IRL: IMS announces sponsor partner

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 7, 2003 -- Checkers®/Rally's® has become the "Official Burger" of the Indianapolis 500, part of the IRL IndyCarÔ Series, and the Brickyard 400, a NASCAR® Winston Cup Series event, and will sponsor the Indy 500 Pit...

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 7, 2003 -- Checkers®/Rally's® has become the "Official Burger" of the Indianapolis 500, part of the IRL IndyCarÔ Series, and the Brickyard 400, a NASCAR® Winston Cup Series event, and will sponsor the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge as part of an agreement between Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHKR), the nation's leading double drive-thru chain, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, company and Speedway officials announced May 7.

The exclusive sponsorship will shift the national brand presence of Checkers and Rally's into high gear, according to Keith E. Sirois, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc.'s interim CEO.

"Checkers Drive-In Restaurants is running on all eight cylinders, and I am proud to announce that our Company and franchisees have joined forces to put our national brand presence on the 'fast track' through this exclusive sponsorship," Sirois said. "As the 'Official Hamburger' of the Brickyard 400, one of NASCAR's premier events, and the Indianapolis 500, the world's largest single-day sporting event, we have a tremendous opportunity to drive consumer loyalty on a national scale, increase our brand awareness among the financial community, and further our relationships with current and prospective franchisees. For Checkers and Rally's, the road ahead is an exciting one."

The Indianapolis 500 is the largest single-day spectator sporting event in the world and is the marquee event of the IRL IndyCarTM Series. The 87th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 25.

The Brickyard 400 is one of the most prestigious and popular events in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, with the largest attendance of any event on the schedule. The 10th Brickyard 400 is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 3.

As part of the agreement, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants acquired the naming rights for the "Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge," an Indianapolis 500 tradition for more than 25 years. The competition, which pits the top crews of the IndyCar Series in a timed competition, takes place on Carb Day, Thursday, May 22 and will be televised nationally on ESPN.

"We are very pleased that Checkers and Rally's have chosen to become a part of the traditions that surround the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400," said Tony George, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, with its brand position of double drive-thru speed, is a strong addition to our roster of corporate sponsors, and we look forward to an exciting racing season with them."

As the "Official Hamburger" of the Brickyard 400 and Indianapolis 500, Checkers/Rally's sponsorship includes:

*Category exclusivity as the official quick-service/fast-food partner of both races.

*Rights to sell Checkers and Rally's food at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

*Use of Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 Marks in Checkers/Rally's commercials, print, point-of-purchase and other marketing materials as well as consumer promotions and sweepstakes.

*National media placement opportunities in and around the races on NBC, ABC and ESPN.

Checkers/Rally's chose to sponsor the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 for several strategic reasons. Checkers and Rally's key markets share a strong demographic match with these races and motorsports' biggest fans. All of the company's markets correspond with top motorsports markets: Southeast Checkers markets are the traditional origin of avid stock car fans, Midwest Rally's markets are home to open-wheel fans, and the West Coast Rally's markets are the birthplace of drag racing and street rods.

"Motorsports is the fastest growing spectator sport in the country, and there are strategic synergies between the demographics of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Checkers/Rally's. We see this as a tremendous opportunity for Checkers/Rally's to drive brand awareness on a national scale," said Richard S. Turer, vice president of marketing, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc.

"Like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we thrive on speed, quality, teamwork, leadership, and of course, cars that move fast through our drive-thrus. This similarity in brand personalities and values makes our association with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a natural connection, and I am proud to have played a part in delivering this exclusive sponsorship to our franchised community and to the Checkers/Rally's brands."

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. (www.checkers.com) is the largest double drive-through restaurant chain in the United States. The company develops, produces, owns, operates and franchises quick service "double drive-thru" restaurants.

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Series IndyCar , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony George