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Apparel brand Izod to become IndyCar's title sponsor

November 5, 2009 | 12:38 pm

The IndyCar Series, whose drivers include Danica Patrick and reigning champion Dario Franchitti, said today that the apparel brand Izod agreed to become the series' title sponsor in hopes of widening the sport's popularity.

Izod, a division of clothing maker Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., said it signed a "multimillion-dollar" deal covering at least six years with plans to increase the media and Internet promotional efforts of the newly named Izod IndyCar Series.

Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for the series' sanctioning body, the Indy Racing League, told a news conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that Izod planned to "spend a lot of money raising the awareness of the series" and that the apparel firm had the "ability to take us into the mainstream and into the pop culture" to capture new fans.

It's the first time the IndyCar Series has had a title sponsor since 2001. The addition of a title sponsor was considered a key step in helping IndyCar racing maintain popularity against the likes of NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series and the National Hot Rod Assn.'s Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Cars race down the front straightaway in the Indianapolis 500 last May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Credit: Jim Haines / Indy Racing League