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Wild Things - Madagascar Sets Sail for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series

Beginning with the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star race, things will start to get wild at the racetrack as characters from DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming film, Madagascar, join the nighttime excitement on stock car racing’s biggest stage.

DreamWorks, Joe Gibbs Racing, Interstate Batteries, The Home Depot and Action Performance Companies Inc. united to launch the Madagascar program, which features NASCAR® drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte. The film’s four principle characters – Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippopotamus – were developed into paint schemes that will decorate Stewart’s No. 20 The Home Depot and Labonte’s No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet race cars.

Stewart will debut the No. 20 The Home Depot/Madagascar Chevrolet during the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on Saturday night, May 21, 2005.

"NASCAR truly is a family sport, and the NASCAR All-Star Challenge is where we, as drivers, can put on a really good show for all of them," Stewart explained. "The No. 20 The Home Depot/Madagascar Chevrolet is sure to look good under the lights at Charlotte. And with a lion, a zebra, a giraffe and hippo along for the ride, it’ll be okay if the kids have to stay up past their bedtimes to see us in victory lane."

Labonte will drive the No. 18 Interstate Batteries/Madagascar Chevrolet during NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, on May 29, 2005. In anticipation of the race, Labonte will attend an invitation-only advanced screening of the movie at Birkdale Theater in Huntersville, N.C.

"I’m looking forward to seeing Madagascar with my family," Labonte said. "DreamWorks has produced some great family films, and I’m sure Madagascar is another good one. Hopefully, we can put the Interstate Batteries/Madagascar Chevy in victory lane."

The cross-promotion marks the second time that DreamWorks Animation has teamed with Joe Gibbs Racing in as many race seasons. Last year, the organizations showcased a pair of Shrek 2 stock cars that also saw action during the all-star and Memorial Day weekend races.

"The track at Charlotte always delivers a wild ride, which makes it a perfect fit for Madagascar," said Anne Globe, head of DreamWorks Animation Consumer Products. "NASCAR races and DreamWorks Animation films are both great events that families can enjoy together, and we’re thrilled to have such creative partnerships with Joe Gibbs Racing, The Home Depot, Interstate Batteries and Action Performance."

Norm Miller, Interstate Batteries’ chairman, added: "We’ve enjoyed a lot of professional success with DreamWorks. The last one on the No. 18 car was Shrek 2, which blew the roof off. We’re excited about teaming up again with DreamWorks for Madagascar."

Roger Adams, The Home Depot’s senior vice president of marketing, also is excited about teaming up with DreamWorks for another family-focused special program.

"The Home Depot is proud to extend its partnership with DreamWorks by featuring the Madagascar movie on the No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet," he said. "As the Shrek tie-in proved last year, it’s fun for families and customers of The Home Depot alike."

Action Performance Companies, the leader in licensed motorsports merchandise, designed the Madagascar machines and is offering die-cast replica versions of both the No. 18 and No. 20 Madagascar-edition race cars. In addition to the specialty paint scheme, each collectible comes in unique Madagascar-themed packaging. The collectibles are available through Action’s standard distribution channels. To reach an Action Racing Collectables distributor, call the locator line at 1-800-411-8404. The Racing Collectables Club of America can be reached at 1-800-952-0708 or on the Web at An authorized ARC dealer locator is available online at

"Since Speed Street and Memorial Day provide the backdrop for the NASCAR races held in Charlotte this May, both the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the Coca-Cola 600 events have a distinct family aspect about them," said Fred Wagenhals, Action Performance’s chairman, president and CEO. "The holiday break often gives families an annual opportunity to go watch the races together. Last season’s Shrek 2 racing program was something that fans and families enjoyed seeing and that the Joe Gibbs Racing teams relished sharing. This year, Madagascar should capture some of its own magic on the track, and I expect it will be another winner with NASCAR fans."

DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar opens nationwide in theaters on May 27, 2005. The film follows the story of four "wild" animals who lead a pampered existence in a New York City zoo until they accidentally are shipped to the island of Madagascar.

"Everyone here at Joe Gibbs Racing had so much fun with Shrek 2 last season, and we are just as thrilled to be working with DreamWorks on Madagascar," added Dave Alpern, vice president of marketing for Joe Gibbs Racing. "Their special programs give our employees, our fans and our sponsors something special to embrace on race day."

About Madagascar:
DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar is a computer-animated comedy starring four civilized animals – a lion, a zebra, a giraffe and a hippo – who have lived their entire lives in blissful captivity, growing up as best friends at the Central Park Zoo…until the day they are put on a boat to Africa and suddenly find themselves washed ashore onto the exotic island of Madagascar. Now, these native New Yorkers must learn to survive in this strange land and discover the true meaning of the phrase, "it’s a jungle out there."

About DreamWorks Animation SKG:
DreamWorks Animation SKG (NYSE: DWA) is principally devoted to developing and producing computer-animated, or CG-animated, feature films, as well as consumer products to support the release of its films.

About Joe Gibbs Racing:
Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the premier organizations in NASCAR, fielding three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams for drivers Bobby Labonte (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet), Tony Stewart (No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet) and Jason Leffler (No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet). JGR also has NASCAR Busch Series teams for drivers Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) and J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Vigoro/The Home Depot Chevrolet) and a diversity program for late-model drivers Aric Almirola and Chris Bristol. Based in Huntersville, N.C., and owned by Joe Gibbs, a three-time Super Bowl-winning coach, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and current coach of the Washington Redskins, the team has competed in NASCAR since 1992, winning two of the last five NASCAR Cup Series championships and more than 40 NASCAR races, including the 1993 Daytona 500 and the 2000 Brickyard 400.

Source: Action Performance Companies Inc.
Date: May 19, 2005

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