CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAMS PARTNER WITH NINTENDO AND TARGET TO SPONSOR 1,100 MILES OF AUTO RACING OVER MEMORIAL DAY
CONCORD, N.C. & INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 14, 2008)-Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced today it has partnered with Nintendo and its long-time sponsor Target, to have Nintendo’s newest video game, Wii Fit™, as the sponsor of 1,100 miles of auto racing on Sunday, May 25. Nintendo and Wii Fit become the primary sponsors on Alex Lloyd’s No. 16 Dallara Honda in the Indianapolis 500 and later in the day along with Target on the team’s No. 40 Dodge in the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C.
By sponsoring the Wii Fit 1,100, Nintendo follows Target as one of the only sponsors that will have cars competing in both races as Target has Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon starting one-two in the Indy 500 and Reed Sorenson competing in his third Coke 600 The 500 mile Indianapolis 500 is the longest race on the IndyCar Series schedule while the 600 mile Coca-Cola 600 is the same in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
· Wii Fit Combines Fun and Fitness: The active-play phenomenon started by Wii Sports™ now spreads to your whole body thanks to the pressure-sensitive Wii Balance Board™ Accessory, which comes packed with Wii Fit. Wii Fit has an extensive array of fun and dynamic activities, including strength training, aerobics, yoga and balance games. Many of these activities focus toward providing a “core” workout, a popular exercise method that emphasizes slower, controlled motions. Wii Fit also allows users to set fitness goals and track progress over time. Getting in shape has never been so much fun. The game launches on May 21 and can be purchased at any Target store.
· Memorial Day Weekend – His Time to Shine: Franchitti, who would normally pilot the No. 40 Target/Wii Fit Dodge, is still recovering from a fractured ankle he suffered three weeks ago in a Talladega SuperSpeedway racing incident. A final decision on Franchitti’s status has not been made nor has a replacement been named in the event Franchitti cannot compete in the Coke 600. Last year over Memorial Day weekend, Franchitti captured the Borg Warner trophy in the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He went on to capture the 2007 IndyCar Series championship before beginning his transition to stock cars at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS). Franchitti is one of three former Indy 500 winners running in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
· On the Biggest Stage of them All: Chip Ganassi Racing’s (CGR) development driver Lloyd will make his Indy 500 debut in a joint effort between Chip Ganassi Racing and Rahal Letterman Racing behind the wheel of the No. 16 Dallara Honda. The Brit was the 2007 Firestone Indy Lights champion after eight wins, two second-place and one third-place finish and also led the series with 399 laps led, 751 laps completed, 13 top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes (tie). He also earned five pole positions, the most of any driver in 2007, and started on the front row for every Indy Pro race where qualifying was held.
· CGR Starts off Hot: With five wins already in 2008, the team continues to add to its tally of 94 trips to victory lane. Today, Ganassi’s teams include two IRL IndyCars, and along with Felix Sabates he has three cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, one entry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and a Daytona Prototype in the world of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series racing. Ganassi’s IndyCar teams have amassed five Championships and 58 wins since 1994; his NASCAR teams have 12 wins and two Rookie-of-the-Year titles; and the Grand American team has won two Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Championships and are the three-time defending Champions of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Chip Ganassi, Team Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing:
“The Indy 500 and the Coke 600 makes for the best single day of auto racing on the calendar. These events are huge for both the IndyCar Series and NASCAR and we couldn’t be more pleased to run in both. Additionally it is great to bring on a new international partner like Nintendo, as its brand fits perfectly with our stable of drivers from all over the world.”
Steve Bickham, Manager of National Accounts, Nintendo:
“Wii Fit is an easy way for every member of the family to keep active and play together, and we felt this day of auto racing was a perfect match. A day at the races is always lots of fun, but these drivers need to be in top shape to endure the 1,100 miles that Team Ganassi will race that day.”
“This is very exciting for me as the fact that I will be in the No. 16 Wii Fit Honda is pretty cool. I love playing video games and working out. This is a great combination of the two. As far as the race goes, to drive for two racing legends like Chip and Bobby Rahal is a thrill for me. Any race car driver dreams of winning this race and I am going to relish every moment of the month. I hope some of Dario’s mojo from last year rubs off on me.”
“I’m a huge gamer and to have Nintendo’s Wii Fit on the hood of the car is a perfect fit for the 600-mile race. One of the things I’ve had to adjust to during my transition to NASCAR is the length of the races. I think most people would be surprised about how much energy and endurance it takes to drive a 3,400 lb. stock car for four hours.”