Published: May 4, 2004

    Once again, Alabama residents will have the opportunity to purchase colorful specialty license plates to support their favorite stock car drivers in a joint arrangement with the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, Race Plates, Inc, and the State of Alabama.

     And this time they will also be helping a state commission much in need of new funding.  The International Motorsports Hall of Fame has lost all state funding because of the failed tax referendum, and is looking at this program to make up for the lost revenue.

     These distinctive plates may be ordered now at Dept of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices around the state where regular purchases of license tags occur.  Eighteen current stars of the Nextel Cup Series are available to choose from.  They include Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Bill Elliott, Ryan Newman, Michael Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Jeremy Mayfield, Tony Stewart, Ricky Rudd, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon, Kyle Petty, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jarrett, Kurt Busch and Jeff Burton.

     Two other plates, which should prove very popular, are also available.   Since this program was initiated in 2000, prior to the fatal accident that claimed Dale Earnhardt’s life, his estate has chosen to continue this program, so a Race Plate is available for him as well.  Also, there is a plate for the Alabama Gang, with Alabama as the only state that is authorized to offer this special tag.

     The current campaign is actually the second time that the International Motorsports Hall of Fame has launched this campaign.  In 2001-2002, a ruling from the Attorney General’s office that a minimum of 1,000 tags per driver had to be pre-sold made it an impossible task.  Since then, the problem has been resolved, and the minimum required to be pre-sold is now a total of 1,000 plates.

     “That will make off of the difference in the world,” said Jim Freeman, the Executive Director of IMHOF.  “Thanks to the efforts of our commission chairman, State Sen. Gerald Dial, we should reach our minimum in a hurry this time.”

     Freeman said that individuals wishing to purchase the Race Plates as their official license plate should go to the DMV office where they normally get their tags, and ask for a “Commitment to Purchase” form, and pay the standard $50 up-charge required for any specialty plate.

     Freeman had a word of warning, however.  “Our first attempt two years ago was given the computer code name of Race Plates, and assigned number 42.  That category is still on the books, but is listed as inactive,” he said.  “Tell the clerk that you want one of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame tags.  That is the new file name, and it is number #67.  Doing this will, hopefully, avoid any confusion,” noted Freeman.

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