SBD/June 6, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

The King's Speech: Petty OK With RPM Downsizing, Hopes STP Returns For More Races

STP signed a one-race deal with RPM for Sunday's Sprint Cup race in Kansas
Richard Petty "believes the decision to cut from four to two Sprint Cup teams is working for Richard Petty Motorsports,” but he would “like to see things move forward a little quicker,” according to Bob Pockrass of SCENEDAILY.com. Petty on Friday said, “Basically I was sort of a figure in front of Richard Petty Motorsports last year. Over a period of time, that kind of disintegrated and I’m (now) more involved in running the show.” One element that “could make running well easier is that improved performance always helps when seeking sponsorship.” STP was the primary sponsor on AJ Allmendinger's No. 43 car during yesterday's STP 400 at Kansas Speedway “as part of a renewed relationship between Petty and the company.” STP served as Petty’s primary sponsor during his racing career, and the company, which is “under new ownership, is looking to revive its rich motorsports heritage.” Petty: “Hopefully they’ll be back and big in racing the way that you grew up with. We are glad they came back and came back with us to increase their involvement in motorsports” (SCENEDAILY.com, 6/4).

DECADE-LONG REST: YAHOO SPORTS’ Jay Hart noted STP was “sold to a private equity firm last year” and is “once again ramping up its profile in the racing business.” STP in ‘72 “became the first nationwide company to back a driver full time when it paid Petty Enterprises $250,000 to put its logo on the hood of Richard Petty’s No. 43 for all 31 races.” Petty said, “That was like money falling out of the sky because we had never had sponsorship.” The relationship “finally ended after the 2000 season when Clorox, which purchased STP in 1998, moved in another direction.” Hart wrote the “re-emergence of the STP 43 conjures up more than memories, it raises the question of today’s full-time sponsors, which are few and far between.” With DuPont no longer serving as Jeff Gordon’s primary sponsor, the “longest-tenured relationship between driver and primary sponsor is Jimmie Johnson and Lowe’s, a relationship that dates back to the final few races of the 2001 season.” Besides Johnson, the only “current driver and primary sponsor pairing that have been together for at least five years is Denny Hamlin and FedEx.” Petty: “Economy-wise and stuff, it gets tougher for anybody to stay with anybody for that long.” RPM's deal with STP was for “just one race,” but the “hope is to add more” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/3).
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