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    Bud Cans Get Revved Up

    New packaging will feature NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. through November.

    ST. LOUIS -- As if being featured on a Wheaties box wasn't good enough anymore, Anheuser-Busch Inc. has decided to give one athlete -- NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- his own cameo packaging appearance. The driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet will grace the brand's 12-ounce cans, aluminum bottles and its four- and 15-packs.

    This year marks the first time that Earnhardt Jr. will be featured on the brew's primary cans and aluminum bottles, though he has appeared on Budweiser's shrink-wrapped and plastic bottles and cans, according to a report by Food Ingredients First.

    The new metallic red aluminum bottle displays the white No. 8 logo, racing and checkered flag silhouettes and Earnhardt's signature. The bottles come in a four-pack carrier or 15-pack loose box that features the Budweiser car. The 12-ounce cans will feature Earnhardt Jr.'s image, car and red No. 8 logo. The special cans will appear only in race markets 30 days before the final 16 NASCAR Nextel Cup races, the report stated.

    "To have the number eight on them is pretty cool, and its always humbling to see my name on the Bud packaging," Earnhardt Jr. told Food Ingredients First. "I hope the special packaging will help excite the fans for our race for the championship."

    Earnhardt Jr. is a two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion, and currently is placed 10th in the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings. So far in 2006, he has driven his way to one victory, five top-five and seven top-ten finishes. For three consecutive years, Earnhardt Jr. has been selected as NASCAR's favorite driver and was recently named one of America's top-five athletes by a Harris interactive poll.

    Budweiser -- the "Official Beer of NASCAR" -- has been a title sponsor for Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 8 Chevy since 1999.

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