Sponsor announced for Pit Crew awards

McDonald's, POWERade join forces to reward, recognize NASCAR Pit Crews. More than $1 million in prize money to be distributed DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2003) - McDonald's, the official Drive Thru of NASCAR, and POWERade, the official sports...

McDonald's, POWERade join forces to reward, recognize NASCAR Pit Crews.
More than $1 million in prize money to be distributed

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2003) - McDonald's, the official Drive Thru of NASCAR, and POWERade, the official sports drink of NASCAR, have teamed to sponsor an award program that celebrates the unsung heroes in NASCAR's three major racing series - NASCAR Winston Cup, NASCAR Busch Grand National and NASCAR Craftsman Truck.

The McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade will offer prize money in excess of $1.2 million during the 2003 season, making it the largest monetary contingency program in NASCAR history and the first season points championship for pit crew teams.

The program will award $20,000 per week to the top-performing NASCAR Winston Cup Series pit crew. In addition, results will be tabulated throughout the season to determine the program's championship crew, which will take home $200,000.

"Races are won and lost on pit road every week," said Beatriz Perez, vice president, Sports Marketing, North American Division, the Coca-Cola Company. "This program offers crew members not only a monetary reward, but the exposure and recognition they deserve for playing such a vital role on race teams."

"Just like a NASCAR race team, McDonald's restaurants rely on the speed and accuracy of their crews to get our customers served and on their way quickly," said John Lewicki, McDonald's director of alliances. "It is natural, therefore, for McDonald's to honor and reward NASCAR's unsung heroes with this exciting new program."

During each 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup points event, the participating crew whose car spends the least amount of aggregate time off the race track will be named the weekly winner provided their driver took the green flag at the beginning of the event and checkered flag at the conclusion of the event. The winning crew each week will receive $20,000 and a traveling trophy to proudly display during the next event.

Following every race, participating crews will be ranked in order of pit performance, with 43 points going to the top finisher, descending to one point for the last-place team. The crew with the highest cumulative score at season's end will win the annual championship and take home a $200,000 prize.

NASCAR will measure times using the official scoring transponders that monitor the cars on the track. A timing line at the entrance and exit to pit road will trigger the transponders and record the total time each car spends off the race track.

Fans can keep track of their favorite crew's performance during Winston Cup television broadcasts, which will feature a pre-race recap of the previous week's competition and review of official standings, a mid-race update and a post-race announcement.

The McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade also will be adapted to benefit crews in the NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Weekly winners will earn $5,000 per race in the NASCAR Busch Series and $3,000 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Annual champions will take home $25,000 and $15,000 respectively.

The criteria for scoring the NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Craftsman Truck programs will differ from the NASCAR Winston Cup level because the transponder-based timing system is not available for those series. Points determining weekly and year-end awards will be based on a combination of qualifying position, pit stops and finishing order.

POWERade became the official sports drink of NASCAR in 2003, joining Coca-Cola classic (Official Soft Drink), Minute Maid (Official Juice) and Dasani (Official Water) as NASCAR's official non-alcoholic beverage providers. Through its association with tracks and race teams, The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners have been involved in NASCAR for more than 40 years. The Company sponsored cars from 1969-76 and 1990-94 under the Coca-Cola and Mello Yello brands, respectively.

McDonald's is the leading global foodservice retailer, with more than 30,000 local restaurants serving nearly 46 million people each day in 121 countries. Approximately 80 percent of all McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent franchisees. McDonald's has been involved in NASCAR sponsorship since 1990.

-mc/cc-

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