Wednesday, February 3, 2010

NASCAR to Play a Key Role in Nationwide Effort to Raise Awareness of Lung Disease

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 3, 2010) -- The National Association for Stock Car Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) has partnered with DRIVE4COPD, a multi-year public health initiative to alert millions of Americans who may be at risk for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The partnership will focus on supporting the efforts of DRIVE4COPD to raise national awareness of this common disease.

DRIVE4COPD will become the “Official Heath Initiative” of NASCAR – educating fans about this disease and providing screening at NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series™ races. Additionally, DRIVE4COPD will hold race entitlement for the season-opening NASCAR Nationwide Series™ race at Daytona International Speedway. The DRIVE4COPD 300 will take place on Saturday, February 13 (1 p.m. ESPN2).

“NASCAR cares about our fans, and we are very proud to partner with DRIVE4COPD,” said Steve Phelps, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, NASCAR. “COPD is the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting an estimated 24 million people – half of whom are undiagnosed. NASCAR fans have a history of being receptive to and involved in health-initiatives, and we believe we can make a difference in this unique partnership with the DRIVE4COPD.”

DRIVE4COPD will have exclusivity with NASCAR for promoting health initiatives and enjoy direct access to NASCAR fans and a range of fan event, marketing, public relations, research, and business-to-business assets available exclusively to official partners.

Holding the largest events in professional sports, NASCAR will contribute to the DRIVE4COPD goal to screen one million people this year. As an incentive to get involved, fans will be encouraged to answer five questions to determine if they’re at risk for COPD. Participating fans may enter a sweepstakes with the grand prize being a VIP race weekend in Daytona for the Coke Zero July race and another chance for a trip to the 2011 Daytona 500.

“As a sport reaching millions of fans across the country who are attuned to partner messages, NASCAR lends an opportune platform for DRIVE4COPD” said Jim O’Connell, Vice President of Corporate Marketing and International Development, NASCAR.

DRIVE4COPD is conducting the “Race for the Missing Millions,” a star-studded 4-day cross-country ”race” to identify the millions of people who may be at risk for COPD and don’t know it. The DRIVE4COPD Race Team is encouraging people to learn about COPD and find out if they or a loved one may be at risk. The DRIVE4COPD Race Team includes: Danica Patrick, who will compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series™ in 2010 and is the first woman to win a major closed-course auto race, along with Emmy-nominated actor Jim Belushi, Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner, Grammy Award-winning country music star Patty Loveless, and former NFL star Michael Strahan. Each team member is racing for close family members who have battled a form of COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema or both.

The campaign Web site, DRIVE4COPD.COM, contains information about COPD and the DRIVE4COPD campaign. It also has a five-question screener people can complete or send to family members and friends who may be at risk for the disease. Results from the screener can help people begin a dialogue with their healthcare provider. People can also learn more about COPD by attending one of the “Pit Stop” screening events taking place throughout the year at NASCAR races, major professional sporting events and country music concerts.

DRIVE4COPD is a nationwide health initiative to bring more awareness to the disease, led by founding sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim with partnering organizations including the COPD Foundation and the American Lung Association. DRIVE4COPD is the Official Health Initiative of NASCAR®.

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