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BW and MW Play April Fools' Prank on Fan

5/8/2009

MICHAEL WALTRIP AND BEST WESTERN PLAY APRIL FOOLS’ PRANK ON AN UNSUSPECTING FAN

Online Contest Gave NASCAR® Fan the Opportunity to Sing the National Anthem at a NASCAR Nationwide Series ™ Race (Sort of!)

PHOENIX (May 8, 2009) – Best Western International, the Official Hotel of NASCAR®, and two-time Daytona 500 winner, Michael Waltrip, conspired with the winner of Best Western’s second annual April Fools’ contest, Clay Bridges, to play the ultimate prank on his unsuspecting brother-in-law and diehard NASCAR® fan, Paul Clifton. The prank was captured on video and can be viewed on Best Western TV at http://tinyurl.com/dayybr.

As part of a contest hosted on www.bestwesternracing.com, Best Western, The World’s Largest Hotel Chain®, encouraged fans to submit their ideal April Fools’ prank for Waltrip to play on an unsuspecting friend or family member at a NASCAR Nationwide Series™ race. The winning April Fools’ entry was submitted by Clay Bridges of Indianapolis, who requested that Best Western convince his brother-in-law, Paul Clifton, that he would be required to sing the National Anthem at the NASCAR Nationwide Series™ race in Phoenix, in front of thousands of fans.

As Clay and Paul arrived at the track, they were greeted by a Best Western team and given a VIP tour. The Best Western team then informed Paul, as part of the prank, that he would be taken to a holding room at the track “to prepare for his National Anthem performance.” Not aware until that time that he was obliged to sing in front of thousands of fans, Paul began to panic and for the next couple of hours sweated it out.

As the beginning of the race approached, Paul was taken from the holding room to the ultra-high profile Phoenix International Raceway finish line, where drivers are announced and the National Anthem is sung. As he stood quietly rehearsing the National Anthem to himself, Michael Waltrip approached Paul, and after a few minutes “vocal coaching,” finally relieved him with the news that he didn’t have to sing and that the whole promotion was an April Fools’ prank executed by Best Western. After a great many laughs from drivers, pit crews and fans who were gathered around, Paul and Clay enjoyed the race from the Best Western pit box with the crew on pit row.

“I can’t thank Best Western and Michael Waltrip Racing enough for this unforgettable experience,” said Bridges of April Fools’ winner Paul Clifton. “It was such a cleverly executed April Fools’ prank that I’m positive Paul will be getting me back big-time next year!”

The entire April Fools’ prank was captured on video and uploaded to Best WesternTV, Best Western’s official YouTube brand channel. The finished video can be viewed by clicking on the following link: http://tinyurl.com/dayybr.

As the OFFICIAL HOTEL of NASCAR since 2004, Best Western has continued to provide race fans with everything they need for an enjoyable and affordable weekend at the races, including breakfast, free high-speed Internet, free in-room coffee, and a comfortable stay. As more and more families continue to feel the pinch of tough economic times, Best Western is helping race fans save money so they can still travel and enjoy the races around the country. Fans who join the free Speed Rewards loyalty program for race fans earn points towards free nights and save an estimated ten percent on every booking. To join Speed Rewards and find out more about what Best Western is doing to support race fans, log onto www.bestwesternracing.com.

View the official April Fools’ viral video at http://tinyurl.com/dayybr.

ABOUT BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL
Best Western International is THE WORLD'S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN®, providing marketing, reservations and operational support to over 4,000* independently owned and operated member hotels in 80* countries and territories worldwide. An industry pioneer since 1946, Best Western has grown into an iconic brand that hosts 400,000* worldwide guests each night. Best Western's diverse property portfolio, its greatest strength, stems from a business model designed to give owners maximum flexibility to address market-specific needs. Equally committed to the business and leisure traveler, Best Western recently embarked on a mission to lead the hotel industry in customer care. Since 2004, Best Western has served as the Official Hotel of NASCAR®. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.bestwestern.com.

*Numbers are approximate and can fluctuate.