Valvoline opens new chapter in Nascar tie-ins

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Valvoline co. next year becomes the first major consumer products company ever to own a team on the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing's Winston Cup circuit, a harbinger of higher sponsorship spending on Nascar in 2001.

Auto racing insiders say Valvoline, one of the top Nascar sponsors for the past several years, weighed its options and realized owning a team might be a better overall value for the millions of dollars it spends in marketing through auto racing sponsorships each year.

"We've turned the formula around," said Barry Bronson, Valvoline's director of sports marketing. "By owning a team, we're getting more mileage out of our sponsorship and also driving additional sponsorships with new partners."

Valvoline is now lining up its own stable of co-sponsors, to be announced at the start of Nascar's season in February. Valvoline is an owner with MB2 Motorsports of the No. 10 team, newly renamed MBV Motorsports.


Valvoline's driver is Johnny Benson, who will help promote the motor oil marketer's brand plus its Eagle One and Zerex brands in promotions and advertising. Valvoline also introduced a new Valvoline Racing brand this year, backed by print advertising, marketing and licensing initiatives. Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, handles Valvoline.

Separately, this week Valvoline will announce its role as an associate sponsor of DaimlerChrysler's Dodge team, which is returning to Nascar next year for the first time since 1985, with its Intrepid model.

Dodge is expected to spend several million dollars backing its new Nascar sponsorship and will seek additional sponsorships from automotive and consumer products marketers.

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