Nike sponsors Jarrett, Labonte, Stewart

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THE GREEN FLAG WAVES FOR NIKE RACING Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, Adam Petty and Al Unser Jr. join the Nike family of athletes INDIANAPOLIS - Since its inception, Nike has been dedicated to creating athletic footwear that...

THE GREEN FLAG WAVES FOR NIKE RACING

Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, Adam Petty and Al Unser Jr. join the Nike family of athletes

INDIANAPOLIS - Since its inception, Nike has been dedicated to creating athletic footwear that enhances athletic performance. It was true decades ago when Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman cobbled light-weight shoes for his University of Oregon runners, and it's true today at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway as Nike announces the creation of Nike Racing.

When the 2000 racing season kicks off next February, Nike Racing's driving standouts will include NASCAR Winston Cup's Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart, Busch Grand National Series' Adam Petty, and two-time Indy 500 and CART series champion Al Unser Jr. Each will wear footwear specifically designed by Nike for the rigors of driving ultra high-performance racing machines. In addition, Nike Racing will encompass much more than designing and providing athletic footwear technology for drivers.

Equally integral to the Nike Racing program will be footwear designed specifically for the pit crews and garage staff (see attached release). Elapsed time during pit stops is often the crucial difference between a champagne shower for the driver on the victory stand and a lukewarm shower in the motorhome.

"Racing requires athleticism both behind the wheel and over the wall," said Mac McDevitt, general manager of branded athletic for Nike USA. "Nike Racing will provide drivers and crews with the footwear they need to gain an important edge on race weekend, as well as enhance their training regimens during the week."

The familiar Nike 'Swoosh' already is no stranger throughout the pits and paddocks of NASCAR and CART events. Race teams from both series have chosen to take advantage of Nike footwear for their durability and comfort. In fact, crews wearing Nike shoes have captured nearly two dozen checkered flags the past two years.

However, these shoes, usually cross-trainers or basketball models, are not engineered specifically for the unique demands of auto racing. Next season, all that will change as Nike debuts a new line of performance footwear, incorporating Nike's patented Air Sole? technology, designed for race car drivers and their crews.

"We've designed performance-enhancing footwear for world-class athletes like Michael Jordan, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mia Hamm," said Tracy Teague, creative director for footwear for Nike Racing. "With Nike Racing, we bring that same dedication to innovative design to motorsports, benefiting both the world's best drivers and teams, and millions of racing enthusiasts around the world."

NASCAR and CART constantly take steps to level the playing field when it comes to performance by the racing machines, which therefore puts a greater emphasis than ever on the human element. Nike Racing focuses on the humans in and around the machine, helping them perform at the peak of their ability by providing quality footwear designed for their unique athletic requirements.

For that reason, the Nike 'Swoosh' will limited to the feet of drivers and their teams, not on their cars. Nike Racing is not an official sponsor of NASCAR, CART or any other motorsports series. More details regarding Nike Racing will follow in the months leading up to the 2000 Daytona 500 next February.

Nike Inc., headquartered in Beaverton, Ore., markets its products in more than 100 countries and is the world's leading sports and fitness company. Further information can be obtained at www.nikebiz.com.

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Series NASCAR-CUP