Air Force officials announce NASCAR sponsorship for 2011

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Air Force recruiting officials announced Jan. 21 that they are renewing the NASCAR partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports and the No. 43 car for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

"This is our tenth season in NASCAR and we look forward to competing and winning with the Richard Petty team," said Brig. Gen. Balan Ayyar, the commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service. "This is a high-performing atmosphere that aligns with the leadership, technology and competitive spirit of our Airmen and Air Force, and we're excited about NASCAR's efforts to reach a broader audience. We certainly intend to go beyond the race track to reach supporters and fans and emphasize the speed, power, precision and teamwork that is common to both NASCAR and the Air Force."

The Air Force is both a primary and associate sponsor of the No. 43 car, driven by A.J. Allmendinger, a 29-year-old driver with two Top 5 finishes and eight Top 10 finishes in the No. 43 car during the 2010 season. The car will feature the Air Force paint scheme in two of 36 NASCAR points races this season.

Air Force recruiting officials plan on activating the sponsorship both on and off the track with Air Force flyovers, swear-insĀ of new enlistees, involvement in pre-race activities and school visits with the No. 43 show car. The show car will travel to recruiting events at local high schools, promoting mechanical and technical careers to the nation's highest performing young Americans who may be interested in serving in the United States Air Force.

"The Air Force is proud of the partnership we have had with Richard Petty Motorsports," said Col. Michael J. Tillema, AFRS chief of strategic marketingĀ and communications. "They are perhaps the most respected team in NASCAR and they have been strong supporters of the Air Force. We share a strong set of core values, hard work, discipline and the desire to win."