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Transcript from today’s Richard Childress Racing – Budweiser announcement

RICHARD CHILDRESS, TEAM OWNER, RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING

“What a great day for RCR (Richard Childress Racing).  First off, to start this press conference off, I would like to welcome Budweiser to the RCR family.  We feel like we’ve been with Budweiser for many years.  We won our first race with Ricky Rudd back in 1983 — Riverside, California — and what a day.  Those memories still go back and you look at the pictures up here.  Even before that, I think there’s a picture up here of me back in the 60s with a Budweiser in my hand.  I’ve been a big fan of Budweiser for many years.  Budweiser has such a rich history in our sport.  Over 30 years and the things that they’ve done, not just for the teams they’ve been involved in, but to carry our sport to another level gives us great pride and great honor to represent Budweiser.”

HOW DO YOU THINK KEVIN HARVICK FITS WITH THE BUDWEISER PROGRAM?:  “I think he (Kevin Harvick) fits it very well.  He’s a great spokesman for any brand.  He did a great job and is still doing a great job with Shell and Goodwrench and all the different sponsors we’ve had.  We’re excited and he’s really excited about this program, because they’re going to carry RCR (Richard Childress Racing) to a different level, I think, with the things they’ve got planned in the future.”

HOW MUCH OF A SENSE OF RELIEF IS IT TO HAVE THIS COMPLETE?:  “It’s great in today’s world and economy, you’re getting a sponsor and having a three-year program put together is really a big thing for RCR, and we’re just proud.  When Budweiser went out and started doing their due diligence and looking at different teams, we did a presentation like several teams did, and for us to be able to get the sponsorship, it really means a lot to our organization.”

HOW RELIEVING IS IT TO HAVE KEVIN HARVICK LOCKED INTO THE CHASE?:  “That’s good.  You can’t imagine what Clint Bowyer is having to go through, and that group of guys that’s on the bubble, and we’ve been there before and he’s been there.  He knows the pressure that’s on these guys.  To be locked in now, we’re going to be doing some things, trying some different stuff these last two or three races, and be ready for the Chase.”

ON A NEW CHAMPION THIS YEAR IN KEVIN HARVICK, OR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:  “That’s a great organization and Jimmie Johnson, don’t count him out in the Chase.  Jeff Gordon is having one of his better years.  Jeff Burton is having a great year, he just hadn’t been able to close the wins.  I’m excited about going into the Chase with all three cars.  Clint’s (Bowyer) team, I think they’ll hit a momentum stride.  Clint, he gets overlooked, and he was one of the contenders for the championship in 2007.  In 2008, Kevin was right up there and I think we finished fourth and we were a contender up until we had a problem there.  We’re excited about it this year.  I know we have better cars, better teams, better organization, so we’re excited.”

ON RCR COMING BACK STRONGER:  “I think there’s a certain amount of fighter still left in me, I’m getting a little older, but you still have to fight to survive and I want to win another championship for this organization.  I want to be involved in it, and that drives me.  You look at the employees sitting in here today, and this is just part of them.  It’s a big responsibility.  We had a family day the other day, and you see all the kids and wives and everything, it means a lot to me to take care of those people.”

DOES THE FIGHTER IN YOU KEEP YOU COMPETITIVE AND COMING BACK?:  “I think it is, and the two grandsons coming along now, it just makes me more excited with both of them racing, and it gets you excited to watch them.  The three drivers we have today, and with Paul Menard coming on, we’re really excited about the following year.  We have to get through this one, but we have a lot of good future for RCR, I think.”

ON KEVIN HARVICK MATURING:  “It’s like all of us, we all mature with age and experience.  I think as you go through different experiences in life, you look back and you say, ‘Man, why did I do that?’ Or, ‘Why did I say that?’  You try to be a better person, a better representative, and I think just watching that with Kevin is one of the neatest things.  I have seen how he’s matured and now he knows his responsibility as a driver in the sport, and it comes with time.  I can remember how Dale Earnhardt was in ’79 and ’80 and ’81 — he went through some of the same stuff, and it took him a few years to figure it out.”

ON KEVIN HARVICK MATURING ON THE RACE TRACK:  “I think he’s a smarter race driver today.  He’s always had a knack of being smart, but I think we look back at some of the things that happened last year, he just gets smarter every year.  You learn from experience, that’s called experience.”

DO YOU DARE TO HOPE THAT KEVIN HARVICK CAN WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND PROVE YOU WERE RIGHT TO HAVE FAITH IN HIM?:  “I think we’ve proved that part, but to win a championship, I’ve always thought he was a championship driver.  Jeff Burton will win a championship, we’re going to give him every opportunity.  We just want to be there and give all three of these drivers this year an opportunity to win that championship.  That’s all we can do and then once they get in the Chase, we’re going to give them everything it takes to try to win that championship.  I think Kevin’s proved to everybody that he deserves to be in this sport at the level that he is.”

