Friedman Gets Richmond Race

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An elaborate ceremony today at Daytona International Speedway revealed Russ Friedman 400, a two-time Purple Heart recipient, as the grand-prize winner of the third annual Crown Royal Presents the “Your Name Here” 400 contest. When Friedman accepted the prize – naming rights to the May 2 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway – he spoke of how his efforts could not be recognized alone and that it was important to honor all the individuals who serve our country.

Friedman lives in Huntington Station, NY, and was chosen from a group of seven finalists from around the country based on a submission that detailed his experience serving in Iraq. The race at Richmond International Raceway on May 2, 2009 will now be titled “Crown Royal Presents the Russ Friedman 400.”

“Winning the Crown Royal ‘Your Name Here’ 400 contest is absolutely amazing and truly an overwhelming experience,” said Friedman. “Not only do I get to live out one of my dreams, but I get a chance to help recognize all the American soldiers who defend our freedoms on a day-to-day basis and definitely deserve a toast with Crown Royal.”

Throughout the contest, finalists submitted online or video entries describing an honorable act or achievement worthy of toasting with Crown Royal Canadian whisky. Nearly 5,000 entries were received, detailing a myriad of achievements from the heroics of firefighters to dedicated fathers going the extra mile.

“Crown Royal is excited to celebrate the accomplishments of our consumers and race fans by honoring them with a sports experience fit for a king,” said Ami-Lynn Bakshi, vice president, Crown Royal. “We’re looking forward to helping Russ share his moment in the spotlight with all the individuals who selflessly serve this country. The Russ Friedman 400 will be an event for all to remember.”

The ceremony to unveil Friedman as the winner included a 20-foot replica Crown Royal bottle featuring his name as part of the Richmond race logo and was draped with an oversized iconic purple bag for two days leading up to the announcement. A countdown clock ticked away while seven finalists waited with great anticipation as NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray and representatives from Crown Royal and Richmond International Raceway pulled down the bag to reveal the grand-prize winner’s name.

The Russ Friedman 400 will be incorporated into all official race logos, used for thousands of pieces of merchandise and recognized by NASCAR’s broadcast and media partners as the race’s official title. In addition, Friedman will take part in pre-race festivities at Richmond International Raceway, and participate in the trophy presentation to the race winner in Gatorade Victory Lane. During the race weekend he will receive VIP accommodations for himself and a guest.

Leading up to the big day in Richmond, Crown Royal will continue to remind fans to "Be A Champion. Drink Responsibly." through Safe Rides Home designated driver initiatives and other programming designed to reinforce the importance of drinking responsibly.

“On behalf of Richmond International Raceway, congratulations to Russ and a sincere thank you to him and all the members of our nation’s armed forces to whom this race is dedicated,” said Richmond International Raceway President Doug Fritz. “The partnership with Crown Royal and the ‘Your Name Here’ contest has been a huge success, and Russ is sure to be another great winner. We look forward to continuing this great tradition by having Russell join us for an exciting weekend at America’s Premier Short Track.”

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