MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The country roads of West Virginia are leading Martinsburg native Christian Rose to Las Vegas this week for his debut in the Automobile Racing Club of America’s (ARCA) Menard’s Series West.
Christian Rose Racing, LLC announced recently that it partnered with the West Virginia Department of Tourism where Rose’s No. 42 hot-rod with Cook Racing Technologies will feature West Virginia paint for the race on Thursday at the Bull Ring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Rose, 26, told MetroNews there is great pride in having a West Virginia-sponsored car.
“There’s a lot of pride in being from the state of West Virginia. Having them on the race car is a huge opportunity for us. It means the world to be able to represent the state in any fashion we can,” he said.
Rose said the scheme will be used in numerous races on the West Coast this fall and he hopes to continue the partnership into the 2022 season. The car is two shades of blue and black, with West Virginia on the hood with the New River Gorge Bridge. On the bumper is wvtourism.com with “Almost Heaven” in cursive writing on the sides.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to promote Almost Heaven, West Virginia,” said Chelsea Ruby, Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Tourism in a statement. “As a native West Virginian who is always on the road, Christian presents a unique opportunity to promote West Virginia as a leading travel and tourism destination both on and off the speedway.”
Rose called his journey to this point in his racing career ‘a dream.’ He said he grew up a NASCAR fan, watching the Cup series and cheering for Jeff Gordon. He said one summer as a teenager he met current NASCAR driver/owner BJ McLeod at Daytona International Speedway and asked about getting involved.
Rose played collegiate baseball at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and had to put his racing interest in the rearview mirror until graduation in 2018. Rose said he reached back out to McLeod and he got his chance. McLeod let him get behind the wheel of a race car in 2018 during a test session. Rose said he impressed everyone there, despite never being behind the wheel of a race car before.
Rose ran his first test race in December 2018 before making his late model debut on January 5, 2019, where he finished 15th out of 24 at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida.
“My journey in racing has been a bit different. Most of these other drivers have been at this since they were kids,” said Rose. “The last few years have been a great ride and I’m excited to take the next step in my career by racing in the ARCA Menard’s Series.”
Rose signed with Cook Racing Technologies (CRT), owned by Bruce Cook, in 2020 and has since raced late model cars up and down the East Coast with the Mooresville, NC-based race team. Most recently, Rose ran a top ten finish at Orange County Speedway in Florida on August 14.
Rose said the goal is to be in the NASCAR Cup Series, something he still follows every weekend and a series that will also be in Las Vegas this weekend. Rose said his favorite racer following Gordon’s retirement is Kyle Larson
“Anybody that is in the sport and that doesn’t have the dream of being in the Cup series, I have always said you should not be doing it. If you don’t aim for the top, what is the point of doing it. Cup series is the goal. Five or six years down the road, hopefully shorter. Cup series champion is the goal of it all.”
Rose will race alongside CRT teammate Amber Slagle in the Star Nursery 150 at 11:30 p.m. EST on Thursday. The race will be live-streamed through TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and will be re-aired on September 30th at 5 p.m. EST on NBCSN.
He said the partnership with West Virginia Tourism will draw many eyeballs to his team and the Mountain State.
“There are so many people in the racing world that enjoy hunting, fishing and getting outdoors. There’s not a better state in the country that provides that opportunity more than West Virginia. That’s our message and what we’re trying to share with West Virginia Tourism. The bigger the reach, the more people we get to will be nothing but great things for the state,” Rose said.
Rose has also partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle, talking about the Triple Play initiative for young athletes. Fans can text RACING to 26989 to give to the Boys and Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle.