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'Little E' becomes the 'Bud Man'
Mooresville, North Carolina (September 21, 1998)

Budweiser's August A. Busch IV, left, congratulates Dale Earnhardt Jr. following the announcement of their multi-year sponsorship agreement.

Two renowned names in motorsports -- Earnhardt and Budweiser -- are teaming up, and the match promises to be a formidable presence at race tracks around the country into the next century.

Budweiser, the "Official Beer of NASCAR," today announced it has signed Dale Earnhardt Jr. to drive for the brand on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series through 2004. Earnhardt Jr., the current NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division point leader, will drive a Budweiser-sponsored car in five select races on NASCAR's premier circuit in 1999 while racing a full NASCAR Busch Series schedule.

He will move to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series full time in the year 2000. His 1999 NWC schedule and the number of the car, which will be owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc., will be announced at a later date.

Budweiser is expected to conclude its association with Hendrick Motorsports, where it currently sponsor the No. 50 Chevrolet driven by Wally Dallenbach, at the conclusion of the 1999 season. A driver for the Budweiser Chevrolet for 1999 has not yet been announced.

"This is a great day for Anheuser-Busch and everyone involved in the Budweiser motorsports program," said August A. Busch IV, vice president of marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. "Dale Jr. has distinguished himself in the NASCAR Busch Series and we believe he is poised to become the next star in NASCAR Winston Cup racing.

"Anheuser-Busch has had an outstanding relationship with Dale Earnhardt and the Earnhardt family over the years, and we welcome Dale Jr. to the Budweiser team. We're looking forward to a long, successful partnership."

In the 23-year-old Earnhardt Jr., Budweiser has teamed with one of NASCAR's most promising young drivers. In 26 races this year, his first full season on the NASCAR Busch Series, Dale Jr. has six wins, 13 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. Following Saturday's MBNA Gold 200 at Dover Downs International Speedway, he unofficially held a 97-point lead over second-place Matt Kenseth in the NASCAR Busch Series standings.

"This whole year has been like one big ride," Earnhardt Jr. said. "A year ago I never thought I would be driving a car prepared on this scale and sponsored by one of the most prestigious sponsors in the whole sport. I'm thankful Budweiser has enough confidence in me to get the job done, and I'm going to do my best to make everyone proud."

Budweiser's sponsorship of Earnhardt Jr. extends Anheuser-Busch's long relationship with seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt and the Earnhardt family. The NASCAR Busch Series was born in 1982 -- it was originally called the NASCAR Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series -- and the first race was won by Earnhardt.

In recent years, Earnhardt has served as a spokesman for Anheuser-Busch and been involved with a variety of promotions and advertising campaigns for the world's largest brewer.

"It's an honor for all of us at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to partner with Budweiser," Earnhardt said. "I've had a very close relationship with Anheuser-Busch for a number of years and it's an incredible company to be associated with.

"As a parent, you always want the best for your children and I feel like that's what we're doing here for Dale Jr. and his career. I have a lot to be proud of and Budweiser's support guarantees he'll be starting his Winston Cup career with the best of everything. That makes me happy as his father.

"As a driver, it's one more of these young guns that I have to beat."

As part of his deal with Budweiser, Earnhardt Jr. will be featured in an extensive line of point-of-sale materials and licensed merchandise for the "King of Beers." He also will appear in a variety of advertising and promotional campaigns for Budweiser and the brand's status as the Official Beer of NASCAR.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be in a Winston Cup car so soon," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I appreciate everything my dad and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. have done for me to make this happen. That's a good motivator for me to go out and do the best I can. I want to show everyone they've made a good investment."

In addition to being the Official Beer of NASCAR, Budweiser sponsors the annual Bud Shootout and the NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series Bud Pole Awards. The brand supports its NASCAR sponsorship with a full line of racing themed advertising, merchandise and point-of-sale materials.