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Kasey Kahne is the new beer man, picking up Budweiser on Tuesday as the primary sponsor for his No. 9 Dodge.

The sponsorship was announced at Gillett Evernham Motorspots, where Kahne entered the event on the famed Budweiser Clydesdales.

``Budweiser has a long and storied history with NASCAR and some of its most successful drivers. We're excited about Kasey's ability to add to that outstanding lineage,'' said Tony Ponturo, vice president, global media and sports marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc.

Bud became the most valuable sponsorship in NASCAR when it teamed with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2000. But Earnhardt is leaving DEI for Hendrick Motorsports at the end of this season, and he'll announce a new sponsor Wednesday in Dallas.

``You can't compare me to Dale Jr. You can't compare anybody to Dale Jr.,'' Kahne said. ``That guy is in a league of his own. But as far as us, we can do everything possible to get better and bigger because of Budweiser than I've been before.''

Budweiser had been in discussions with majority team owner George Gillett about sponsoring his Liverpool soccer team, but the deal didn't work out. When Gillett bought majority ownership of Evernham's race team this summer, the discussions resumed about a partnership and a deal was made to sponsor Kahne's No. 9.
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