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Crown Royal(R) Selects Five Brave Military Heroes For A Chance To Claim Naming Rights To NASCAR Sprint Cup Race At Richmond International Raceway

NEW YORK, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- While race fans gear up for one of the biggest spectacles of the season at Daytona International Speedway®, the makers of Crown Royal Canadian whisky, a subsidiary of Diageo plc (NYSE: DEO), today announced fans will also have the opportunity to choose one of America's true heroes to receive naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on May 1, 2010.

As part of the Crown Royal "Your Name Here" 400 contest, five finalists from various branches of the armed services have been selected to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Daytona to participate in a special ceremony to unveil the grand-prize winner, as well as attend the historic Daytona 500. The finalists, in no specific order, are:

  • Heath Calhoun, Army (retired), Clarksville, Tenn.
  • Chris Dempsey, Army National Guard, Yuma, Ariz.
  • Rick Hudson, Navy, Gulfport, Miss.
  • Georgia Powell, Air National Guard, Harrisburg, Pa
  • Brian Speach, Army National Guard, Clifton Park, N.Y.

Crown Royal begins the season as a primary sponsor of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford Fusion, driven by reigning Daytona 500 Champion Matt Kenseth. Along with all the activities surrounding the race in Richmond, Crown Royal will continue to fully integrate its "Please Drink Responsibly" messages into all of its NASCAR-themed initiatives, including its signature "Safe Rides Home" designated-driver event that has provided thousands of race fans rides home throughout the years.

This marks the first time in the four-year history of the Crown Royal "Your Name Here" program that only military service members were chosen as finalists. It also signifies the first time ever that fans will be able to cast their votes on www.crownroyal.com for whose name they think should be incorporated into the annual Cup Series event in Richmond. All the finalists were nominated by their family, friends or fellow soldiers for their ability to demonstrate the core values of the military in performing a selfless act that made them a hero.

"Crown Royal is fully committed to showing its support for military individuals that serve our country and the entitlement in Richmond is the perfect platform for us to elevate our support to the next level," said Rob Mason, Senior Brand Manager, Crown Royal. "This year's finalists are truly first-class individuals that have accomplished amazing feats while they were serving overseas or at-home. We look forward to recognizing all their achievements to ensure they truly feel like Royalty throughout their time in Daytona." 

Some of the selfless acts of this year's finalists include resuscitating a boy after drowning and helping to save a group of local nationals who were critically injured.  Fans of legal drinking age are encouraged to visit www.crownroyal.com to read a complete background on the finalists and to cast a vote. Voting ends on February 10, 2010. Media are invited to submit their individual votes to representatives of Crown Royal so they have their own voice in determining the winner.

"Richmond International Raceway couldn't be more excited to be a part of this program with Crown Royal each season," said Doug Fritz, President, Richmond International Raceway. "Allowing fans to select the winner is a great way for Crown Royal to highlight all the truly touching stories of this year's finalists. We look forward to honoring another amazing individual with everything we do during the race in May."

The winner will be announced from Daytona on February 12 with all the finalists, NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth and representatives from Crown Royal and Richmond International Raceway in attendance.

About Crown Royal

Crown Royal Canadian whisky is the number one selling Canadian whisky brand in the US by value and has a tradition as long and distinctive as its taste. Specially blended to commemorate a grand tour of Canada made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain in 1939, Crown Royal Canadian whisky's smooth, elegant style reflects its aristocratic origins and is considered the epitome of Canadian whisky. The Crown Royal Company is a primary sponsor of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford Fusion driven by Matt Kenseth. For more information visit www.crownroyal.com.

About Diageo

Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.

Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE).

For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at Diageo.com. For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit DRINKiQ.com.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

About Richmond International Raceway

Richmond International Raceway, known as America's Premier Short Track, offers great night racing action and a commitment to the fan experience. One of the most popular facilities among drivers and fans in all of motorsports, Richmond International Raceway annually hosts two NASCAR Doubleheader weekends featuring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series under the lights on a ¾-mile D-Shaped oval. The unique layout traditionally produces exciting side-by-side racing, yet drivers reach high enough speeds for a superspeedway feel. Combined with first-class amenities and a focus on the fans, guests at Richmond International Raceway can expect to experience what "Racing Perfection" truly is. For tickets to events at Richmond International Raceway, call 866-455-RACE or visit www.rir.com online.

CROWN ROYAL Blended Canadian Whisky.  40% Alc./Vol. ©2010 The Crown Royal Company, Norwalk, CT.  PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY





Contacts:

Nicole Anastasi

Gillian Cook

Aimee Turner


Taylor PR

Diageo NA/Crown Royal

Richmond International




Raceway


704.796.9992  

646.223.2326

804.228.7645


nanastasi@taylorpr.com

gillian.cook@diageo.com

aturner@rir.com






SOURCE Diageo

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