ATLANTA (AP) _ One day after NASCAR made a legal request for permission to remove AT&T from the Nextel Cup series in 2008, AT&T made a strong statement it plans to stick around.
AT&T announced it has exercised an option for a three-year extension with Richard Childress Racing to remain the primary sponsor of Jeff Burton's No. 31 car through the 2010 season. Financial terms were not announced.
Burton, meanwhile, has agreed on a contract extension with RCR.
San Antonio-based AT&T's announcement followed another legal move by NASCAR, which continues to try to protect its 10-year, $700 million primary sponsorship deal with Nextel. NASCAR claims the arrangement was designed to give Nextel exclusive rights among telecommunications companies.
Cingular and Alltel had previous sponsorship deals which thus far have been protected by the courts. U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob issued a preliminary injunction last month that allowed the Cingular logos on Burton's Chevrolet to be changed to AT&T markings.
Shoob also barred NASCAR and any entity affiliated with it from interfering with AT&T's rights as primary sponsor of the car in the Nextel Cup series.
On Sunday, NASCAR asked for a minimum of $100 million in damages in a counter claim against AT&T Inc.
The suit also asks that NASCAR be granted the right to kick AT&T _ and all telecommunications companies other than Nextel _ out of its top series in 2008.
NASCAR alleges breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation, and conspiracy to aid and abet wrongful interference with Nextel.
AT&T showed Monday it will continue to make plans to remain in NASCAR's premier series.
``As longtime supporters of racing and its fans, we are very pleased to continue our involvement with the sport as a team sponsor in the wireless category,'' said Dave Garver, executive director of high growth segments and sponsorships for the wireless division at AT&T.
``We've enjoyed our relationship with Jeff and RCR, and look forward to continuing to work with them through many more winning seasons.''
Cingular, and now AT&T, have been the primary sponsor of the No. 31 car since 2002.
``AT&T has been an important part of RCR since 2002, so we're very excited about renewing our contract with them and continuing that great relationship,'' Richard Childress said.
``AT&T has been a tremendous supporter of RCR's fans and racing fans throughout the sport for more than a decade and I am eager to turn our full attention back to winning a championship.''
Burton began driving for RCR in 2004 and was named the driver of the No. 31 car for the 2005 season. He has two wins, four poles, 15 top-five finishes and 33 top-10 finishes in 85 races.
Burton said AT&T has ``been a great company to work with.''