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Blue Bunny helps NASCAR driver's campaign

Thursday, April 5, 2012

(Photo)
A NASCAR driver will be sporting the Blue Bunny logo on his racing helmet in a campaign to raise money for charities.

Jimmie Johnson, who drives the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will be showcasing the helmet this summer as part of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation's Helmet of Hope campaign.

Johnson, a five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, recently kicked off this year's Helmet of Hope campaign by announcing Blue Bunny as the 2012 title sponsor.

Wells Enterprises, the maker of Blue Bunny ice cream and frozen novelties, is headquartered in Le Mars.

"We are thrilled to have Blue Bunny Ice Cream as the title sponsor for this year's Helmet of Hope," Johnson said in a press release. "Blue Bunny and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation share the same passion for helping those in need."

Through the Helmet of Hope program, fans and media members across the nation can nominate their favorite charity to receive a $10,000 grant and the charity's logo on Johnson's Helmet of Hope race helmet.

Johnson will wear the helmet, featuring 13 chosen charities along with the Blue Bunny logo, in the June 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

The connection between Johnson and the Le Mars ice cream maker dates back several years.

"The funny thing is Mike Wells and Jimmie Johnson share a love of ice cream," said Mary Barr, a Jimmie Johnson Foundation spokeswoman.

A few years ago, Mike Wells, president and CEO of Wells, happened to read a Sports Illustrated magazine article about Johnson in which he spoke of his love for ice cream, Barr said.

"Mike reached out to Johnson's office and the relationship started there, primarily as a supporter for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation," said Liz Croston, a spokeswoman for Wells Enterprises.

Mike Wells said Blue Bunny is honored to be title sponsor for the Helmet of Hope program this year.

"The opportunity this program provides in assisting awarded organizations aligns with our company fundamentals and beliefs," he said in a press release. "We are committed to being a good corporate citizen in those communities in which we live and work by contributing our time, talent and resources."

As title sponsor, Blue Bunny representatives chose the first charity to be featured on the Helmet of Hope and receive a $10,000 grant: United Way of Siouxland.

United Way of Siouxland will dedicate the dollars to The Imagination Library.

This literacy program provides free books to area children from birth to age five, according to a United Way of Siouxland press release.

Twelve other Helmet of Hope charities will be drawn from those nominated by fans and media.

People can nominate a charity until 5 p.m. ET on May 7 at www.helmetofhope.org.

This year's Helmet of Hope campaign runs for six consecutive Sprint Cup race weekends, beginning at Martinsville Speedway in April and culminating at Darlington Raceway in May.

Each week, Johnson will draw two charities to be included on the helmet.

Of the two drawn, one will be from fan submissions and one from media submissions, the press release said.

Along with the $10,000 grant and special recognition on Johnson's racing helmet for chosen charities, this year there is a new twist.

Each will also receive a special Blue Bunny ice cream party.

That should suit Johnson, who reportedly loves "all kinds" of ice cream, according to Barr.

This is the Helmet of Hope program's fifth year.

To date, the program has contributed more than $300,000 to 49 different charities.



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