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Nextel Calls on Fans to Pick All-Star Competitor 


Nextel Communications Inc. announced today that fans, for the first time, will be able to vote-in a driver for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 22.

NASCAR enthusiasts will be able to vote-in a driver from the NEXTEL Open, the qualifying race for series drivers who are not eligible for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.  Traditionally, only the winner of the NEXTEL Open is allowed to advance.  Now, the driver receiving the most votes and the NEXTEL Open winner will both join the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge field and race for the $1 million winner’s purse.

Voting begins Friday, May 14 at noon and fans will be able to vote by either using a Nextel phone or logging on to  Fans voting from their Nextel phones can do so by either sending a text message to 4444, which will send a reply with a link to the fan voting option.  Another method would be to follow this sequence on their Nextel phones: Menu / Net / What’s New / All-Star Vote / Vote in a Driver.

Fans attending this weekend’s race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway and beginning Friday, May 21 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., can also vote at The Nextel Experience, Nextel’s 6,400-square-foot interactive fan destination.  The voting process will end at the conclusion of the first segment of the NEXTEL Open, Saturday, May 22.

“NASCAR fans are always looking for ways to get closer to the sport and doing that with our products and technology is one of our core NASCAR sponsorship objectives,” said Mark Schweitzer, senior vice president of marketing for Nextel.  “This is a great opportunity for fans to show their driver loyalty and not just watch the race, but have a voice in which driver moves on to the All-Star Challenge.”

Fans will have the chance to vote on the NEXTEL Open roster as it stands as of May 12, and the driver with the most votes by May 22 will join the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge field.  If the NEXTEL Open winner also receives the fan vote, then the driver with the second highest number of votes, who finished on the lead lap of the qualifying race, will advance.

The NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge is truly an all-star event made up of drivers who have won a series points race in the 2003 or ’04 seasons or have won the All-Star Challenge in previous years.  Currently there are 23 cars/drivers entered in this year’s event.  The Nextel fan vote winner will be announced during driver introductions prior to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.

“The NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge pits a select group of drivers in a unique format racing for one of the largest payouts in motorsports,” said Schweitzer.  “These elements, along with the excitement of the fans, and the suspense of finding out who will land the final coveted spot, will make for a night of racing unlike any other.”

Promotional support of this fan-interactive program will be driven through several media partners including:,, FX network, SPEED Channel and XM Satellite Radio.

Tickets for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway are available by calling 800-455-FANS during regular business hours.