SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
CONCORD, N.C. - Beginning in 2007, the Army National Guard will join forces with longtime Hendrick Motorsports partner GMAC to sponsor the No. 25 Chevrolets driven by Casey Mears in the Nextel Cup Series.
Casey Mears joins championship driver Jimmie Johnson at Hendrick Motorsports in 2007.
"This is a fantastic day for our organization," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We take an enormous amount of pride in welcoming the men and women of the National Guard and continuing our time-honored relationship with GMAC. These are two incredible groups that share our vision for the No. 25 team and its bright future."
Mears, 28, will drive the new-look No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS in the car's on-track debut this February at Daytona. In 2006, Mears became the first full-time NASCAR driver to be part of a winning Grand American Rolex 24 team and was runner-up in the prestigious Daytona 500.
"The National Guard is looking forward to joining the No. 25 Hendrick Motorsports team," said Col. Mike Jones, chief of the Army National Guard's Strength Maintenance Division. "NASCAR continues to be a vital component of our recruiting and retention programs, and we believe this new relationship will further enhance our involvement in the sport."
GMAC's association with Hendrick Motorsports is one of the longest and most successful sponsor-team relationships in NASCAR. Headquartered in Detroit, the company joined Hendrick in 1993 and has since been featured in some form on 10 championship-winning racecars, including two as a primary sponsor.
"GMAC remains committed to Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR racing as an important part of its overall marketing strategy," said Barbara Stokel, GMAC executive vice president for North American Operations. "Teaming with the National Guard, we expect to develop a branding partnership that will truly leverage the success of the No. 25 Chevy and its new driver, Casey Mears."
The red, white and blue No. 25 Chevy design will make its first public appearances during activities surrounding the Jan. 7 GMAC Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. New enlistees of the Alabama National Guard will be sworn in on the field prior to the game featuring Ohio University and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.