CHAMPCAR/CART: Dinner a la CART Response Overwhelming

'DINNER A LA CART' SWEEPSTAKES DRAWS EXCEPTIONAL RESPONSE DETROIT (June 30, 1999) - Having dinner with some of the world's fastest race car drivers is a dream one of thousands of individuals will have come true later this year as part of ...

'DINNER A LA CART' SWEEPSTAKES DRAWS EXCEPTIONAL RESPONSE

DETROIT (June 30, 1999) - Having dinner with some of the world's fastest race car drivers is a dream one of thousands of individuals will have come true later this year as part of Championship Auto Racing Teams' inaugural Dinner a la CART program.

Twenty thousand individuals from around the United States registered to have FedEx Championship Series drivers Christian Fittipaldi, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan make and serve them dinner through a sweepstakes-driven program that appeared in Sunday newspapers throughout the country April 18.

The winner will be announced within the month and will come from a larger-than-expected group of entrants.

"The response to CART's promotion has been pleasantly surprising to us," said Paul Hanson of Fulfillment Systems, Inc., which is helping manage the program.. "Typically, with sweepstakes that have no quantifiable retail value, and only one grand prize, we receive a few hundred entries. The unique nature of the program and the prize is directly responsible for the overwhelming response we have received."

For CART Executive Vice President of Marketing, Carl Cohen, the response indicates CART has the potential to create a number of diverse programs in the future to reach all segments of the consumer population.

"We are very pleased with the response to this promotion," said Cohen. "The large number of entries speaks volumes of our efforts to reach out to the female audience. In addition to doing traditional sports promotions, such as event trips and tickets, we are concentrating on developing activities that are unique and meaningful to specific segments of the population. All early signs indicate we have provided something that consumers find fun and meaningful with 'Dinner a la CART.'"

The Dinner a la CART drivers are some of the best in open-wheel racing. Each is focused on winning the FedEx Series' top prize - the PPG Cup - for the first time this season.

"We come in to fans' homes every time they watch us on television - but this time, we truly are coming into their home," said Fittipaldi, a Brazilian who drives for the team owned by actor Paul Newman and partner Carl Haas. "The program is great because it gives us the opportunity to get to spend time with fans in a unique way. They might be disappointed with my cooking, though. I hope they aren't expecting a five-star meal. I'll probably bring some Newman's Own Spaghetti Sauce and some popcorn, too, just to be safe."

Scotsman Franchitti has won three Champ Car races in his two-year -plus career and looks forward to spending time with some new fans over dinner.

"Racing drivers are not generally known for their culinary expertise but we'll be ready to give it a good go," said Franchitti, a 26-year-old Scotsman who is third in the current series points standings. "It should be lots of fun. What other racing series in the world brings the cooking of Scotland and Brazil - by its race car drivers - into the homes of its fans?"

The 24-year-old Kanaan, who hails from Brazil and recorded his best 1999 finish (fifth) at CART's Rio de Janeiro race in May, was the Champ Car Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year in 1998.

"I am very excited to participate in the 'Dinner a la CART program," said Kanaan. "It's great to be able to get together with our fans and to do it over a meal is great because I like to cook and it will be fun to cook for a fan. I hope they won't mind a mess in their kitchen."

CART has completed nine of 20 races in the 1999 FedEx Championship Series and next races July 11 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

-CART-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Tony Kanaan , Paul Newman , Carl Haas