VALVOLINE'S PLANS FOR INDY; DID WALLACE MAKE SMC STOCK DROP?
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).