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Johnson Lends Experience to Soap Box Derby

WASHINGTON (May 4, 2006) – In an effort to demonstrate its commitment to families and children and help introduce them to Soap Box Derby, the Levi Strauss Signature® brand hosted a Soap Box Derby car-building workshop for boys and girls of the Greater Washington, D.C., area today.

Additionally, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson was on hand to assist the youth in building their cars and to share some of his racing expertise. The 2006 Daytona 500 champion is the national spokesperson for the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD) and the Levi Strauss Signature brand, a mass channel apparel brand and title sponsor of the AASBD World Championship.

For more than four hours, youths ages 10 to 17 constructed gravity-powered cars with the help of adult volunteers from the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby (GWSBD) chapter, the largest in the United States. For some of these children, this was their first time participating in Soap Box Derby. The Levi Strauss Signature brand partnered with the AASBD to donate car kits, giving these children the opportunity to compete in the 65th Greater Washington Soap Box Derby, which takes place on Saturday, June 17, on Constitution Avenue.

“This organization promotes some of the same values that are important to our race team: teamwork, dedication, competition, perseverance and sportsmanship,” said Johnson, who is serving as the AASBD national spokesperson for the second year. “Spending time helping this group of children build their first Soap Box Derby cars and sharing my knowledge of racing has been a rewarding experience.”

The car-building workshop provided underserved children a chance to spend time with a parent or mentor and become involved with the local derby community. Participants received instruction on the various stages of car construction, which on average takes approximately five hours to complete, and closed out their day by customizing their cars. Throughout the day, Johnson was hands-on in helping each child assemble his/her car and, as a seasoned racing veteran, offered encouraging words to the new Soap Box Derby participants.

“We are always looking for ways to increase community involvement. The Levi Strauss Signature brand’s car-building workshop enabled the chapter to reach children who haven’t had a chance to take part in derby racing,” said George Weissgerber, who served as the Washington, D.C., derby director for six years before becoming an AASBD regional director. “Jimmie Johnson’s participation gave the kids a unique introduction to Soap Box Derby and an unforgettable experience.”

Established in 1933, the AASBD is the premier youth and family racing oriented program in the U.S. involving boys and girls (ages 8-17) and has been an official youth initiative of NASCAR for the past four years. Participants build their cars with help from a parent or an adult and compete in local races held year-round in over 450 cities across the country, with local champions earning berths in the All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship presented by Levi Strauss Signature held annually in July in Akron, Ohio. World champions in three racing divisions earn college scholarships (up to $5,000) courtesy of the Levi Strauss Signature brand.

“The Levi Strauss Signature brand is proud to partner with the All-American Soap Box Derby and is steadfast in its commitment to providing more opportunities for youth to participate in this activity in communities nationwide,” said Sherri Phillips, Vice President Marketing and Store Development, Levi Strauss Signature brand. “Through the Soap Box Derby, these children learn life skills they will benefit from as they grow into young adults.”

By nurturing children to become solid community citizens through the teaching of basic construction skills, teamwork, the spirit of competition, perseverance and a sense of family, the AASBD is highly respected by community leaders, educators, racing enthusiasts and beginners alike.

The 69th AASBD World Championship is scheduled to take place on July 22, 2006, with more than 500 race participants representing more than 40 states and five foreign countries (Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Guam and the Philippines).

For more information on how to become involved with the All-American Soap Box Derby visit www.levistrausssignature.com or www.aasbd.com.

About The Levi Strauss Signature® Brand
With a rich heritage of quality casual clothing, Levi Strauss & Co. developed the Levi Strauss Signature® brand. The Levi Strauss Signature® brand is distributed in more than 10 countries worldwide and gives value-conscious consumers access to high-quality and fashionable clothing from a company and name they trust. The line includes a complete collection of clothing and accessories for all members of the family and is available at mass merchants nationwide.

Since 2004, the Levi Strauss Signature® brand has been an official partner of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) and the exclusive apparel sponsor for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Jimmie Johnson.  In 2005, the Levi Strauss Signature® brand announced a partnership with the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD), to serve as title sponsor of the premiere youth oriented racing league. Johnson is also the national spokesperson for the program.

About the All-American Soap Box Derby
Akron, Ohio-headquartered All-American Soap Box Derby, founded in 1933, is one of the most established grassroots youth and family organizations in the United States.  The Soap Box Derby sanctions races year round in 170 cites and communities in the U.S. and overseas. The annual championship, the All-American Soap Box Derby presented by Levi Strauss Signature®, is held each July at Derby Downs in Akron. In the past 10 years, overall race participation (ages 8-17) has doubled, with approximately 45 percent being girls. The All-American Soap Box Derby actively promotes the core values of teamwork, the spirit of competition, perseverance and an emphasis on family. For the last three years the All-American Soap Box Derby has been an official Youth Initiative of NASCAR.

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR), which began in 1948, is the sanctioning body for one of America’s premier sports.  NASCAR is the #1 spectator sport – holding 17 of the top 20 attended sporting events in the U.S., the #2 rated regular season sport on network TV with broadcasts in 150 countries and has 75 million fans who purchase over $2 billion in annual licensed product sales. These fans are the most brand loyal in all of sports and as a result, more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport.

NASCAR consists of three major national series (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) as well as seven Regional Tours and one local grassroots series.  NASCAR sanctions 1,500 races at over 100 tracks in 38 states, Canada and Mexico. Based in Daytona Beach, NASCAR has offices in Charlotte, Concord (NC), Conover (NC), Los Angeles, New York, Mexico City and Toronto.