DO YOU THINK ONE OF YOUR OTHER TWO CARS COULD WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR?:  “I think it’s a wide open thing.  I think all 12 cars, once you’re in the Chase you’ve got to feel that you’ve got a chance at winning the championship.  You’re only going to start 50 or 60 points behind whatever the person has and you can make up them points in 10 races.  I think all 12 cars, I wouldn’t count out any car that is in the Chase.”

HAS THE LITTLE KID THAT GREW UP SELLING COKES AT BOWMAN GRAY STADIUM EVER LEFT YOU?:  “Not really.  I may have to be out selling peanuts in the grandstands again someday.  I’ve just never get comfortable.  Never forget where you come from, and never forget that you may end up having to go back there again someday.”

IS THAT WHY YOU ARE ALWAYS ABLE TO REBOUND?:  “I’ve been a fighter all my life, and I’ve been in positions where I’ve had to make really tough decisions and do things.  With all the things that’s went on throughout my life, I still want it today as bad as I did in 1981 when I got out of the car.”

KEVIN HARVICK, DRIVER, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET

“Thank you.  For me, it’s a great brand to be associated with, and when you look at the legacy that Budweiser has in the sport, you really come to understand how much it means to have Budweiser in the sport.  To have it on the 29 car, and here at RCR (Richard Childress Racing), is something we’re all really proud of, and we look forward to getting in that car and driving it, and meeting all the different wholesalers and people that come to the race track.  That is a big part of what we like to do, and we’re looking forward to getting everything going.  We’re excited.  The Clydesdale, we brought the small one — I would hate to see the big one (laughs).”

 

HOW RELIEVING IS IT TO HAVE THIS BEHIND YOU?:  “We’ve been relieved about it for a while, obviously we’ve known for a while what was going to happen, we were just waiting for the timing and everything to be right.  To have Budweiser as a sponsor is something that is obviously a huge part of our sport.  To have them on our car says a lot about the job that everyone has done at RCR (Richard Childress Racing) in going out and getting a sponsorship that we need to race, and Budweiser having the faith in us to be competitive and race competitively week in and week out.  It just says a lot about RCR.  We’re excited to have Budweiser, and I’m really looking forward the new partnership.  It should be a lot of fun.”

DO YOU RECALL WATCHING THE BUDWEISER CARS OVER THE YEARS?:  “Absolutely.  The Budweiser car and the heritage that Budweiser has in our sport, like Darrell Waltrip for instance, you could just go on and on with the list of people that have driven the Budweiser car — all the way up to Kasey Kahne, Dale (Earnhardt) Jr.  It’s just a deep list of people that have driven this car.  We’re excited.  The Budweiser Shootout now has a whole lot of importance to us.  We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of success in that particular event, but every week is important. Just to have Budweiser on board is going to be a lot of fun.”

HAS THE SUCCESS OF THE SEASON SUNK IN YET?:  “It’s been a crazy year to be honest with you.  From where we were last year to where we are now, but I really think last year kind of set the tone — the end of the year set the tone for how this year was going to start.  Then it was up to us to continue that moving forward.  To see the looks on the guy’s faces and everything that comes with doing good, I think everybody respects it a little more after the year we had.”

ON THE LEGACY OF BUDWEISER IN NASCAR:  “The legacy that Budweiser has in this sport is unmatched.  Really, not only in this sport, but sports in general.  Just in the general public — everybody knows that Budweiser brand.  It’s not a local brand, it’s a worldwide brand that everybody knows.  To have that on our car is an honor and to represent all the people within the Budweiser company is something that we’re really proud of.”

ON FITTING IN WITH BUDWEISER:  “Rough around the edges is a good way to put it.  I’m a pretty simple guy, and what you see is what you get.  I’m happy to have them, and I think it’s a good match as far as personalities.  I don’t mind having a few Budweiser’s either.”

ON THE MATURING OF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING:  “I think the maturing process of the race team has been there for a long time.  After 2001, a lot of things changed, and we’ve kind of rebuilt and moved a lot of things around.  Everybody really wanted to work in the same direction, and everybody wants the same things as far as winning races and being competitive on the race track.  To see the effort that was put forward is pretty remarkable, especially to turn around a company of this size.  Richard (Childress, team owner) putting the effort and the funding into the race teams to do that is a major commitment.  We’re excited.  Everything is going our way right now, and we just need it to go that way for 13 more weeks.”

HOW MUCH DID THE TURNAROUND OF THE RACE TEAM IMPACT GAINING BUDWEISER AS A SPONSOR?:  “Everybody wants to have their cars running good.  Running up front is what it’s all about.  We all want to win, sponsors want to win, and the more you run up front, the more exposure you get.  Running good on the race track is 90 percent of what makes it go around.  We can make the stuff off the race track happen, and we enjoy that part of it, too.  If you’re making it happen on the race track, things become a lot easier.”

