EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS, GENERAL MILLS FIND RECIPE FOR SUCCESS IN PRIMARY SPONSORSHIP OF RACECAR DRIVER ERIN CROCKER Crocker to Make Fulltime NASCAR Busch Series Debut with General Mills' Championship Brands Richmond, Va. (Sept. 9, 2005) --...
EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS, GENERAL MILLS FIND RECIPE FOR SUCCESS IN PRIMARY SPONSORSHIP OF RACECAR DRIVER ERIN CROCKER
Crocker to Make Fulltime NASCAR Busch Series Debut with General Mills' Championship Brands
Richmond, Va. (Sept. 9, 2005) -- Evernham Motorsports and General Mills announced today that the leading food manufacturer will serve as primary sponsor of driver Erin Crocker in the NASCAR Busch Series fulltime in 2006.
Starting in Daytona Beach, Fla., next February, General Mills and its Cheerios® and Betty Crocker® brands will become the season-long primary sponsor of Erin Crocker in her fulltime 2006 NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year campaign with Evernham Motorsports. As part of today's announcement at Richmond International Speedway, General Mills unveiled the No. 98 Dodge Charger racecar to be driven by Crocker next season. General Mills will also serve as the primary sponsor of Crocker's NASCAR Busch Series team at three race tracks this year -- Lowe's Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway where she will drive the No. 40 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge racecar.
"I'm thrilled to begin this stage of my racing career with the support of General Mills, whose brands I've literally grown up on," said Crocker. "I've always been hungry to further my motorsports career and to have General Mills and Evernham Motorsports give me that opportunity is what makes this deal especially fulfilling. I'm very thankful for the opportunity, and I can't wait to go Busch Series racing with them."
Crocker is the 11th female driver to compete in the NASCAR Busch Series, and with 36 races scheduled on her 2006 calendar she could be the first female driver to make more than 24 starts in a single Busch Series season.
"We are excited to expand our NASCAR involvement and strengthen our commitment by welcoming Erin and Ray into our family of brands," said Laurie Greeno, vice president of Motorsports at General Mills. "Erin exemplifies everything that Cheerios and Betty Crocker brands value -- family, trust, excellence and commitment -- and we're pleased to work alongside Evernham to champion Erin's performance on and off the race track."
This year also marked Crocker's debut in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, where she earned two poles, three top fives and four top 10s in just five races this season for Evernham Motorsports. Evernham Motorsports Team Director, Chris Andrews, who called the shots from Crocker's pit box in her ARCA events this season, will also assume those duties for the Busch Series team this season.
Before joining Evernham Motorsports' driver development program, the Massachusetts-native started her racing career running a Quarter Midget at the early age of seven. While she earned her Bachelor's degree in Industrial and Management Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. in 2003, she continued to gain experience in the sprint cars of the USAC Silver Crown and World of Outlaws (WoO) Series. In October of 2004, Crocker became the first and only female driver to win a WoO race, when she took the checkered flag in the Thunderbowl Preliminary in Tulare, Calif.
"Erin is a very special person and we've seen her display great talent behind the wheel of a stock car this year in the ARCA RE/MAX Series," said Ray Evernham, President and CEO of Evernham Motorsports. "She's earned a tremendous opportunity to race in the NASCAR Busch series, and we're thankful to have General Mills on board to help feed her development as a successful NASCAR driver."
Cheerios and Betty Crocker will continue to be the primary sponsors of Petty Enterprises legendary No. 43 Dodge for the 2006 season. The 2006 season marks the tenth year that General Mills' brands have been part of NASCAR and the seventh season of sponsorship with Petty Enterprises. For more information about Cheerios Racing, visit www.cheerios.com/racing.
About General Mills:
General Mills, with annual net sales of $12.5 billion, is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. Its global brand portfolio includes Betty Crocker; Pillsbury; Green Giant; Old El Paso and more. It also has more than 100 U.S. consumer brands, more than 30 of which generate annual retail sales in excess of $100 million. Included in the U.S. portfolio are some of the nation's most popular brands including Cheerios, Wheaties and other Big G cereal brands; Yoplait and Colombo yogurts; Betty Crocker desserts and dinner mixes; Betty Crocker and Nature Valley snacks; Totino's frozen pizza and snacks and Progresso ready-to-serve soups. General Mills is also a leader in the bakeries and foodservice business as a major supplier of baking and other food products to the foodservice and commercial baking industries. For more information, visit our web site at www.generalmills.com.
About Evernham Motorsports:
Evernham Motorsports is a leading team in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Founded by President CEO Ray Evernham in 1999, the team is in its fifth season of competition at the highest level of NASCAR racing; with drivers Jeremy Mayfield in the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger, Kasey Kahne in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger, and Bill Elliott in the No. 91 Dodge Charger. For more information on Evernham Motorsports, visit www.evernham.com.