Dale Jarrett a 'Shoe-In' for Title

DALE JARRETT A 'SHOE-IN' AS 1999 NASCAR CHAMPION Earns first Winston Cup title wearing Nike Racing shoes specially designed for the rigorous demands of motorsports HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- On August 5 at the Brickyard 400, Nike unveiled...


Earns first Winston Cup title wearing Nike Racing shoes specially designed for the rigorous demands of motorsports

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- On August 5 at the Brickyard 400, Nike unveiled 'Nike Racing,' a new line of Nike footwear designed for race-car drivers and their crews, including Dale Jarrett. Three days later, DJ captured the checkered flag at Indy wearing his Air Zoom Drive Pro DJ racing shoes. But that was just the appetizer.

Yesterday came the dessert, as Jarrett's fifth-place finish in the Pennzoil 400 at Homestead, Fla., clinched his first Winston Cup Series championship. For Dale, it was a dream come true. For Nike Racing, it was yet another example of Nike's ongoing dedication to creating products that enhance athletic performance.

In addition to Dale, Nike Racing includes NASCAR Winston Cup's Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart, the Winston Cup front-runner for rookie of the year who took his rookie-record third victory of the season yesterday. They are joined by Adam Petty of the Busch Grand National Series, 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.

"As Dale and his team have proven week after week, racing requires athleticism both behind the wheel and over the wall," said Mac McDevitt, general manager of branded athletic for Nike USA. "Nike Racing provides 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.

"Everyone at Nike Racing congratulates Dale and his crew for the hard work and dedication that resulted in earning the Winston Cup championship," added McDevitt. "And that goes for Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart and their team, which has enjoyed a spectacular season, as well, and is an important part of Nike Racing."

For Race Day, Nike will offer the Air Zoom Drive Pro DJ. Utilizing the latest in flame-retardant and protective materials, as well as Nike's proprietary "Racing Compound" outsole, these driving shoes provide the world's finest drivers the comfort, performance, and protection they need. The Air Zoom Drive Pro DJ will be available exclusively on www.nike.com beginning in February 2000.

The drivers are not the only ones with Nike footwear designed just for race-day needs. The race crews will take to the track in the Air Sub 18.0. Benefiting from nearly three years of research and development, the shoe sets the performance benchmark for race-day footwear. Nike has, in essence, created a track spike for the world of motor racing; superior low-profile cushioning, durable and protective Nomex® lined upper, and most importantly, "Nike Racing Compound" outsole that provides unparalleled traction on pit road. When tenths of seconds make the difference between winner and runner-up, Nike provides the superior equipment for human performance.

Race Day is once a week, but the world of racing is 24/7, so Nike designed two shoes for the rigors of race week, as well. The Air QF-8 and the Air Pit Demon are designed with superior cushioning, comfort, and durability through the use of Nike Air cushioning, patented DRC® durable rubber compound outsole and high-abrasion upper materials.

Nike has recognized the importance of superior human performance in the world of motorsports, and brings to bear 27-plus years of experience providing the best footwear to the best athletes in the world.

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. The new line of performance footwear incorporates Nike's patented Air Sole technology.

"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 be 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.

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 and photos can be obtained at www.nikebiz.com.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Adam Petty , Al Unser Jr.