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National Guard to Back No. 5 Nationwide Series Effort


Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 3, 2008) - The Army National Guard will continue its involvement in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2008 with a 21-race primary sponsorship of the No. 5 Chevrolets with drivers Landon Cassill and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The team will be fielded by JR Motorsports in partnership with Hendrick Motorsports.

Cassill, 18, will pilot 19 events in the No. 5 National Guard Chevys, kicking off his season Feb. 23 at California Speedway. The campaign will mark the most extensive racing action for the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native and 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate since he signed with Hendrick Motorsports in December 2006.

Providing bookends to the 2008 schedule, Earnhardt will drive the "Guard Car" in the Feb. 16 season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and the Nov. 15 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The two-time circuit champion has earned five Nationwide-level victories at Daytona.

"The National Guard is very pleased to be sponsoring the No. 5 National Guard Nationwide Series car in 2008," said Lt. Col. Diana Craun, Deputy Division Chief, Strength Maintenance Division, National Guard Bureau. "The Guard's presence at Nationwide Series races will honor America's finest Citizen-Soldiers in an exciting way by featuring a unique Unit Patch on the hood, deck-lid and rear quarter-panels of the car. Additionally, Army Guard Soldiers from these honored units will be invited to watch the No. 5 car as it reaches Victory Lane."

In 2007, the National Guard backed 25 Nationwide-level races, including each of Cassill's six starts in the series. The 2008 season will mark the kickoff of Earnhardt's relationship with the Guard, which will also be a co-primary sponsor of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series efforts.

Landon Cassill
"In 2008, the nation and the men and women of the National Guard will watch as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Landon Cassill join forces for our team in the Nationwide Series," Craun said. "Both Dale Jr. and Landon are dedicated Americans who know that success comes through hard work and total commitment to a goal. Their values and sense of pride truly represent the uncommon qualities that are commonly found in our Citizen-Soldiers."

JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports officially combined NASCAR Nationwide Series operations following the conclusion of the 2007 racing season. The No. 5 Chevrolets will be fielded full-time under the JR Motorsports banner in 2008.

"We are extremely proud to have the Army National Guard as such a prominent partner with us, not only in support of the No. 5 Nationwide cars in 2008, but also as a co-primary for Dale in the Sprint Cup Series," said Kelley Elledge, vice president and general manager of JR Motorsports. "They have an unquestionable commitment to this program, and the enthusiasm they exude with both the JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports teams is extremely gratifying.

"I know Dale and Landon will represent the men and women of the National Guard well as drivers of the No. 5 Chevrolet, and we look forward to an exciting 2008 season for JR Motorsports."

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