CHAMPCAR/CART: New program with NHTSA announced by CART

CART partners with NHTSA and local agency to launch Hispanic traffic and vehicle safety campaign at Long Beach. LONG BEACH, CALIF. (April 12, 2002) - Building on their successful Safety - the Ultimate Rush campaign, Championship Auto Racing...

CART partners with NHTSA and local agency to launch Hispanic traffic and vehicle safety campaign at Long Beach.

LONG BEACH, CALIF. (April 12, 2002) - Building on their successful Safety - the Ultimate Rush campaign, Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automobile Club of Southern California (ACSC) today launched a Spanish language campaign to promote highway and vehicle safety. The announcement was made in conjunction with this weekend's running of the 28th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The new campaign uses culturally relevant educational materials, such as autograph cards, posters and radio public service advertisements featuring Champ Car drivers Jimmy Vasser, Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Mario Dominguez. The program also utilizes CART-sponsored community outreach activities such as child safety seats checkpoints to help improve safety among Hispanic Americans.

"Safety is President Bush's and Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta's top transportation priority," said Dr. Jeffrey Runge, NHTSA Administrator. "That's why we've teamed up with CART to reach Hispanic race fans with lifesaving information about the importance of playing it safe on America's roadways. I commend CART for their commitment and leadership in promoting safety on the track and throughout America's communities."

According to NHTSA, Hispanics are at higher risk than other populations of being affected by traffic crashes. Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanics ages 1-44 and the third leading cause of death for all Latinos, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.

"Safety is CART's number one concern on and off the track," said Christopher R. Pook, CART President and CEO. "As the racing industry leader in safety, our commitment doesn't end at the checkered flag. I'm proud of how our drivers and staff have devoted their time to drive home our lifesaving messages to all of our fans. The ultimate rush is knowing that a family walked away from a car accident because they listened and buckled up, bought a safer car or properly used a child safety seat."

For the campaign kick-off, CART and NHTSA are partnering with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Automobile Club of Southern California (ACSC), Enterprise Rent-a-Car and local restaurant chain King Taco to promote vehicle and traffic safety to local Hispanics. Race fans will receive materials on how to buy a safer car, tire safety, rollover information and child car safety seats. Additional efforts are planned for other race venues. The season-long effort will include:

* Print and radio public service announcements
* Promotional giveaways
* Program & publication inserts
* Public address messages and distribution of information at CART races
* Special events in the community, especially reaching out to youth

"California has the largest Hispanic population in America and we are honored to be the kick-off site for CART's new safety campaign to improve the safety of Latinos," said, Rick Lalor, ACSC Manager of Motorsports and Events. "This initiative compliments ACSC's ongoing campaign - 'Seated, Safe and Secure' which is focused on changing parents' behavior by educating them about how to best protect their children in vehicles."

Recently, the state of California passed a new booster seat law that took effect in January. "Now, our state's parents have to be made aware that following the new law, and even going beyond the law's requirements in some cases, is the best way to keep their children safe in vehicles," said Arlene Dillman, the Auto Club's traffic safety manager.

California's new restraint law requires all child passengers to ride in an approved child safety seat or booster seat until they either reach age 6 or weigh 60 pounds. Vehicle passenger safety experts from the Auto Club, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other groups have concluded that children are safest when riding in a booster seat until the adult seat belt properly fits them. In addition, all children age 12 and under are safest when they ride in the back seat, Dillman said.

The Safety - the Ultimate Rush campaign provides lifesaving information to race fans internationally on vehicle safety, including government crash tests and star ratings, Buckle-Up programs for adults and kids, and other useful safety tips. CART is distributing NHTSA materials at its races, and works with the agency to develop public information campaigns using CART drivers. All consumer safety materials are also available to consumers by calling 1-888-327-4236 or by visiting CART's web site at www.cart.com.

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the CART FedEx Championship Series. Former series champions Michael Andretti and Jimmy Vasser are among the stars who will battle for the 2002 FedEx Championship Series title on ovals, temporary street circuits and permanent road courses. CART Champ Cars are thoroughbred racing machines that travel at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, showcasing the technical expertise of manufacturers such as American Honda, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, Lola Cars, Reynard Motorsport and Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC. The 20-race 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series will be broadcast by new television partners, CBS, FOX and SPEED Channel. CART also owns and operates its top development series, the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Learn more about CART's open-wheel racing series at www.CART.com.

--CART--

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About this article
Series Automotive , IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez , Michel Jourdain