THOMASVILLE — Deborah Chastain enters NASCAR contests all the time.

Persistence finally paid off for the Thomasville resident.

Chastain was the winner of a design contest, coordinated by Jeff Gordon and Pepsi, who allowed NASCAR fans the opportunity to design their own paint scheme for Gordon’s No. 24 car which will race in the UAW-Ford 500 in Talladega, Ala. on Sunday.

“You can’t imagine how exciting this is for a fan,” Chastain said in a press release. “I would especially like to thank Pepsi and Jeff Gordon for allowing fans the opportunity to participate in this contest. I really enjoyed picking out the colors, designing the paint scheme and adding my version of Jeff’s flames to the car.

“I never dreamed that I would eventually see Jeff Gordon getting behind the wheel of something I had a hand in designing.”

Chastain, a Mark Martin fan, said her design wasn’t difficult to come up with.

“Pepsi provided a template,” Chastain said. “The car has to have the Pepsi logo and the other logos have to stay on the car where they are now. You can’t move the logos. You can go out to the Pepsi website and pull that design site up.

“The car was there and you can take the decals off and then you can pick the colors and you could mix them or you could just put designs on the car.

“Then you would put the decals back on, and then you would submit whatever design you liked to the contest.”

Chastain’s design was one of five finalists chosen by NASCAR artist Sam Bass. Gordon made the final decision.

“This was a really fun program, not only for the fans, but for me, too,” Gordon said in a press release. “It was a unique opportunity and one that allowed the fans to get even closer to the racing experience. I want to congratulate Deborah for standing out in the crowd.

“I will do my best to drive that No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet to Victory Lane at Talladega.”

Chastain and a guest have VIP passes to the this weekend’s race and will meet Gordon before the race.

“It’s great for the fans, it’s fantastic,” Chastain said.

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