Like some modern-day town crier, the sign above the door at Mountain Road Auto Parts Inc. tells the latest news from the stock car circuit.
This week's notice? Ward Burton won the AC Delco 400.
"We have to do this," said shop manager Judy Musto, who changes the sign every Monday morning. "If we don't, they get real mad."
Last week, customers and passing motorists learned that Mark Martin had won the UAW-GM 500 in Charlotte, N.C. Monday, Mrs. Musto will post the winner of the Slick 50 500K in Phoenix, Ariz.
The sign in the 8000 block of Jumpers Hole Road is a welcome sight for many. "It's great," said Joey Gribble, 30, of Pasadena, who bought an ignition switch yesterday for his 1984 Dodge pickup. "I see it every time I go by, and I'm always reading it."
The idea for the sign was born in February 1994, when a customer walked into the shop and bragged about a driver winning a race, Mrs. Musto said. The shop owner's father, Chuck Tavik, heard the boast and suggested that his son, Bruce, put up a sign announcing the winners of NASCAR races, she said. The next month, a tradition was born.
"We thought it was a good idea," Mrs. Musto said. "We have a lot of people who are interested in NASCAR. So we started to put them up there each week to keep them informed."
Mrs. Musto's husband, Jim, who also works in the store, said xTC business has increased about 5 percent because of the sign. The sign also has helped make the shop a place where customers can engage in strenuous but friendly debates about who is the best NASCAR driver.
"Nothing gets out of hand," Mr. Musto said. "People who are interested in NASCAR bring a lot of conversation into here. They just come up to the counter to talk and tease."
Randy Miller, 45, a CSX brake man from Baltimore, said he looks forward to reading the sign because the local news media don't cover the NASCAR circuit to his satisfaction.
"Only one local news broadcaster mentions the winners and the races," said Mr. Miller, who roots for Dale Earnhardt, a seven-time Winston Cup champion. "You only hear of the Indy and Daytona 500. Other than that, they don't know the races exist."
The shop will move next month to a site near the Arundel Seafood Center at Solley and Mountain roads. And the sign will have a new home.