LOUISVILLE, KY, January 13, 2004 – KFC, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s (NYSE:YUM) announced today that NASCAR superstar and American-racing icon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., will drive the company’s major NASCAR racing sponsorship for three of the world’s leading restaurant brands in 2004.
The sponsorship agreement was inked with Chance 2 Motorsports — co-owned by Earnhardt Jr. and Teresa Earnhardt – and calls for shared driving duties between Earnhardt Jr. and his young protégé Martin Truex Jr. Each brand will have its own specially-designed car. The agreement includes 14 races in NASCAR’s popular Busch Series with paint schemes featuring KFC, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s. Earnhardt Jr. will drive for KFC and Taco Bell and Martin Truex will drive for Long John Silver’s, as well as KFC and Taco Bell.
“Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in a league of his own and overwhelmingly the most popular driver in the sport with a legion of millions of fans. He’s NASCAR’s superstar and we’re proud to partner our brands with one of the most popular NASCAR drivers of all time along with Martin Truex, a ‘young gun’ personally selected by Dale Jr.,” said Jonathan Blum, Yum! Brands Senior Vice President. “In 2003, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won ‘The Most Popular Driver Award’ with more than a third of all NASCAR fans identifying him as their personal favorite,” added Blum.
“NASCAR is the number one growth sport in the U.S., and is rated the number two sport on television behind only the NFL. Our sponsorship is a perfect fit for KFC, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s because our customers are avid racing fans, and huge supporters of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Martin Truex,” said Blum. Approximately 52 million customers visit KFC, TB and LJS restaurants each week. KFC, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s restaurants will become exciting destination places for NASCAR fans.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., the son of the late racing legend Dale Earnhardt, has quickly made his presence felt in the sport. Though Earnhardt Jr. is normally found behind the wheel of the #8 Chevrolet in NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series, he’s no stranger to the Busch Series – winning 19 races, six poles and consecutive Busch Series Championships in 1998 and 1999. In 2003, Earnhardt Jr. placed third in the NASCAR’s Winston Cup standing. The Chance 2 Team is already considered one of the top contenders for the 2004 Busch Series Championship.
While Martin Truex Jr. is a relative newcomer to the NASCAR Busch Series, he ended the 2003 Busch Grand National season with back-to-back second-place finishes and is another of the “young guns” taking NASCAR by storm. Driving for Chance 2, Truex Jr. is considered a strong threat to win the `04 Busch title.
“When Teresa and I put Chance 2 together, we agreed to be selective about who would sponsor the team. When I heard about Taco Bell, KFC and Long John Silver’s, I got really excited because I can relate to these restaurants, my friends and I eat there all the time. All three restaurants are national chains and that is great exposure for Chance 2, Martin and me” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “I also know our fans will show KFC, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s how much they appreciate a sponsorship that allows us to groom Martin into the superstar we all know he will become,” added Earnhardt Jr.
More plans from the brands to leverage this new association with Chance 2 both on and off the track will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead. For more information visit www.kfc.com, www.tacobell.com or www.ljsilvers.com.
KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands Inc. and the world’s most popular chicken restaurant chain specializing in Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy™, Colonel’s Crispy Strips® chicken and Popcorn Chicken with home-style sides and freshly made chicken sandwiches. Since its founding by Colonel Harland Sanders in 1952, KFC has been serving customers delicious, already-prepared complete family meals at affordable prices. There are over 11,000 KFC outlets in more than 80 countries and territories around the world serving some eight million customers each day. KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky. (NYSE: YUM).
Taco Bell Corp., based in Irvine, California, is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. and the nation’s leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain serving tacos, burritos, signature Quesadillas, Border Bowls®, nachos and other specialty items. Taco Bell serves more than 35 million consumers each week in more than 6,000 restaurants in the U.S. Think Outside the Bun and visit www.tacobell.com.
Long John Silver’s, Inc. based in Louisville, Kentucky, is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. and is the world’s most popular quick-service seafood chain specializing in a variety of seafood items including batter-dipped fish, chicken, shrimp and hushpuppies. Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island, Long John Silver’s, Inc. was founded in 1969 in response to growing consumer demand for quick-service seafood. Today, there are more than 1,250 Long John Silver’s, Inc. restaurants worldwide serving nearly four million customers each week.
Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, is the world’s largest restaurant company in terms of system units with more than 33,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries and territories. Four of the company’s restaurant brands — KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s — are the global leaders of the chicken, pizza, Mexican-style food and quick-service seafood categories respectively. Yum! Brands is the worldwide leader in multibranding, which offers consumers more choice and convenience at one restaurant location from a combination of KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, A&W or Long John Silver’s brands. The company and its franchisees today operate over 2,000 multibrand restaurants. Outside the United States in 2002, the Yum! Brands’ system opened about three new restaurants each day of the year, making it one of the fastest growing retailers in the world. In 2002, the company changed its name to Yum! Brands, Inc., from Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc., to reflect its expanding portfolio of brands and its ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2003 the company was recognized in Fortune Magazine’s top 50 “Best Companies for Minorities,” claiming the number-one spot for “managerial diversity.”