The Winston All-Star Team, a group of Charlotte and Concord business leaders, today outlined details of an unprecedented $650,000 campaign designed to convince NASCAR officials to keep The Winston All-Star race at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.

To date, nearly $500,000 has been raised in cash and in-kind contributions from local businesses and tourism agencies for the aggressive promotional campaign, which will also enhance NASCAR¿s popular all-star event for fans and competitors.

The Speedway also increased its promotional spending an additional $1.25 million by adding the Hardee¿s 200, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck series event on May 16, and increasing the purse for The Winston. The purse for the winner of the final 20 lap segment of the May 17 race will be $1 million, making it the richest payoff per mile in motorsports.

To kick off the effort, The Winston All-Star Team unveiled an advertising campaign with the slogan, ¿There¿s No Place Like Home.¿ Billboards, radio, television, newspapers and banners will be used to spread the word.

The multi-media campaign reinforces the fact that most of the NASCAR industry is based here in the Charlotte region, including the vast majority of the NASCAR teams, who greatly appreciate the two week ¿home stand.¿ The campaign will also point out that:

¿The Winston and the days leading up to and after the race contribute up to $100 million to the local economy.
¿While there are plenty of venues around the country willing to host The Winston, no one can market and create a buzz like the Charlotte community.

¿When you think of the Rose Bowl, you think of Pasadena. When you think of The Winston, we want you to think of the Charlotte region,¿ said Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory.

McCrory added, ¿We want to take The Winston to the next level¿to make it more than just a race. If we do it right, those 10 days in May, already the biggest economic engine in our area¿s tourism industry each year, will have an even greater impact.¿

¿The Winston was born here, has grown here and should stay here,¿ stated Concord Mayor Scott Padgett.

Tim Newman, President of Charlotte Center City Partners and President of the Charlotte USA All Star Racing Coalition, Inc., the nonprofit sponsoring organization of The Winston All Star Team, said, ¿Yes, the impact of racing to the Charlotte region¿s economy is vital but there is more to it than that. Charlotte is racing country. The Winston has blossomed into the premiere all-star event in professional sports because of the area¿s support and I have no doubt that if the race remains here it will grow to even greater heights.¿

In addition to the media campaign, The Team is planning several special events, both public and private.

On Wednesday, May 14, the group is sponsoring a Kickoff Luncheon, presented by Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, for Winston All-Star Team members, civic leaders, and NASCAR team owners and drivers at Founders Hall in Bank of America Corporate Center in uptown Charlotte. NASCAR team showcars will be on display on North Tryon Street during the event. The showcars will also be on display at Team member businesses on Thursday, May 15.

Also on Thursday, May 15, the group is planning ¿All-Star Alley¿ - a ¿block party¿ on Speedway Boulevard across from Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. Fans can meet and get driver¿s autographs, check out the souvenirs and enjoy a live concert by Uncle Kracker at 8:30 p.m. All-Star Alley is free and open to the public from 6 to 10 p.m.

On Saturday, May 17, more than 5,000 employees and their families of the race teams and other NASCAR industry officials based in the Charlotte region will be invited to The Winston All-Star Homecoming Luncheon, providing them an opportunity to enjoy time with their families on one of the few weekends a year when they do not have to travel. Country music recording star Lee Ann Womack will perform, presented by Lowe¿s Home Improvement Warehouse, at the invitation only event. The Speedway will provide tickets to those family members for The Winston that evening.

Also on Saturday, immediately prior to The Winston, The Winston All-Star Team will sponsor ¿The Little Winston,¿ in which one representative from each Team member will race a Bandelero car on the quarter mile track on the frontstretch in a format similar to that of The Winston ¿ two qualifying heats and a final.

Racing fans interested in more details should access The Team¿s website at

The Winston All-Star Team members:

Adams Outdoor Advertising
Bank of America
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated
Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Charlotte Observer
Duke Energy
Jefferson Pilot/The Link 107.9/WBT
Levy Restaurants
Lowe¿s Home Improvement Warehouse
Lowe¿s Motor Speedway
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein
Visit Charlotte