CHAMPCAR/CART: Craftsman, Diehard, CART Enhance Partnership

Hoffman Estates, Ill. - Craftsman, DieHard and Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) today announced a three-year partnership agreement designed to increase Craftsman's and DieHard's exposure in auto racing and help expand the growing CART fan...

Hoffman Estates, Ill. - Craftsman, DieHard and Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) today announced a three-year partnership agreement designed to increase Craftsman's and DieHard's exposure in auto racing and help expand the growing CART fan base. The multi-year agreement, which is driven by an integrated communications program, underscores the Craftsman and DieHard brands' commitment to motorsports throughout the U.S.

The agreement extends Craftsman's Official Tool status and names DieHard as the Official Battery of CART. The centerpiece of the expanded partnership is the creation of the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge.

Craftsman and CART have joined forces to create the first season-long pit crew competition - The Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge. A "race within a race," the competition "pits" crew against crew to see who is the best in the business. Craftsman will present the winning crew with a $50,000 cash bonus at the end of the 20-race FedEx Championship Series season.

"Craftsman and DieHard have a long-standing commitment to CART, and the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge extends and energizes our relationship with this valued partner," said John Lebbad, director, event marketing for Sears Motorsports. "This partnership enables us to differentiate our brands through engaging new marketing programs that bring added excitement to our motorsports customers."

"Craftsman and DieHard have a long-standing commitment to "We are extremely proud to be associated with two of the world's leading automotive brands - Craftsman and Diehard," said Andrew Craig, chairman and CEO of CART. "Extending our partnership demonstrates Sears commitment to CART as well as the recognition of the value that sponsorship of Champ Car racing delivers for these two brands."

"The Craftsman/DieHard motorsports program sets a new standard for all professional sports sponsorship programs. It will be used as the model for the next wave of CART sponsorship because of its ability to uniquely define Sears association with the sport," said John Rowady, VP, deputy general manager of ISL United States.

Pit Crew Challenge

Run all season long and open to all competing teams in CART's FedEx Championship Series, the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge awards each participating team points based on the amount of time spent in the pits each race. The less time in the pits, the more points each team earns. Pit stop time will be measured by Omega Timing & Scoring as reported in the Official Pit Stop Report. Pit stop time begins once the car enters the pits and concludes as the car exits.

Total points awarded to a team will be based on the first 19 races of the season. At the last race in Fontana, the top four teams will compete in a special pit stop competition for the $50,000 cash bonus as well as a specially-designed Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge trophy.

Calling All Race Fans

Sears, through its Craftsman and DieHard brands, and CART will bring the thrill of open-wheel racing to fans across the country through a host of local market activities. Sears customers and CART fans in select markets will have the chance to enter the "Win a Place on the Pit Crew with Craftsman and DieHard" sweepstakes. One lucky sweepstakes winner in each participating market will spend race day in the pits with a Champ Car team during the city's designated race.

The winning honorary pit crew members will be assigned special duties from the professional pit crews and will receive loads of additional prizes (a crew uniform, extra race tickets, a Craftsman tool box, Craftsman apparel, a DieHard cooler and a $100 Sears gift certificate).

In addition, fans can get up close and personal with the sport and their racing heroes during special Sears/CART FanFests. The action-packed FanFests -- held in Sears parking lots in conjunction with several local CART races -- will feature driver autograph sessions, interactive displays, show cars, ticket giveaways and much more.

New this year, Craftsman and DieHard are offering aspiring CART pit crew members the chance to rub elbow grease with the pros. Craftsman and DieHard are partnering with vocational/technical schools to host special "Under the Hood" seminars and demonstrations with CART pit crews in select markets.

Craftsman/DieHard Partnership

The fully integrated Craftsman/DieHard-CART partnership also includes:

National and local rights to CART and FedEx Championship Series marks. Access to the CART FanFest trailer for use at brand-sponsored events. Hotlink on CART Web site to Sears Brand identification on numerous CART vehicles and collateral materials.

Craftsman is the Official Tool of CART, NHRA and NASCAR, and has been part of motorsports for more than 72 years. Craftsman tools continue to be the top-selling mechanic and auto specialty tools in the U.S., with more than 1,800 Craftsman hand tools, all made in America and guaranteed forever. The Sears DieHard brand also has an extensive motorsports program. DieHard, America's most preferred battery brand, is a major supporter of NHRA and NASCAR, and the Official Battery of CART. DieHard has become a household word for long-lasting quality and durability, making it the nation's largest selling replacement automobile battery. Visit for more information.

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (NYSE: MPH) owns, operates and markets the FedEx Championship Series, which is comprised of 20 races in five countries on four continents in 1999. Drivers such as Michael Andretti, Adrian Fernandez, Dario Franchitti, Bryan Herta, Greg Moore, Al Unser, Jr., and Jimmy Vasser race 900-plus horsepower, open-wheel cars at speeds of more than 240 miles per hour on some circuits. CART also owns and operates its top two development series, the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship and the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship.

Source: CART Online

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta , Greg Moore