Miller Brewing Co. has thrown down the gauntlet to beer rival Anheuser-Busch ahead of the upcoming NASCAR race series in the US.

Both brewers invest heavily in sports marketing in the country and both sponsor a driver on the NASCAR circuit.

To spice up the 2007 season, Miller has tabled a wager to A-B on the outcome of this year's NASCAR series - with the naming rights for two top US baseball stadiums on the line.

The bet will see Busch Stadium, the home of baseball team St. Louis Cardinals, become Miller Lite Stadium for a three-game series in 2008, should the Miller Lite car finish ahead of the Budweiser car in the NASCAR series.

If the Budweiser car triumphs, however, the bet would see Miller Park, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers, named Budweiser Park for the series of matches between the two teams.

Miller approached A-B over a similar bet last year - but the Budweiser brewing giant turned its rival down.

Miller president and CEO Tom Long said the bet demonstrated the brewer's confidence in its NASCAR driver Kurt Busch. "It's too bad for Anheuser-Busch that they didn't take us up on our challenge last year, when Kurt and the team were dealing with the first-year 'new team' transition.

"Kurt already has one title, and now he and the whole Penske Racing garage are focused on adding to that total. We expect to see plenty of Miller Lite flowing in Victory Lane this year."

A Miller spokesman added that the bet highlights the brewer's position as the "able challenger" to A-B in the US market. "It's a bet that's been made to be fun and competitive at the same time," he said.