Valvoline ups commitment to charity

Valvoline Presents $50,000 To Big Brothers Big Sisters Of America And Doubles Commitment In 2002 Benson to Drive Nationwide "Caring Hands" Program into High Gear (DAYTONA, Fla.) Feb. 13, 2002 -- Executives from The Valvoline Company...

Valvoline Presents $50,000 To Big Brothers Big Sisters Of America And Doubles Commitment In 2002

Benson to Drive Nationwide "Caring Hands" Program into High Gear

(DAYTONA, Fla.) Feb. 13, 2002 -- Executives from The Valvoline Company returned to Daytona today with NASCAR driver Johnny Benson to present Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) with a $50,000 check to further solidify their support of the "Caring Hands" program, which was established in 1999 to raise money and awareness for the country's premier mentoring program. The donation represents 50,000 handprints collected from NASCAR fans nationwide, following Valvoline's challenge last year asking supporters to either mail or fax in their handprint for a $1 donation to BBBSA.

This amount, coupled with Johnny Benson's on-track performance incentives, which raised another $30,000 en route to an impressive 11th place finish in the 2001 Winston Cup final points standings, elevated Valvoline's "Caring Hands" three-year fundraising total over $750,000.

Valvoline matches Benson's performance by donating $5,000 for a win, $2,500 for a pole, $1,000 for a top ten 10 finish, $500 for a top 20 finish and $20 for each lap led. "When it comes to racing for kids, I really don't think that there is a finish line," added Benson. "We're just anxious to pull out a $5,000 check from the hauler when we get our first win in the Valvoline #10 Pontiac Grand Prix."

The most significant change to this year's "Caring Hands" program, is the "Track Match Challenge," which raises funds for randomly selected Big Brother Big Sisters local agencies in out of race marketers. This new wrinkle, along with the existing contributions made to the BBBSA National office after each race, essentially doubles Valvoline's contribution to the program for the '02 racing season.

"In 1999 from this very speedway (Dayton International Speedway), we seeded the 'Caring Hands' program with our first donation of $50,000 and established what was the most ambitious cause-related initiative in Valvoline's 135 year history," said recently-appointed Valvoline President, Sam Mitchell. "It gives me great pleasure to update the racing community on our progress and thank the Valvoline Guys, employees, NASCAR fans and motorsports media that have continually supported this prodigious undertaking for our youth."

Following the inception of the "Caring Hands" program in '99, Valvoline, with the support of many race tracks, has held more than 35 trackside events with a "Caring Hands Wall", which encouraged fans to trace their handprint and support BBBSA. Since that time, Valvoline produced the first-ever industry-wide online racing auction with eBay in 2000 and offered a $1M bonus to the organization if

Benson were to win a pole and a race in the same weekend in 2001. "We are amazed by Valvoline's ongoing commitment to BBBSA and thank them for the momentum that has been building for our organization in the NASCAR community," said Judy Vredenburgh, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters. "When they approached us four years ago regarding trackside fundraisers, we never imagined that the "Caring Hands" program would evolve like it has, let alone raise this much support in terms of dollars and patronage."

Benson, a Michigan-native, enjoyed 14 top ten finishes the 2001 season. He is also a former American Speed Association (ASA) and Busch Grand National Champion. In addition to his serving as national spokesperson for Valvoline's "Caring Hands" program, Benson is also an "Honorary Big Brother." He will appear in several national PSA spots this season to continue to get the message out about BBBSA and the importance of becoming a mentor.

The Valvoline Company also sponsors BBBSA's national and local "Big of the Year" award, which celebrates individual Big Brothers and Big Sisters volunteers who excel above and beyond the call of duty. For more information about Valvoline's "Caring Hands" program or details on how to become a volunteer mentor, call 215/567-7000 or visit www.bbbsa.org.

The Valvoline Company, a division of Ashland Inc., has been serving American motorists longer than any other motor oil company and is a leading innovator and supplier of quality, high-performing automotive and industrial products in more than 140 countries. Best known for its lubricants, Valvoline also markets Eagle One appearance products, Zerex antifreeze, SynPower Performance Products and Pyroil automotive chemicals. The company also has a stake in the growing quick-lube market with its Valvoline Instant Oil Change unit. Valvoline is a member of the Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) family of companies. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.valvoline.com.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has been the nationally recognized leader in youth mentoring for almost 100 years. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides meaningful mentoring relationships for millions of children through its more than 500 affiliated agencies reaching 5,000 communities. National research studies prove that children with a Big Brother or Big Sister have more positive attitudes towards school, achieve higher grades and have better school attendance. In addition, these children are less likely to use drugs and alcohol and exhibit violent behavior. For more information, visit the BBBSA Web site at www.bbbsa.org.

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Series CHARITY , NASCAR-CUP