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VALVOLINE'S PLANS FOR INDY; DID WALLACE MAKE SMC STOCK DROP?
Published April 17, 1997
KY-based Valvoline will maintain a "major presence" at the Indianapolis 500 on May 25, but the "longtime sponsor will not have a red, white and blue car in the starting lineup," according to Robin Miller of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR- NEWS. Valvoline Marketing Dir Mark Coughlin: "With all the engine problems, it's hard to pick a horse in this race and there is really no handicapping them. I couldn't make a recommendation of any team that would have a reasonable chance of finishing -- let alone winning." Valvoline is in the final year of its "seven-figure deal" with ABC, and will receive 34 TV spots, including 16 during Sunday's race. Valvoline will additionally spend "six figures" at Indy on contingency prizes and also supply the "majority" of the teams with automotive lubricants (STAR-NEWS, 4/15). AROUND THE TRACK: NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace is apologizing for his role "in triggering the dip" in shares of Speedway Motorsports after he called for a "total reconstruction" of the Texas Motor Speedway during the Interstate Batteries 500, according to Liz Clarke of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Wallace: "I heard the stock took a $10-million plunge over my verbiage of saying it needed a major reconstruction, which is not the right thing to say." According to calculations by Breck Wheeler, a stock analyst at J.C. Bradford & Co., the value of outstanding shares in Speedway Motorsports "actually dropped" $26.3M after the race. Wheeler said it was "unfair to pin the drop on Wallace," but added, "I certainly fielded some calls relative to people concerned about the track because they had read in the sports pages that drivers didn't like it" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/16)....Food Lion, the official supermarket of NASCAR, is sponsoring a festival for race fans in nine cities on the '97 Winston Cup series. The Food Lion SuperFan Race Festival debuts this month featuring an interactive, mini-race festival with race simulators, show cars and race-themed exhibits and displays (Food Lion).