Mars North America has extended its contract to remain as an official partner of NASCAR into the 2009 season.

The multi-year extension will see Mars remain as the official chocolate and chocolate bar, the official cheese-filled snack and the official pet food of NASCAR through four of its leading brands.

"The relationship between Mars and NASCAR is a win-win," Suzanne Beaudoin, vice president, sponsorships and sports Marketing for Mars North America said. "Whether tailgating at the Talladega infield or having friends over to watch qualifying at Bristol, Mars wants to be part of every race experience.

"Being an official NASCAR partner illustrates our dedication to the fans, our drivers and the sport, while driving brand affinity and excitement for our brands."

The multi-year partnership aligns Mars with its existing contracts with Joe Gibbs Racing, continuing a relationship that began in 2008.

For 2009, Mars will continue to develop programmes that build relationships directly with NASCAR fans, including continuing two of its popular programmes that let fans share their passion for NASCAR to the world - one of which, the M&M's 'Most Colourful Fan' will launch at the Daytona 500.

"Mars is an important partner to NASCAR, whose many creative programs excite our fans and help our sport to grow," Jim O'Connell, vice president of corporate marketing for NASCAR, said. "Mars' commitment demonstrates the enduring value of an official NASCAR partnership. The measurable return this position brings is particularly important in a challenging economy when every marketing dollar must provide maximum value.

"With a fan base that actively supports the companies making the sport go, NASCAR sponsorship works for companies like Mars, and many other leading brands recommitting to NASCAR during difficult economic times."

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