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Izod becomes IndyCar’s sponsor

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The Indy Racing League announced Thursday that clothing maker Izod will be the title sponsor of its top open-wheel series entering next season.

As part of a six-year marketing partnership, the series will be renamed the Izod IndyCar Series, giving the league its first title sponsor since 2001.

The racing league recently finished its second season after unifying with the former Champ Car World Series, and a title sponsorship was viewed as key to its growth. Top drivers in the series include defending champion Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick and Scott Dixon.

"We couldn't be more proud and excited," said Mike Kelly, the executive vice president of marketing for Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., Izod's parent company. "We see nothing but growth and opportunity here."

Izod was named the league's official apparel manufacturer in 2008 and will retain that designation. The league and Izod introduced a new vintage clothing line and announced plans for a new sportswear collection in 2010.

"Our relationship with Izod has been on the fast track since the day we began our partnership in 2008, and we are thrilled they have taken a bigger and more vital role in our sport," said Terry Angstadt, president of the racing league's commercial division.

As part of the title sponsorship, Izod will receive increased visibility on the league's two broadcast partners, ABC and Versus, and on the racing league's Web site. The deal calls for Izod to participate in the Team Enhancement/Allocation Matrix Fund, which offers financial guarantees to racing teams. Izod also will have access to a special two-seat car that will appear at parade laps at the Indianapolis 500 and other races.

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