Crown Royal® and country music star rodney atkins to unveil winner of naming rights to nascar race through a special tribute IN SONG

Fans to vote on to select which of America’s finest to take center stage at Richmond International Raceway

(RICHMOND, Va.) Feb. 8th, 2011 – Before the green flag drops for the most celebrated race of the NASCAR season at Daytona International Speedway®, the racing world will be tuning into country music star Rodney Atkins to hear whose name will be splashed on the Richmond race this season. Today, the makers of Crown Royal Canadian whisky, a subsidiary of Diageo plc (NYSE: DEO), ask fans to visit now until February 11th to decide which of five American heroes will receive naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 30th, 2011.

All five finalists from various branches of the military have been selected to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Daytona to attend a special performance where country music star Rodney Atkins will unveil the grand-prize winner. The finalists, in no specific order, are:

  • Richard Coffland, U.S. Army & Army National Guard (retired), Grand Coulee, Wash.
  • Matthew Hansen, U.S. Marine Corps, San Marcos, Calif.
  • Casey Traxler, U.S. Army (retired), Mooresville, N.C.
  • Cindy Shelton, U.S. Air Force (retired), San Antonio, Texas


  • Mark Brown, Knob Noster, Mo.

Atkins will use his award-winning vocals to unveil the winner of the Crown Royal “Your Name Here” 400 contest by incorporating the winner’s name into one of his songs. Those in attendance of the event could hear the country crooner sing “It’s a welcome home parade for Richard Coffland,” or “Cindy Shelton grew up down by the railroad tracks,” it will be a surprise until the performance.

The finalists were selected from nominations submitted by friends, family and fellow comrades that illustrated what makes them a hero. Their stories include a female trailblazer in the Air Force’s information technology field, a twin who continues to serve even after his other half was killed in the line of duty, and a service member who selflessly protected members of his unit when their base was under attack. Fans of legal drinking age are encouraged to visit to read a complete background on the finalists and to cast a vote. Voting ends Friday, February 11th.

“Crown Royal has received such positive feedback from NASCAR fans on the ‘Your Name Here’ program over the years, so it is only fitting that we let the fans decide which American hero’s name will appear on the race at Richmond,” said Yvonne Briese, Crown Royal Brand Director. “Whether at home or overseas, this year’s finalists have gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve their country, and are truly remarkable human beings. We’re rolling out the “purple carpet” at Daytona to thank them for their service, and can’t wait to see the grand-prize winner’s face when Rodney Atkins sings their name.”

Along with all the activities surrounding the race in Richmond and its sponsorship of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford Fusion, driven by 2009 Daytona 500 Champion Matt Kenseth, Crown Royal will continue to fully integrate its “Please Drink Responsibly” messaging into all of its NASCAR-themed initiatives, including its signature “Safe Rides Home” designated-driver event that has provided thousands of race fans rides home throughout the years.

“The partnership with Richmond International Raceway and Crown Royal’s ‘Your Name Here’ contest has been a huge success and this year is going to be even better than ever,” said Doug Fritz, president of Richmond International Raceway.  “We look forward to continuing this great tradition by honoring another American hero at an exciting weekend at America’s Premier Short Track, April 28-30.”

The winner will be announced from Daytona on February 18th. In addition to Rodney Atkins, NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth and representatives from Crown Royal and Richmond International Raceway will be in attendance.