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NASCAR WCUP: Jarrett, Labonte, Stewart Join Nike Family

5 August 1999

Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, Adam Petty
and Al Unser Jr. join the Nike family of athletes

INDIANAPOLIS – Since its inception, Nike has been dedicated to creating
athletic footwear that enhances athletic performance. It was true
decades ago when Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman cobbled light-weight
shoes for his University of Oregon runners, and it’s true today at the
historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway as Nike announces the creation of
Nike Racing.

When the 2000 racing season kicks off next February, Nike Racing’s
driving standouts will include NASCAR Winston Cup’s Dale Jarrett, Bobby
Labonte and Tony Stewart, Busch Grand National Series’ Adam Petty, and
two-time Indy 500 and CART series champion Al Unser Jr. Each will wear
footwear specifically designed by Nike for the rigors of driving ultra
high-performance racing machines. In addition, Nike Racing will
encompass much more than designing and providing athletic footwear
technology for drivers.

Equally integral to the Nike Racing program will be footwear designed
specifically for the pit crews and garage staff (see attached release).
Elapsed time during pit stops is often the crucial difference between a
champagne shower for the driver on the victory stand and a lukewarm
shower in the motorhome.

“Racing requires athleticism both behind the wheel and over the wall,”
said Mac McDevitt, general manager of branded athletic for Nike USA.
“Nike Racing will provide drivers and crews with the footwear they need
to gain an important edge on race weekend, as well as enhance their
training regimens during the week.”

The familiar Nike ‘Swoosh’ already is no stranger throughout the pits
and paddocks of NASCAR and CART events. Race teams from both series have
chosen to take advantage of Nike footwear for their durability and
comfort. In fact, crews wearing Nike shoes have captured nearly two
dozen checkered flags the past two years.

However, these shoes, usually cross-trainers or basketball models, are
not engineered specifically for the unique demands of auto racing. Next
season, all that will change as Nike debuts a new line of performance
footwear, incorporating Nike’s patented Air Sole? technology, designed
for race car drivers and their crews.

“We’ve designed performance-enhancing footwear for world-class athletes
like Michael Jordan, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mia Hamm,” said Tracy Teague,
creative director for footwear for Nike Racing. “With Nike Racing, we
bring that same dedication to innovative design to motorsports,
benefiting both the world’s best drivers and teams, and millions of
racing enthusiasts around the world.”

NASCAR and CART constantly take steps to level the playing field when it
comes to performance by the racing machines, which therefore puts a
greater emphasis than ever on the human element. Nike Racing focuses on
the humans in and around the machine, helping them perform at the peak
of their ability by providing quality footwear designed for their unique
athletic requirements.

For that reason, the Nike ‘Swoosh’ will limited to the feet of drivers
and their teams, not on their cars. Nike Racing is not an official
sponsor of NASCAR, CART or any other motorsports series. More details
regarding Nike Racing will follow in the months leading up to the 2000
Daytona 500 next February.

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot photos and racing art, please visit The Racing Image Galleries and The Visions of Speed Art Gallery