Ruby Tuesday revs up NASCAR sponsorship

MARYVILLE Tenn. Ruby Tuesday said it has formed a partnership with Penske Racing to sponsor the No. 22 Dodge car for six races in the upcoming NASCAR Nationwide Series season.

The sponsorship deal is Ruby Tuesday’s first foray into NASCAR. While the company has yet to determine the specific races in which it will sponsor the car, which is driven by up-and-comer Brad Keselowski, the Ruby Tuesday No. 22 Dodge is expected to debut April 30 at the NASCAR Nationwide Series 250 at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia. Ruby Tuesday will be an associate sponsor of the car for all remaining races.

NASCAR fans expect Keselowski to be in the hunt for the Nationwide Series championship after finishing third overall in each of the past two seasons.

“Both Penske Racing and Brad Keselowski have a proven track record of winning, and we look forward to being a big part of their continued success this season,” said Mark Young, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Ruby Tuesday.

Penske Racing founder and chairman Roger Penske was equally complimentary of Ruby Tuesday’s track record in explaining the partnership.

“Ruby Tuesday provides the finest in casual dining, and we are excited to welcome them as a Penske Racing partner in 2010,” Penske said. “Our organization shares Ruby Tuesday’s core values of quality, passion and pride, and with Brad behind the wheel, we believe this will be a winning combination in 2010.”

Racing’s enduring popularity has driven many restaurant companies to sponsor NASCAR, most recently with driver Tony Stewart appearing in commercials for Burger King. Industry brands that sponsored races and/or drivers last season included Zaxby’s, Jimmy John’s, America’s Incredible Pizza Co., Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s.

The 2010 NASCAR season begins in February at Daytona International Speedway.

Ruby Tuesday operates or franchises 896 restaurants in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and 13 other foreign countries.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected] [3].