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NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty will hand out Hardee's chicken sandwiches on July 18.

Hardee’s enlists NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty to promote chicken sandwiches

The stock car celebrity to hand out menu items at a North Carolina restaurant

Hardee’s is leveraging many of its customers’ love of stock car racing by teaming up with NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty to promote its chicken sandwich.  

Petty, an 85-year-old native of Randleman, N.C., and self-proclaimed fan of the 1,722-unit quick-service chain, is scheduled to surprise customers at a Charlotte-area unit of Hardee’s to hand the brand’s Hand-Breaded Chicken Sandwich to customers who order it.

The seven-time NASCAR champion and seven-time winner of the Daytona 500 will be at the Hardee’s location at 4280 State Highway 49 in Harrisburg, N.C., on July 18, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

“Hopefully it’s a little bit of a surprise for Richard Petty to hand somebody a sandwich,” the racing celebrity said with a laugh.

Petty said it was actually he who approached Hardee’s about doing a promotion with them.

“We had a Hardee’s in Randleman, North Carolina, and it burnt down,” he said. “All of a sudden there wasn’t a Hardee’s around, so we kept going by and saying ‘What are y’all going to do?’ We kept an eye on it as they were building it back, got talking to the people … one thing led to another and then we just got to the main office and said ‘Hey, I’ve been using these things forever. Can we get together and do a promotion?’ Basically that’s how it came about.”

Petty said Hardee’s also had sponsored race cars on the NASCAR circuit, although not his own. “So that really got my attention,” he said. “Whenever we were out on the road we stopped at Hardee’s and got what we wanted.”

“I grew old eating them things,” he added with a laugh.

The promotion is part of marketing efforts by Hardee’s around the Hand-Breaded Chicken platform that it launched last year, starting in May with three sandwiches: A breaded and fried seasoned chicken breast with pickles and mayonnaise on a toasted potato bun, the same breast between two Belgian waffles buns topped with maple butter glaze, and the breast on the chain’s signature Made from Scratch Biscuits.

That was followed by a BLT Ranch Chicken Sandwich highlighting a dill ranch sauce at both Hardee’s and sister chain Carl’s Jr. through the summer. In the fall both chains offered the Hand-Breaded Chicken Sandwich, on a bun, biscuit or waffle bun with hot honey as a limited-time offer.

Also as part of the chicken sandwich marketing efforts, members of the My Rewards loyalty program that CKE Restaurants, parent of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., launched earlier this year, who order one of the sandwiches get an offer for a second one for $1. New My Reward members are being offered a free chicken sandwich with a separate purchase for signing up.

CKE chief brand officer Chad Crawford said in a release announcing the promotion that the tie-in with Petty was a natural fit for Hardee’s.

"Richard Petty has been a fan favorite for years and has always brought that extra flavor to the track like no one else can — just like our Hand-Breaded Chicken," he said. "We really value the authenticity of this partnership because Petty is an organic fan. Like Petty, so many of our customers have been loyal to our brands, so we are excited to give back this summer in a fun, interactive way."

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

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