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JR Motorsports Shows Military Might at Daytona

(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) Feb. 13, 2008 -- JR Motorsports team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. and No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Monte Carlo driver Brad Keselowski might be driving the colors of different military services in Saturday’s Camping World 300 at Daytona International Speedway, but on the track, they’ll be carrying out a mission of teamwork parallel to the Soldiers and Sailors they represent.

Earnhardt Jr., who will drive the No. 5 National Guard car in five races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) this season, said that just like a chief petty officer in the Navy or a senior non-commissioned officer in the Guard, he has been mentoring Keselowski for his first Daytona race.

“Since we’re both on the same team, obviously we’re going to work together to help one another succeed,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “From a team-owner standpoint, just like the services we represent, we’re going to be working together toward one common goal—a one-two finish.”

“Junior’s one of the best when it comes to restrictor-plate racing, so I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have as a teammate going into Daytona,” Keselowski said. “He came down during testing and I followed him in the drafting session for awhile and was able to learn a few things. We’ve both got great cars for the race, so I’m sure we’ll work together as much as possible.”

Representatives from the Navy and National Guard motorsports programs were both quick to point out that while most NASCAR sponsors are battling against one another for exposure, having JR Motorsports represent both services in the race means better exposure for the military—which is a marketing win for all.

“We have partnered with JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series because we feel Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski both understand military service, and their profession closely mirrors the high-tech, teamwork oriented environment in which we operate,” said Captain Jack Hanzlik, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs Officer.

“I think those synergies go a long way on and off the track,” said Colonel Mike Jones, Chief, Army Guard Recruiting and Retention. “The Navy and National Guard serve alongside one another on the battlefield, and this weekend in Daytona we’ll work together to create a win-win Jr. Motorsports victory.”

Earnhardt Jr. agrees that common goals aside, there will be a healthy dose of competition among the two teams when the green flag waves.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with Sailors out the fleet, and I’ve had the chance to spend some time with Soldiers in the Guard,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I know first-hand that both are dedicated to the mission, and both are sure their service is the best. I bet there will be some spirited discussions in the pits on Saturday among the Soldiers and Sailors in uniform, not to mention the two pit crews.”

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