AAA previews NEXTEL Cup Series #6 Ford Fusion

AAA Previews NEXTEL Cup Series ...

AAA Previews NEXTEL Cup Series #6 Ford Fusion; Legendary Driver Mark Martin Featured in Teen Driver Safety PSAs; AAA Partnership with Roush Racing to Support Teen Driving Initiative in 2006

DETROIT--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 10, 2006--AAA today previewed its NEXTEL Cup Series #6 AAA Ford Fusion at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

AAA has partnered with Roush Racing to serve as the primary sponsor of the #6 racecar during the next three racing seasons, 2006 through 2008. Legendary racecar driver Mark Martin deferred his retirement for one year to continue piloting the #6 racecar on behalf of AAA in 2006.

In a news conference at Detroit's Cobo Convention Center, AAA also announced Martin will be featured in a series of public service television announcements focusing on teen driver safety, AAA's principal public affairs and advocacy initiative in 2006.

Speaking about AAA's NEXTEL Cup sponsorship, Thomas McKernan, chairman of the AAA Motor Sports Subcommittee and president/CEO of Auto Club Enterprises, said AAA's partnership with Roush Racing will help raise AAA's profile with auto racing fans.

"AAA's business strategy behind being a major motor sports sponsor is based on the future," noted McKernan. "By placing the familiar AAA logo on Number Six, AAA will gain new opportunities to expand brand awareness among the younger, 18-to-44-year-old demographic that make up more than half the NASCAR fan base.

"Also, AAA has a long history of vehicle and driver safety advocacy, and we plan to work with Roush Racing and Mark Martin to develop traffic and driver safety messages for the motoring public," he added.

"I am delighted by AAA's decision to expand its auto racing sponsorship through their partnership with Roush Racing for the 2006-2008 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race seasons," said Jack Roush, team owner and CEO of Roush Racing.

"AAA brings a well-respected brand and a distinguished tradition of excellence to our auto racing family. And as America's largest and most prestigious auto club-coupled with its historic connection to auto racing, AAA is a natural fit as a motorsports sponsor," Roush said.

AAA President Robert Darbelnet announced that AAA has produced a series of three 15- and 30-second public service announcements featuring Martin, which center on the need for parents to set a good example for children when it comes to safe driving.

The announcements, which introduce the phrase, "There's no better role model on the road than you," are particularly well suited for Martin, according to Darbelnet.

"As we've been discussing today, AAA is extremely fortunate to be associated with Roush Racing and Mark Martin this year. As a strong advocate of highway safety and the father of a 13-year-old son who will be seeking his driver's license in a few short years, Mark has made it clear he has a keen interest in being involved in our teen driver initiative," said Darbelnet.

AAA has led the fight to enact graduated drivers' licensing legislation in all 50 states and the District of Columbia over the past eight years, Darbelnet said.

"When our clubs first became engaged in this issue in 1997, rules and regulations governing the licensing of teen drivers were extremely limited," he said. "Now, eight years later, every state in the Union has passed some form of graduated driver licensing legislation thanks to the advocacy efforts of our clubs and their local traffic safety partners. As a result, teen drivers are gradually being given additional driving privileges as their on-the-road experience expands."

Darbelnet also pointed to the significant contributions motorsports has made to the safety of passenger vehicles. Even though motorsports are not without risk, Darbelnet said many advances in safety that were developed for the racetrack have ultimately saved lives both on the track and off.

Some examples of these contributions to traffic safety include rearview mirrors, traction and stability control systems, hydraulic brakes, crumple zones, seatbelts and vehicle air bags.

The AAA #6 Ford Fusion racecar will make its NEXTEL Cup Series debut at the first race of the season, which takes place at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida on February 19.

With nearly 49 million members in the United States and Canada, AAA is North America's largest motor club and membership organization. The not-for-profit association is best known for its legendary roadside assistance, comprehensive leisure travel and information services and its support of improved traffic safety and other consumer issues.

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , NASCAR-CUP