SBJ/May 21 - 27, 2007/This Weeks News

Cars get into uniform for USO

Ten NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch cars, including those driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, will be sporting military-themed paint schemes this weekend, and Motorsports Authentics is producing the licensed die-cast cars, apparel and other novelties to raise money for the USO.

American Heroes participating teams Dale
Earnhardt Jr. (top) and Jimmie Johnson

Dave Hynes, president of organizer Victory Management, said the goal is to raise $1 million or more from the promotion, which is known as American Heroes. A percentage of sales and donations from the public will go to the USO, which will disseminate the money to military families.

Merchandise is available through Motorsports Authentics dealers, at the track and online, and also will launch at Wal-Mart closer to the Fourth of July.

During this week’s races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Sprint Nextel will prompt fans to text-message a pledge. Kiosks and NextelVision at the track will promote the text-a-pledges and the program will remain active as long as pledges continue beyond the race date.

Kellogg’s also plans to produce more than 1 million cereal boxes, launching them this week, featuring a LeAnn Rimes CD and American Heroes marks. Lowe’s is producing a commemorative American Heroes coin for sale at its stores.

Retail stores on military bases have been offered the opportunity to carry the themed merchandise, said Ruth Crowley, president of Motorsports Authentics, but haven’t responded yet.

“We think it’s the first time that all of the service branches will be represented,” Crowley said.

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