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Earnhardt to star in Disney's 'Handy Manny'

BURBANK, Calif. (March 15, 2010)—Playhouse Disney’s hit Emmy-nominated series “Handy Manny” puts the pedal to the metal with the Saturday, March 20 premiere of the series’ second primetime special, “Handy Manny Big Race,” starring Wilmer Valderrama and guest starring NASCAR fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. and N’Sync’s Lance Bass.

The show will air Saturday at 7 p.m. ET/PT on the Disney Channel. In “Handy Manny Big Race,” Manny and the tools help Elliot (voiced by Bass) fix up his used race car to enter the big Wood Valley 500 race. The car turns out better than expected, and everyone is ready to race – except Elliot, who’s too nervous to drive.  Famous race car driver Chase Davis (voiced by Earnhardt) steps in to help, but Elliot’s nerves get the best of him. With the tools as his pit crew, Manny gets behind the wheel in an attempt to win the race for the entire team.

“My 4-year-old niece is a huge ‘Handy Manny’ fan, so when Disney Channel approached me about doing this role, I did it with her in mind,” said Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet. “It was fun doing it, and being Chase Davis for a while.  I know Kennedy will enjoy seeing me on her favorite cartoon.”

Valderrama added: “Like NASCAR racing, ‘Handy Manny Big Race’ is something the entire family can enjoy together.  I am so excited that we incorporated one of America’s favorite pastimes and the legendary Dale Earnhardt Jr. into the world of ‘Handy Manny.”

A full-length preview is available on Disney Channel On Demand.  Select mobile providers also will simulcast the special in conjunction with the television premiere.  Beginning Sunday, March 21, the special will be available at Disney.com/HandyManny and on a variety of mobile VOD distributors.

A Top 10 TV series with preschoolers age 2-5, the Emmy-nominated “Handy Manny,” which is set in a multicultural, multi-generational community and follows a curriculum that models problem-solving, is available in over 140 countries and in 23 languages “Handy Manny” airs weekdays at 9 a.m., ET/PT and weekends at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., ET/PT during Disney Channel’s Playhouse Disney programming block for preschoolers. The series carries a TV-Y parental guideline.