Richmond's Russ Friedman 400 news 2009-04-29

Crown Royal Presents the Russ Friedman 400 Crown Royal Whisky Provides Purple Heart Recipient Stage to Honor Fellow Soldiers Richmond, VA, April 29, 2009 -- This weekend Russ Friedman will roll into Richmond International Raceway as an everyday...

Crown Royal Presents the Russ Friedman 400
Crown Royal Whisky Provides Purple Heart Recipient Stage to Honor Fellow Soldiers

Richmond, VA, April 29, 2009 -- This weekend Russ Friedman will roll into Richmond International Raceway as an everyday race fan -- and leave a hero. As the grand-prize winner of the Crown Royal "Your Name Here" contest, Friedman was awarded naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, May 2. The race is officially titled "Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400." However, when he accepted the prize during an elaborate ceremony earlier this year at Daytona International Speedway, the former Marine made it clear it would only be right if his fellow soldiers went along for the ride.

In response, the makers of Crown Royal Canadian Whisky, along with the Jamie McMurray Foundation have been working to ensure Friedman's race honors all the brave soldiers who serve our country. Throughout the last few weeks, The Crown Royal Company and McMurray -- with Friedman's input -- have provided military personnel around the country with tickets to races, selected soldiers to serve as honorary pit crew members and made available giant "Thank you" cards for fans to sign and show their support for members of the military. One hundred NASCAR Day pins have been purchased for soldiers, the proceeds of which benefit the NASCAR Foundation and its associated charities. In addition, The Crown Royal Company and McMurray have created a replica racecar hood with the official Crown Royal The Russ Friedman 400 race logo for all the Cup Series drivers to sign prior to the race this weekend. After the race in Richmond, the cards, hood and pins will be sent to soldiers serving overseas on behalf of a grateful NASCAR nation.

"When I found out in Daytona that I was the winner, I knew I wanted to use the race to celebrate all those individuals who protect our country every day," said Friedman. "I appreciate how Crown Royal and Jamie (McMurray) have supported my efforts to encourage troops. I just hope I can do my part to make my fellow soldiers proud this weekend in Richmond."

Friedman, a Huntington Station, N.Y., native was selected from a pool of nearly 5,000 entrants in the Crown Royal "Your Name Here" contest. His winning entry referenced his experience in Iraq receiving two Purple Hearts. Friedman enlisted in the Marines in 2001 and served two tours in Iraq, in 2003 and then again in 2004 when he was injured.JIn honor of Russ Friedman and in celebration of the race in Richmond, Governor Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia has issued a proclamation declaring the month of May 2009 Crown Royal 400 Month, urging all citizens to keep our soldiers in their prayers and thank them for their service to our country.

"We are extremely proud to have a genuine hero in Russ Friedman to represent the Crown Royal brand and the character and core values that we strive to celebrate," said Rob Mason, senior brand manager, Crown Royal. "The selflessness he displayed overseas, as well as during these last few months paying tribute to his fellow soldiers is outstanding. This weekend, millions of NASCAR fans and military personnel will have the chance to get to know the true king we have grown to admire when they tune-in to and attend his race."

Friedman will receive the royal treatment throughout the weekend. His name will be incorporated into the race broadcast and has been included on all the race tickets and merchandise. Some of his duties include serving as Grand Marshal, participating in pace-car laps, watching the race from the No. 26 pit box and delivering the trophy -- emblazoned with his name -- to the race winner in Victory Lane. Friedman will be joined by his fiancee April Willmott and several other close friends and family members.

"Crown Royal's unique promotion has changed the face of professional sports by allowing a fan to have his name on the event," said Doug Fritz, President of Richmond International Raceway. "Richmond International Raceway is proud of the efforts Crown Royal and Russ [Friedman] are making to honor our troops. We appreciate everything our troops are doing for our Country and look forward to dedicating this event to them and their families."

Prior to the race at Richmond International Raceway, America's Premier Short Track, McMurray and Friedman will make a pit stop at McGuire Veterans Hospital to meet soldiers and sign autographs. This is one of several visits with military personnel McMurray has made leading up to the Crown Royal The Russ Friedman 400 to show his support for soldiers and their families.

"It has been an honor to meet Russ and other military personnel at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the races on the road to Richmond," said McMurray. "They all serve bravely, and I'm glad for the opportunity to give something back to them. I hope to get the No. 26 car in Victory Lane this weekend and have them celebrate with us in Richmond and around NASCAR nation."

The Crown Royal Company is also using its sponsorship of the Richmond Sprint Cup Series race to remind adult consumers to "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly." This message encourages race fans and consumers across the country to always make responsible decisions when drinking, such as assigning a designated driver.

Ford Fusion driven by Jamie McMurray, and in its fifth year of being a title sponsor of Richmond International Raceway NASCAR Sprint Car race in May.

About Crown Royal Canadian Whisky
Crown Royal Canadian whisky is the number one selling Canadian whisky brand in the US by value and has a tradition as long and distinctive as its taste. Specially blended to commemorate a grand tour of Canada made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 1939, Crown Royal Canadian whisky's smooth, elegant style reflects its aristocratic origins and is considered the epitome of Canadian whisky. For the fourth consecutive year, the Crown Royal Company is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Roush Fenway Ford Fusion driven by Jamie McMurray.For more information visit www.crownroyal.com.

-credit: cr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jamie McMurray