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Darlington, SC - (February 1, 2005) The Dodge Charger dominated NASCAR and races at Darlington Raceway in the late 60s and early 70s with legendary drivers such as Richard Petty and Buddy Baker.  Now the legendary Hemi muscle car will be back on the track "Too Tough To Tame" with the new stars of NASCAR racing; Kasey Kahne, Jeremy Mayfield, Ryan Newman and others.  

The all-new Dodge Charger is expected to be in showrooms in June.  To build awareness for the Charger, the Carolina Dodge Dealers and Darlington Raceway have agreed to name the May 7th Nextel Cup Series race the "Dodge Charger 500". 

A new race logo, designed with the Charger Hemi orange color, fuels the passion of the earlier era and bridges it to today.

Jeff Egolf, President of the Carolina Dodge Dealers Advertising Association, says, "This is our 5th sponsored race at Darlington, and each one has been called the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400.  While we enjoy putting our name on the race, there is an excitement for the all-new Dodge Charger I have not seen before for a new model launch.  Because of all this excitement, we wanted to make the May 7th race a real Dodge Charger showcase, so the consumer could see and feel how great this new car is.  With displays and on-track action, race fans at Darlington will be among the first in the nation to experience the modern muscle of Dodge."

Excitement for the Dodge Charger kicked into high gear at the recently held Detroit Auto Show, as a mock shell replica of NASCAR Rookie-of-the-Year driver Kasey Kahne's No. 9 Dodge Charger was raised to reveal a production version of the Dodge Charger underneath. 

DaimlerChrysler announced that the #9 racing shell used at the Auto Show and autographed by Richard Petty, Kasey Kahne and Chrysler Group President and CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche, and the first production Dodge Charger would be auctioned off on eBay.  The auction started February 1st and will conclude on February 11th with proceeds benefiting Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Salvation Army.   Richard Petty will personally deliver the keys to the top bidder at the May 7th Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway.

The Carolina Dodge Dealers are excited about the first night Cup race at Darlington and the opportunity to introduce the all-new 2006 Dodge Charger.  As noted by Jeff Egolf, "What better stage for an introduction of the all-new 2006 Dodge Charger with a bold, provocative body style and an available 340-horsepower HEMI engine powering large 18-inch wheels.  This is as close as any production vehicle can come to taming the track "Too Tough To Tame."

The 2005 Dodge Charger 500 weekend will include practice for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series on Thursday, May 5.

Friday, May 6 will feature a full day of race action, beginning with qualifying for both the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The NASCAR Busch Series drivers will follow up their qualifying efforts on Friday evening in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200. Greg Biffle is the defending champion.

On Saturday, May 7, Darlington will host springtime Cup Series racing for the 49th consecutive year. The 2005 Dodge Charger 500 will be run under the lights in its entirety, opening a new chapter in Darlington's long and storied history. Jimmie Johnson won both NEXTEL Cup Series events at Darlington Raceway in 2004.

Tickets for all events are on sale now. For more information, call the Raceway ticket hotline toll-free at 866.459.RACE, or log onto to www.darlingtonraceway.com.

Contact:  Darlington Raceway public relations 843.395.8892

 
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