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NASCAR's All-Star Cook

22 September 1997

Ken Enck: NASCAR's All-Star Cook

   Mooresville, N.C. -- Ken Enck spends Monday through Thursday each 
week supervising the 38 full-time employees of his catering service in 
Manheim, Pa.  But, Thursday night after he finishes the paperwork and 
makes sure his lieutenants understand their weekend duties,  Enck 
cranks the engine of his new motorcoach and he and a couple of buddies 
head to the races.

   Enck's 40-foot motorcoach's freezer carries frozen ribs, chicken, 
and fruit, plus all kinds of desserts sure to tempt even the most 
conscientious dieters. But, Enck and his buddies aren't headed to the 
infield to party and watch the cars race around.  Instead, the former 
fast food chain executive spends his spare time working as the 
Pennzoil team's official cook at 23 of the 32 NASCAR Winston Cup 

   "This is something I do for fun and it's a chance to be around the 
racing people," said the mustachioed Enck, whose boyish looks make him 
appear years younger than his 52 years of age. "I've become friends 
with a lot of these people. I don't make any money at this, but I 
wouldn't trade my experience for the world."

   After selling the restaurant he owned for 13  years, Enck went into 
the catering business. Since 1993, Enck's Custom Catering grew from 
four employees to 38.  On this Friday afternoon as he prepared his 
special lemon chicken dish for about 15 crew members and guests, Enck 
talked about his business.

   "You'd laugh if I told you what I have going on tomorrow in 
Pennsylvania.  We have eight events, including four weddings and a 
corporate dinner with over 2,000 people and I'm here grilling out for 
the team at the race track," he laughed.

   Enck always liked fast cars, but never devoted much time to NASCAR 
until a group of fans asked to meet in his restaurant each Sunday to 
watch the race on a big-screen television in the dining room.

   "Their enthusiasm was contagious and I got hooked," Enck said. "I 
went to Pocono with a local race club and got to talking with some of 
the folks there.  To make a long story short, I started doing 
hospitality at Pocono and got to know some of the people in the 

   Enck enjoyed the camaraderie of racing so much he asked Ray and 
Diane DeWitt if he could help them as a weekend mechanic with driver 
Jimmy Hensley.  He ran errands, carried tires, washed the windshield, 
and anything else the team needed.                                   
   It didn't take long for the DeWitt crew members to learn of Enck's 
skills with a charcoal grill. Soon the DeWitt team drew the attention 
of everyone in the garage with some of their special lunches and 

   Enck's popularity grew and after the DeWitt team left the sport he 
went to cook for Cale Yarborough Motorsports and Bud Moore 
Engineering. In 1997, he began working for Bahari' Racing.

   "It is so nice not to have to worry about lunch every day at the 
track because Ken is always going to serve us something that taste 
pretty good and is nutritious," said Bahari' owner Chuck Rider. "It's 
a lot more convenient than going to the concession stand. Plus, we 
sure are a lot more popular in the garage area with everyone coming 
over to eat."

   Enck also uses his weekends to entertain some of his friends and 
workers. Not many people can walk into a Winston Cup garage and have 
Pennzoil Pontiac driver Johnny Benson and other drivers greet them on 
a first-name basis. Enck says he isn't  in the sport for the money, 
nor is it a chance to spend more time with the family.  His  son 
Kenny, 15, who also races quarter-midgets, and daughter Kimberly, 13, 
sometimes accompany their father to the track. 

   "My wife Karen isn't much of a race fan. In fact, she has only come 
to two races. She would rather go on cruises with the girls from the 
church and I would rather go to races so it all works out," Enck said.

   It's not all work for Enck. Part of the price of accompanying him 
to the track is that  visitors help drive the motorcoach so the boss 
arrives refreshed at the track or at home after a race. And these 
aren't just one and two-hour trips Enck makes to races. This year he 
plans to log more than 30,000 miles on the motorcoach that some say is 
as nice as those owned by the race drivers. 

   "We have a good time and I have been fortunate in life," Enck said. 
"I hope I can keep doing this for a while, because I love the people 
and its fun."

   Until then, Enck will keep feeding the Bahari team and anyone else 
who happens to drop by for a meal.

   "Dale Earnhardt came by and had some of my ribs before Charlotte a 
few years ago and he won the race," Enck said. "I've taken a ribbing 
for that ever since."      

For More Information
Contact: Drew Brown
Cohn & Wolfe
(404) 880-5269