Your Name 400: NASCAR to name race after fan
NASCAR races have been sponsored by companies that make popcorn, sandwiches and soft drinks, but never before have they been sponsored by fans.
That will change next year as one lucky fan will have his or her name on the Nextel Cup Series race at the Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va.
Sources have told ESPN.com that Diageo, producers of the Crown Royal whiskey brand, will announce Friday that one lucky consumer will win that right by entering the company's contest. Fans will have to be 21 years old or older to win.
The race will tentatively called the "The Your Name Here 400 presented by Crown Royal" until the Daytona 500, when a grand prize winner will be chosen from a pool of 10 finalists.
The fan's name will be recognized by NASCAR and on television as the race's official name. The contest winner is also expected to present a trophy to the race winner in Victory Lane.
The last time anything like this happened was in Boston when FleetCenter owner Delaware North auctioned off single-day naming rights to the venue where the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins play. The company sold naming rights to the highest bidder 30 different times last winter.
As part of the NASCAR promotion, Crown Royal will make a donation for every submission received -- up to $50,000 -- to RADD (Recording Artists, Actors & Athletes Against Drunk Driving).
The brand is the primary sponsor of Jamie McMurray's No. 26 car. This year's Crown Royal 400 will take place Saturday night.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at Darren.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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