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Nascar's McMurray In Good Spirits With Diageo's Jeremiah Weed

Jamie McMurrayOctober 5, 2009: Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea has unveiled a deal to sponsor Nascar driver Jamie McMurray of Roush Fenway Racing in what the Diageo vodka brand is calling its "first major sponsorship." Financial terms were not disclosed.

Diageo sibling Crown Royal, which recently renewed a multiyear commitment to Roush Fenway Racing, had been McMurray's primary sponsor but moved to RFR's Matt Kenseth for 18 events beginning in 2010.

Weed's deal with McMurray begins at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct. 17 as primary sponsor of the No. 26 Roush Fenway Ford Fusion. The Nascar Banking 500 Only From Bank of America event will be the fifth round of the 10-race Chase for the 2009 Nascar Sprint Cup. Diageo said this would be the first time a vodka brand takes on primary sponsorship for a driver since Nascar lifted in 2004 its long-standing ban on hard liquor companies sponsoring teams, enabling them to join beer and malt beverages as primary Nascar sponsors.

The deal, which will come with a strong "drink responsibly" message, comes at a time when hard liquor companies are rethinking their sports sponsorships and financial spends. Richard Childress Racing said last month that Brown-Forman would not extend its relationship with RCR beyond this season, meaning they would lose the Jack Daniels sponsorship that began in 2005. And Jim Beam, sponsor of owner-driver Robby Gordon's No. 7 Toyota, said they would part ways after the 2009 season.

“In its first ever major sponsorship, Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea is thrilled to utilize Nascar as a platform to extend its Southern ideals and traditions to the millions of fans who follow the sport,” Judd Zusel, director of innovation for Diageo, said in a statement. “Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea sees a clear opportunity to elevate the brand even further by connecting with adult consumers that have an undying passion for the sport they love, and encourage them to enjoy our sweet tea vodka responsibly throughout the weekend’s race festivities.”

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