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NASCAR, ESPN rally fans behind Chase drivers

August 23, 2014, Official NASCAR news release, NASCAR.com

Collaboration launches 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR today will unveil the biggest, most engaging marketing campaign in the history of the sport to promote the all new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™. At the heart of the effort is a collaboration with ESPN that features five original television spots, an educational video, and an extensive social media push that will rally fans, teams, tracks, and partners around The Chase® like never before.

The national marketing initiative will underscore the drama and excitement of NASCAR's premier series' new 10-race playoff format unveiled earlier this year.

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"We made a bold decision at the beginning of the season to make our Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup all about winning," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. "Now that we're just weeks away from the start of The Chase, NASCAR, working closely with ESPN, is going to market with a creative platform that is just as innovative and reflective of how important this moment is for our sport."

The creative team tapped the star power of some of the sport's most compelling drivers and was inspired by their respective legions of loyal fans. The most integrated marketing effort the sanctioning body has ever put forth highlights the passion, language and motifs of competition -- establishing drivers, automotive manufacturers and their corresponding teams as unique "nations," with the fans as their loyal followers.

The fully integrated collaboration between NASCAR and ESPN is the first of its kind with a broadcast partner for the sanctioning body. Working with one agency, Ogilvy & Mather New York, NASCAR and ESPN achieve a singular vision and narrative that will extend from the track to the race broadcast.

"The campaign celebrates this bold and transformational moment in NASCAR's history, taking fans along for the ride and accentuating the drama and intensity of the new elimination format as each round unfolds." said Scott Parker, vice president of marketing at ESPN.

The first creative element to be released was an online video titled "Spreading the Word," which NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch shared across social media on Aug. 18. The two-minute video educates fans about the new Chase format, introduces The Chase Grid and begins to call together the drivers' nations.

Today, the first of five spots will be released, which follows the teams, drivers and fans from every corner of NASCAR as they gear up for The Chase. Subsequent 30-second spots will be released for each round of The Chase. The spots, which will air throughout NASCAR's postseason on ESPN and ABC, include the voices of Marty Smith, Allen Bestwick, Nicole Briscoe, Ryen Russillo, Jamie Little, Barney Hall, Scott Van Pelt, Mike Greenberg, Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace. The Chase kicks off at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 14 (2 p.m. ET on ESPN).

Fans, drivers, teams and sponsors are invited to pledge their allegiance to their favorite Chase drivers by sharing content on social media using the hashtag #MyChaseNation. Lucky fan winners will be picked to have their Twitter handle featured on their favorite driver's car at select races during The Chase.

Additionally, The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup marketing will include at-track signage as well as print and digital promotional assets that will allow tracks, team sponsors and NASCAR Official Partners to extend the campaign theme. Tying the concept together are unique flags that represent each Chase driver and their nation. The flags will be woven into the various campaign elements, including digital banners and fan memorabilia, among others, and will serve to rally fans and inspire spirited rivalry.

In January, NASCAR announced that The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be expanded for 2014 and beyond to include 16 drivers, and divided into four rounds -- the Challenger Round, Contender Round, Eliminator Round and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. A race win in the first three rounds automatically qualifies a driver for the next round.

NASCAR will crown its 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion at the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN). The top finisher among the four remaining Chase drivers will win the championship.

To view the education video "Spreading the Word," click here

To view the first television spot "Hype," click here.

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