Gordon's new team gets bourbon backing

Updated: January 19, 2005, 4:53 PM ET
Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Taking advantage of NASCAR's decision to allow hard-liquor sponsorship, Robby Gordon said Wednesday that Jim Beam bourbon will be a backer of his new Nextel Cup team.

Jim Beam will join Fruit of the Loom in sharing primary sponsorship for the car Gordon will drive this year. Fruit of the Loom, which backed Gordon's Busch series effort last season, said Tuesday that it will sponsor Gordon in nine Cup races in 2005. Jim Beam said it will back Gordon in an undisclosed number of races and serve as an associate sponsor for additional events.

NASCAR lifted its ban on hard-liquor ads on cars in November, easing restrictions aimed at cleaning up the image of a sport that traces its roots to moonshine runners in the hills of Georgia and the Carolinas.

"We felt the time was right,'' NASCAR president Mike Helton said when making the announcement last fall. "Attitudes have changed, and spirits companies have a long record of responsible advertising.''

NASCAR has allowed beer and malt liquor sponsorships, but had restricted what liquor companies could do since the sport's modern era began in 1972. As a condition of the change in policy, NASCAR will require that liquor companies follow advertising guidelines set by the sanctioning body.

Jim Beam joins Crown Royal, which will sponsor series champion Kurt Busch's Roush Racing entry, and Jack Daniel's, which will back the Richard Childress Racing entry driven by Dave Blaney.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press