car can purchase the limited edition "pace car" upgrade on a first-come, first-served basis by emailing shelby427@lvms.com. Shelby enthusiasts may have their names added to a waiting list for the package by emailing shelbywaitinglist@lvms.com. The upgraded package will include Mr. Shelby's personal autograph as well as many other event-related add-ons. Only 427 of these packages will be available through Shelby Automobiles.

Those who purchase a Shelby 427 package will also receive special race tickets and other amenities, including the opportunity to serve as the race's honorary starter.