Mcdonalds Cutting Back In Cup

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. – McDonald’s, a longtime primary sponsor of NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars, has decided to scale back to the level of an associate sponsor for 2002, officials for the fast-food restaurant chain announced Friday.

Next year, McDonald’s will become an associate sponsor only for PPI Motorsports’ No. 32 Tide Ford, driven by Ricky Craven. It had served as the primary sponsor for PPI’s No. 96 Ford, driven by rookie Andy Houston, this season. It will continue to serve in that capacity for seven more races in 2001.

Houston and the team struggled through a tough season this year and most recently skipped two races at New Hampshire and Pocono. McDonald’s sponsorship is back this weekend on Houston’s car for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Houston and the No. 96 team missed qualifying for six of the first 18 races of the season. After Houston finished last in mid-July in the inaugural Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, McDonald’s decided to step back and reassess its Winston Cup program.

“McDonald’s remains committed to supporting NASCAR," said Georgina Roy, McDonald's manager of sports marketing. "We decided to revise our sponsorship package after a thorough review of our current motorsports programs and discussions with PPI. McDonald's will continue to support motorsports as the Official Drive Thru of NASCAR and as an associate sponsor of the PPI/Tide Ford through 2002."

After Indianapolis, the McDonald’s Ford will enter races at Michigan (Aug. 19), Bristol (Aug. 25), Darlington (Sept. 2), Richmond (Sept. 8), Dover (Sept. 23) and Kansas City (Sept. 30).

”We look forward to continuing our relationship with McDonald's through PPI Motorsports' Tide program," said Cal Wells, president of PPI Motorsports. "Based on this development, PPI Motorsports has begun restructuring towards a very focused one-car program for the No. 32 Tide Ford."

McDonald’s served as the primary sponsor for Bill Elliott’s teams for several years and for Junior Johnson’s race team for a couple of years in the early 1990s.

The announcement will force Wells to revamp his Winston Cup program. He added a second team for the 2002 campaign after running one team in his first season as a Winston Cup owner last year with Scott Pruett as the driver of the No. 32 Ford.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

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