FORT MONROE, Va., - After two successful seasons sponsoring a drag racing team, the U.S. Army has upped the ante by expanding to NASCAR Winston Cup racing. In addition to sponsoring the MB2 Motorsports team, the U.S. Army today announced a formal partnership with NASCAR that will provide even more opportunities for recruiting efforts, including the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series. The U.S. Army racing team also unveiled the official black-and-gold number 01 Pontiac that will debut at the 2003 Daytona 500 driven by Winston Cup veteran Jerry Nadeau with the new crew chief, Ryan Pemberton.

"Every year we have a crucial mission of recruiting more than 100,000 bright young men and women to serve in our transforming and high-tech U.S. Army. The Army's continued involvement in high profile sporting venues and events like NASCAR racing allow us to showcase the unique door-opening opportunities of the U.S. Army to young Americans and their families," said Lt. Gen. Dennis D. Cavin, commanding general for the U.S. Army Accessions Command.

U.S. Army racing, which already includes the successful partnership with Schumacher Racing and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), helps raise awareness among America's youth of what the Army has to offer including cutting-edge training on the latest technologies. The NASCAR partnership and MB2 Motorsports sponsorship will expand further the Army's outreach to the sport's 75 million fans. The Winston Cup series is among the highest rated regular season sports on TV, according to NASCAR statistics.

"NASCAR is proud to share in the U.S. Army's recruiting mission. Through its NASCAR Winston Cup Series team sponsorship of MB2 Motorsports and driver Jerry Nadeau, its involvement with the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Presented by Dodge, and several other initiatives, NASCAR will help the Army connect with millions of Americans," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR's Vice President of Corporate Communications. "As the official military partner of NASCAR, the Army also will work with NASCAR to develop diversity initiatives that integrate with our existing efforts and reach out to all Americans," Hunter added.

Army driver Jerry Nadeau, who came up through Kart racing and the NASCAR Busch Series, is already committed to more than just winning races. In late December, Nadeau spent some time with soldiers in Afghanistan, and he plans to do much more during 2003 to further the U.S. Army recruiting mission.

"Spending time with soldiers in Afghanistan was a transforming experience for me. My father served in the Army, so I understand their values. But seeing those values in action was incredible and provided a vision of what the Army 01 racing team should be," said Nadeau.

The U.S. Army will be the sponsor of the MB2 Motorsports Pontiac for the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup race series. MB2 Motorsports is headquartered in Concord, N.C., and headed up by General Manager Jay Frye, an 11-year veteran of the Winston Cup circuit. The Pontiac car was unveiled today by the team and features a black and gold star paint scheme and carries the number 01 for a reason.

"We chose the number 01 to reinforce our slogan 'An Army of One'. The individual talents of each soldier are melded to create a single-minded team. NASCAR fans understand that kind of teamwork, because they see it in action every weekend in the pits. I firmly believe through our participation in NASCAR, they'll begin to understand that the U.S. Army lives it everyday," said Cavin.