ON DRIVING THE CLYDESDALE TEAM SOMEDAY:  “I wouldn’t mind.  The Clydesdales are just awesome.  We had Sly in here, and he’s the smallest one at 1900 pounds, so I can’t wait to go out and see the rest of them.”

ON LEADING THE CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS AND SECURING A SPONSOR FOR 2011:  “Timing is everything.  The timing that we’ve had this year has been second-to-none on a lot of things.  To be running good on the race track is really the thing that makes it all go around.  I think that helped a lot of things progress where they needed to, and to have Budweiser on board is something that we’re all really proud of, and we are looking forward to continuing their legacy beyond the race track.”

 

MARK WRIGHT, VICE PRESIDENT OF MEDIA, SPONSORSHIP AND ACTIVATION, ANHEISER-BUSCH

ON AN EXCITING DAY FOR ANHEISER-BUSCH:  “It’s a great day, it really is.  When the horses walked out, that’s our rival I guess in the horsepower category.  Listen, we’re here today to formally announce our sponsorship of Kevin (Harvick) with Budweiser.  As Richard (Childress) mentioned, we’ve got three decades in the sport.  We have a long legacy with NASCAR and a long legacy with popular drivers as well.  We’re thrilled to add Kevin Harvick to that list of drivers and we know that he’ll add to the legacy of Budweiser and NASCAR.  Yesterday we had the opportunity with Richard to tour his facility here and it is spectacular.  We see the opportunity to work with Richard Childress and Richard Childress Racing as something very, very special.  I think I speak for everybody at the company when I say that the combination of Richard Childress Racing, Kevin Harvick and Budweiser, in brewing terms strikes the perfect balance of ingredients.  We really look forward to it and connecting this fantastic team with our family of employees and to our wholesalers across the nation is going to be something really special, and we’re looking forward to that.  Kevin, congratulations on a great season so far and your win Sunday in Michigan was a great way to kick off this press conference today.  We look forward to toasting you in Daytona as you win your third straight Budweiser Shootout.  We’re really looking forward to it buddy.”

HOW LONG IS THE TERM OF THIS DEAL AND IS IT FOR ALL 36 RACES?:  “It is a three-year agreement and it is for the entire season.  We’ll be the primary sponsor on the majority of those races.”

 

ON STAYING IN NASCAR WITH THE UNCERTAINTY OF KASEY KAHNE:  “I think people realize that Budweiser was looking and I have to tell you, Budweiser was going to be involved in NASCAR.  We were going to stay in the sport.  There was certainly some uncertainly I guess with Kasey (Kahne) going forward.  We felt like in the market right now that Kevin Harvick was clearly the number one free agent if you will.  We’re really fortunate to have the chance to land with him.  I’m glad we settled and we’re moving forward with Kevin Harvick.  I don’t know that we could have asked for much more.”

WHAT WAS THE CRITERIA BUDWEISER WAS LOOKING FOR IN A TEAM?:  “I think that is probably three-fold.  Certainly a guy with a proven track record, which Kevin (Harvick) has, a driver with the kind of personality and charisma that Budweiser was looking for going forward, and then you couple that with Richard Childress and what he means to the sport, and what his organization can bring in terms of winning, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

WHY DOES KEVIN HARVICK’S PERSONALITY FIT WITH BUDWEISER?:  “Kevin (Harvick) said it at some point today.  He enjoys the sport, he enjoys driving, and he enjoys winning, and so does Budweiser.  We just think that this is going to be a great opportunity for us to work with him and the brand going forward.  Hopefully introduce some new fans to the sport.”

DID YOUR CRITERIA CHANGE FROM PAST NASCAR SPONSORSHIPS WITH THE CHANGE IN BUDWEISER OWNERSHIP?:  “No, not at all.  The change of ownership had absolutely nothing to do with it.  What I think we’ve always felt is we want to do the best we can.  We want to win at the track and we want to do right by our wholesaler family and our employees, and we just think that between Kevin (Harvick) and Richard (Childress), that we couldn’t ask for a better marketing tool going forward with our wholesalers.”

WAS THERE ANY CONSIDERATION TO LEAVE THE SPORT?:  “No, no, there really wasn’t.  People may have speculated that, but there really wasn’t.  We work with the Bud brand very closely to make sure that we had the right combination of driver and owner moving forward, and I think we got that.  So no, there really wasn’t.”

WHAT DOES THIS SPONSORSHIP DO FOR BUDWEISER?:  “What does it do?  I think it gives us an opportunity to continue with three decades in the sport and we know that the NASCAR fan base, the current and hopefully the future fan base enjoy our product and that beer drinkers in this country are very involved, passionately involved with the sport of NASCAR.  So going forward it just allows us to continue that heritage, and we hope do it on a whole different plateau so we’re really looking forward to it.”

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