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HARDEE'S TO BE ASSOCIATE SPONSOR OF FIRST BLACK DRIVER IN INDY HISTORY Willy T. Ribbs Also Sponsored by Entertainer Bill Cosby

 ROCKY MOUNT, N.C., May 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Hardee's Restaurants announced today that it will sponsor Willy T. Ribbs, the first black driver to qualify for the Indy 500, in his bid to win the race Sunday. Ribbs also is sponsored by entertainer Bill Cosby and Service Merchandise Corp.
 Ribbs made the field this year, qualifying for the 30th spot at 217.11 mph in his Lola-Cosworth Ford (No. 75). In his rookie season of 1991 Ribbs also qualified for the race, finishing 32nd and dropping out after five laps with mechanical problems. He didn't race in last year's 500 because he lacked sponsorship.
 This year, despite handicapper Danny Sheridan's 200:1 odds against Ribbs winning the race Hardee's signed on as an eager sponsor when it learned of the opportunity only three days before the race. "Hardee's is always looking for opportunities to be associated with win-win situations," said Hardee's executive vice president of Marketing, Jerry Gramaglia. "We are behind Willy 100 percent and wish him the best. The important thing is that he is a positive role model and that makes him a winner regardless of the outcome of this race." Hardee's has built an extremely loyal customer base with its eleven-year equity in various racing programs which include past sponsorships of both Indy and NASCAR.
 Ribbs is a member of the Walker Motorsport Racing Team. His partner, Scott Goodyear, finished second in the 1992 Indy 500, 0.043 second behind winner Al Unser, Jr. Ribbs also is part of a growing legion of second generation drivers. His father, William "Bunny" Ribbs, was a pioneer American sports car driver in the late 50's and early 60's.
 Hardee's Food Systems, Inc., headquartered in Rocky Mount, N.C., operates a system of 4,000 company and franchise restaurants in 40 states and 11 foreign countries. Approximately 650 of the restaurants operate under the Roy Rogers trademark. Hardee's has expanded its hamburger and sandwich menu with fresh fried chicken, becoming the second largest chicken chain in the world.
 -0- 5/28/93
 /CONTACT: W. Maurice Bridges, Director-Public Affairs, Hardee's, 919-977-8943/


CO: Hardee's Food Systems, Inc. ST: North Carolina IN: REA ENT SU: PER

CM -- CH007 -- 3532 05/28/93 16:47 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 28, 1993
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