CHAMPCAR/CART: NHR, McDonald's unite for charity

McDonald's and Champ Car World Series Unite to Raise Awareness and Funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities OAK BROOK, Ill., April 6 -- McDonald's announced today that it will supercharge its partnership with the Bridgestone Presents: the...

McDonald's and Champ Car World Series Unite to Raise Awareness and Funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities

OAK BROOK, Ill., April 6 -- McDonald's announced today that it will supercharge its partnership with the Bridgestone Presents: the Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford and "Give-A-Hand" to help raise awareness about the company's new, unprecedented goal of raising $50 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC(R)) in honor of McDonald's 50th anniversary in 2005.

In addition to being the Official Fast Food Restaurant of the Champ Car World Series, McDonald's is a sponsor of Newman/Haas Racing, the team that earned its fifth series title in 2004 and is owned by actor/race car driver Paul Newman and racing entrepreneur Carl Haas. Along with PKV Racing, the team will be actively involved in the kick-off of McDonald's ambitious fundraising effort.

On Wednesday, April 6, at 2:30 p.m. (PT), reigning Champ Car World Series champion and McDonald's Ford-Cosworth-Lola-Bridgestone driver Sebastien Bourdais will lead a contingent of champion drivers in a caravan of Ford Mustangs from the streets of Long Beach, the site of the season-opening Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to be held on during the weekend of April 8 - 10, to the Ronald McDonald House at 4560 Fountain Avenue in Los Angeles, Calif.

Joining Bourdais, will be 2002 Champion Cristiano da Matta (Brazil), 1996 champion Jimmy Vasser (United States) and series runner-up for the third consecutive time in 2004, Bruno Junqueira (Brazil), to rev up some fun with the children and distribute some hot new toys.

"The link between sports and RMHC is as old as the organization itself, so we knew this was a natural fit," said John Lewicki, Director of Alliances, McDonald's USA. "We're excited to announce that Sebastien and Newman/Haas Racing plans to visit Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the 2005 season, in all U.S. cities hosting Champ Car races."

The idea for the Ronald McDonald House(R) began in Philadelphia in 1973, when Fred Hill, a member of the Philadelphia Eagles football team, learned that his three year old daughter, Kim, had leukemia. The Eagles organized fundraising efforts to assist Kim's, as well as other children's, fight against leukemia. During the course of these efforts, the idea of a 'home- away-from-home' where out-of-town families could stay during their child's hospital treatment, was born.

McDonald's current sponsorship of Champ Car originated from the company's partnership with racing team co-owner, philanthropist and actor Paul Newman. Newman's Own(R) salad dressings have been available in McDonald's restaurants nationwide since 2003. The partnership officially began at the Grand Prix of Cleveland in 2003 when Bourdais first carried the Golden Arches to Victory Lane.

"It has been the perfect blend of methanol, salad and olive oil -- always a winning combination," said Paul Newman, who with racing entrepreneur Carl A. Haas, co-own Newman/Haas Racing, the winningest active team in the Champ Car World Series. "Now Carl and I are just happy we can move this partnership toward benefiting a great cause in Ronald McDonald House Charities."

Newman/Haas Racing and Sebastien Bourdais, along with many other stars of the Champ Car World Series will be making Ronald McDonald House visits or other appearances in the following cities during the weeks of these 2005 Champ Car races:


April 10: Long Beach, Calif.
June 18: Portland, Ore.
June 25: Cleveland, Ohio
July 31: San Jose, Calif.
Aug. 14: Denver, Colo.
Sep. 24: Las Vegas, Nev.

Outside of racing, McDonald's encourages participants in all fields of sport and physical activity. The company's other sports affiliations include the McDonald's All American High School Basketball Game(TM), the 2006 Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup, the NBA and the Association of Volleyball Professionals.

Beyond sports sponsorships, McDonald's is an industry champion in promoting balanced, active lifestyles. McDonald's, through its balanced, active lifestyles programming, continues to help raise awareness about food choice, education and physical activity.

About McDonald's
McDonald's is the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 30,000 restaurants serving nearly 50 million people in 119 countries each day. Approximately 70 percent of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent, local businessmen and women. Please visit www.mcdonalds.com for more information.

About RMHC
Ronald McDonald House Charities, a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation, creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. Its programs are grassroots-driven to enable the Charity to offer help where children need it most - right in their own communities. RMHC makes an immediate, positive impact on children's lives through its global network of local Chapters in 48 countries and its three core programs: the Ronald McDonald House(R), Ronald McDonald Family Room(TM) and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile(TM). November, 2005, McDonald's restaurants around the world will host their fourth annual fundraiser, Give-A Hand, which benefits RMHC and children's causes around the world. Last year's fundraiser raised more than $22 million for RMHC and children in need. RMHC and its local Chapters have awarded more than $400 million in grants and program services to children's programs around the world. For more information, visit www.rmhc.org .

About Newman/Haas Racing
Newman/Haas Racing LLC, owned by actor/race car driver Paul Newman and racing entrepreneur Carl A. Haas, is the most successful team competing in the Champ Car World Series. The team will begin their 23rd season in Champ Car competition in 2005 and will attempt to score their sixth overall title after winning 82 races and 86 pole positions.

Current drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira were preceded at the team by Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy, Christian Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta. For more information, visit www.newman-haas.com , www.brunojunqueira.com , www.sebastien-bourdais.com or www.champcarworldseries.com .

About the Champ Car World Series
The Champ Car World Series features some of the greatest race car drivers in the world competing in the most diverse and exciting series in the world. Champions Sebastien Bourdais, Jimmy Vasser, Cristiano da Matta and Canadian Paul Tracy along with 2004 Roshfrans Rookie of the Year A. J. Allmendinger, Bruno Junqueira, Alex Tagliani and Mexican Mario Dominguez are among the drivers who battle for the Vanderbilt Cup, which is awarded to the winner of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The title is contested on oval circuits, temporary street circuits and permanent road courses.

-nhr-

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About this article
Series Charity , IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Nigel Mansell , Paul Newman , Sébastien Bourdais , Carl Haas , Cristiano da Matta