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National Guard to Back No. 24 Busch Series Chevy in '07

CONCORD, N.C. (Jan. 20, 2007) – The Army National Guard today announced it will expand its new partnership with Hendrick Motorsports by supporting driver Casey Mears in the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series.

Mears is scheduled to make 22 starts in Chevrolets branded with the 24 number, which has not been campaigned by Hendrick Motorsports in the Busch Series since 2002. All races will be companion events with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, beginning with the season-opening Daytona 300 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

At each event, a different National Guard brigade or division will be represented through recognition on the car, identification on team uniforms and other elements. The Busch Series program will focus on the National Guard’s local recruiting efforts.

“Because NASCAR has been such a successful marketing vehicle for us, it made sense to maximize our involvement and expand our program,” said Col. Mike Jones, chief of the Army National Guard’s Strength Maintenance division. “Partnering with such a renowned team as Hendrick and a driver as competitive as Casey results in a formula of further success for the Army National Guard.”

In 72 career Busch Series appearances, Mears has earned one victory, four pole positions, eight top-five finishes and 17 top-10s.  The 2007 season will mark the seventh consecutive year he has started a race on the circuit and his first with crew chief Chad Walter.

“The competition level in the Busch Series is very high, and I’m excited about the opportunity to run more races at more tracks,” said Mears, 28, who earned his first career Busch Series win in 2006 at Chicagoland Speedway. “I’m also looking forward to bringing the No. 24 Chevrolet back to the track for Hendrick Motorsports. The National Guard has built a great program around the car, and it’s an honor for me to represent the men and women currently serving as Guard members.”

The National Guard also supports Mears in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 25 Chevrolet effort.

The National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and one of the nation’s longest enduring institutions.  The National Guard operates in all 50 states, three territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia.  For more information, visit the National Guard website at www.1-800-GO-GUARD.com.

Founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has earned 10 championships in NASCAR’s top three divisions and 149 victories in the sanctioning body’s premier series, the NEXTEL Cup. The organization currently fields Chevrolet race cars on the Cup and Busch Series circuits with drivers Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears.  Headquartered in Concord, N.C., the company employs 500 people and proudly services the sponsorships of more than 30 of the world’s most respected brands. Please visit www.HendrickMotorsports.com for more information.