CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 6, 2017) - Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Otsuka) announced today a collaboration that will include the pharmaceutical company's logo on both the #42 Chevrolet SS in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) and the #42 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS).
Driver Kyle Larson will meet with members of Otsuka's leadership team and the advocacy group Mental Health America on Saturday October 7th for a roundtable discussion on stress, mental illness, and the importance of monitoring mental health. Parts of that discussion will be shared on CGR's social media channels.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
• Racing Toward Mental Health Awareness: The collaboration between Otsuka and Chip Ganassi Racing seeks to raise awareness of mental illness in America, to reduce the stigma associated with mental health, and to encourage screening for mental health conditions. The race in Charlotte comes at the end of Mental Illness Awareness Week, a nationally recognized awareness week of national activities focused on encouraging mental wellness in America. A quick and easy online mental health screening is available from Mental Health America at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-screening-tools.
• Crossing Borders: This new collaboration with Otsuka pairs Kyle Larson, who is Japanese-American, with a US pharmaceutical company with Japanese roots. Larson and CGR currently have a partnership with JX Nippon, the largest oil company in Japan. Larson is the only Asian-American currently racing in one of NASCAR's national touring series.
• Playoff Push: Larson handily made it through Round 1 of the NASCAR Playoffs, picking up three top-five finishes and earning one bonus point with a stage win at Dover. This week Larson heads to Charlotte, the first race of the second round, sitting third in the playoff standings, 25 points behind the leader.
• (Forty)Two for One: This weekend at Charlotte, Otsuka will get two shots at a trip to the victory lane with the same number as it champions the race towards mental health awareness. On Saturday, Alex Bowman will pilot the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro in the NXS race. It will be the first start of the season for Bowman in CGR's No. 42 NXS car. The following day, Otsuka will again be on No. 42, but this time with Kyle Larson behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet SS.
• Steve Lauletta, President, Chip Ganassi Racing: "We are very excited to be welcoming Otsuka to not only our team, but also to the sport of NASCAR, especially given their work around mental health. Kyle's unique background allows our team the opportunity to reach out to unique partners, and we're looking forward to bringing on another company with Japanese roots to work with Kyle and the No. 42 team."
• Kabir Nath, President and CEO, North America Pharmaceutical Business, Otsuka America Inc.: "It is an honor to collaborate with Chip Ganassi Racing, Kyle Larson, and Mental Health America to champion mental wellness. We are excited for the opportunity to reach NASCAR fans and have them join us in our efforts to help drive awareness while reducing the stigma of mental illness.
• Kyle Larson, Driver No. 42 Chevrolet SS: "I'm excited to have Otsuka join our team. Mental wellness is important for all Americans, and through this relationship I hope we can help raise awareness of the impact mental illness has on all Americans, to reduce stigma, and encourage screening for mental health conditions."
• Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-8th District) - "As Charlotte Motor Speedway's Congressman, I am proud to join Otsuka, Mental Health America and Chip Ganassi Racing to raise much-needed awareness about mental wellness and health issues facing our nation. This is a huge priority for me. I serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee where I helped lead the way of passage of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act - the most transformational mental health reform law in a half-century. There is still much more work to do, and this event is an important one to raise awareness and ensure people can receive the proper screening and treatment."
• Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO, Mental Health America "For more than a century, Mental Health America has been working for prevention, early intervention, sound treatment, and recovery. We are hoping to help people recognize that early symptoms such as loss of sleep, exhaustion for no reason, feeling low, anxious, or hearing voices should lead us to take action. Our #B4Stage4 effort focuses on early intervention and we're hoping our online screenings can be a great first step. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-screening-tools."
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