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Action Performance Takes ‘The Rebel’ to the Races - Company Unveils James Dean 50th Anniversary Race Program as Part of Global Media Event

No. 33 James Dean 50th Anniversary Chevrolet Monte Carlo Action Performance Companies Inc. today was part of the global media announcement of the James Dean 50th Anniversary program hosted at Southern California’s high-profile Warner Bros. Studios.

At the event, Action Performance introduced a new element to its yearlong James Dean 50th Anniversary tribute, which now will include a racing tie-in featuring motorsports stars from varied circuits. The cars, spanning NASCAR®, World of Outlaws and the National Hot Rod Association, will compete at various events this season. Action also unveiled the No. 33 James Dean 50th Anniversary Chevrolet Monte Carlo. NASCAR driver Tony Stewart will drive the car, fielded by Kevin Harvick Inc., during the NASCAR Busch Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Aug. 6, 2005.

Action Performance also announced that John Force, a 14-time NHRA funny car champion and avowed Dean fan, will showcase the James Dean 50th Anniversary logo aboard his famous Castrol GTX Ford Mustang funny car during an upcoming NHRA event. Additionally, Steve Kinser, the 19-time World of Outlaws champion, will pilot a James Dean 50th Anniversary winged sprint car during the Outlaws race at Indiana’s Lawrenceburg Speedway on Aug. 3, 2005.

Action, a master licensee of the program through the James Dean Estate and CMG Worldwide, began the primary rollout of James Dean 50th Anniversary merchandise at the SEMA show in Las Vegas last November. In addition to die-cast collectibles, the James Dean 50th Anniversary product line includes fashion apparel, headwear, accessories and gift items. Motorsport Direct, an Action Performance distributor, was selected as the company’s sole distribution partner for the Dean program.

Merchandise from the James Dean 50th Anniversary collection is available to order via a special e-commerce Web site: The site, managed by Motorsport Direct, also features news about other Dean-related festivities throughout the year.

James Dean 50th Anniversary Tour Trailer During today’s media event, Warner Bros. also showcased a five-minute movie trailer dedicated to the 50th anniversary program. Warner Bros. announced a showcase of the documentary, James Dean: Forever Young, at the Cannes Film Festival in May. The documentary, narrated by actor Martin Sheen, will play at additional film festivals worldwide and be released on DVD. The studio also used the event to announce that East of Eden, the 1955 film adapted from John Steinbeck’s novel with a powerhouse performance from Dean, will be available on DVD for the first time in 2005.

Throughout the year, fans all over the world will mark the 50th anniversary of Dean’s tragic death on Sept. 30, 1955 with a series of tribute events, including a three-day James Dean Fest being hosted in his hometown of Marion, Ind., on June 3-5, 2005.

The festival will include an appearance by the James Dean 50th Anniversary Tour Trailer. The 53-foot show trailer, which also appeared at today’s Warner Bros. Studios media event, is traveling across the country to auto shows, state fairs and several racing events with items on loan from the James Dean Estate and a full-scale replica of Dean’s infamous Porsche 550 Spyder from the personal collection of Fred W. Wagenhals.

"The James Dean 50th Anniversary program is off to an impressive start," Wagenhals, Action Performance’s chairman, president and CEO. "The Web site is hosting more than 1 million visitors each month, and the Tour Trailer is proving to be quite a draw at the events where it has been exhibited. As James Dean himself was a dedicated driver, it also seemed appropriate to honor his memory with a special Action program anchored by legendary drivers John Force and Steve Kinser and young champions Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick. I hope Dean’s fans will agree."

About James Dean:
On Sept. 30, 1955 while en route to a race in Salinas, Calif., 24-year-old James Dean, behind the wheel of the Porsche 550 Spyder, was killed in a highway accident. His death preceded the release of the most widely acclaimed film of his tragically short acting career, Rebel Without a Cause.

Source: Action Performance Companies Inc.
Date: February 8, 2005

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