Hot Rod & Interestate new Gibbs sponors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 PETERSEN PUBLISHING, INTERSTATE BATTERIES ANNOUNCE ALLIANCE WITH JOE GIBBS RACING TO CELEBRATE 50 YEARS OF HOT ROD MAGAZINE LAS VEGAS -- Petersen Publishing Company and...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 PETERSEN PUBLISHING, INTERSTATE BATTERIES ANNOUNCE ALLIANCE WITH JOE GIBBS RACING TO CELEBRATE 50 YEARS OF HOT ROD MAGAZINE LAS VEGAS -- Petersen Publishing Company and Interstate Batteries have reached an agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hot Rod magazine in 998 through an innovative sponsorship of Gibbs' racing team, including primary sponsorship of the NHRA Funny Car driven by Cruz Pedregon. Pedregon will drive the Interstate Batteries presents Hot Rod Magazine's 50th Anniversary Pontiac Firebird in the 22-event NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1998. Champion Spark Plugs, McDonald's, NFL Properties and Shell will be associate sponsors. "We're extremely excited about this new partnership," Gibbs said. "Joining NHRA, Hot Rod and Interstate together forms one of the strongest, most unique alliances in motorsports. I've been reading Hot Rod forever, and now it's a part of my hot rod. Interstate has been a key partner of my racing program since it began in 1992, and their growing involvement in NHRA is very gratifying." Pedregon, 34, has finished in the top three of the NHRA Winston Funny Car point standings every year since his debut in 1992. He won the NHRA Winston championship in 1992 as a Funny Car rookie and has 17 career victories in 34 final rounds. Pedregon, from Camarillo, Calif., joined Joe Gibbs Racing in 1995. The alliance between Hot Rod, Interstate and Joe Gibbs Racing also will extend to Gibbs' other race teams. Hot Rod and Interstate will be associate sponsors on the McDonald's Dragster driven in the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series by Cory McClenathan, and Hot Rod will be an associate sponsor at select events on the Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix driven in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series by Bobby Labonte. "Hot Rod magazine and NHRA formed a special bond 50 years ago, and while each entity followed different paths, the common bond has always been performance, hot rods and drag racing," NHRA President Dallas Gardner said. "It's fitting on the 50th anniversary of Hot Rod magazine that both would reunite under the umbrella of Hot Rod magazine's sponsorship of the Joe Gibbs Funny Car in celebration of 50 years. "The fans throughout the country will be thrilled to see Hot Rod on the side of a 300-mph Funny Car. We are also very excited to see Interstate Batteries join Hot Rod magazine on the car as a major sponsor. In Joe's tenure with NHRA, he has had a dramatic impact both as a team owner and as an ambassador for the sport, and we're pleased to see his continued participation." NHRA and Petersen Publishing are exploring opportunities for developing other innovative, exciting programs besides the sponsorship of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Petersen Publishing will be a significant partner in increasing and expanding the NHRA fan base and will have a dramatic, positive effect on the growth of the sport," Gardner said. "With an integrated program of on-site involvement, NHRA's television exposure and other opportunities the NHRA can provide, we think Petersen will gain similar benefits. This truly is a win-win situation." Robert Petersen, with help from NHRA Founder and Chairman of the Board Wally Parks, founded Hot Rod in 1948. Parks served as editor of Hot Rod, the first Petersen publication. He founded NHRA in 1951 and remained editorial director for all Petersen auto magazines until 1963, when he resigned to assume full-time duties as NHRA president. Petersen Publishing, based in Los Angeles, is the largest publisher of special-interest, enthusiast magazines in the world, with more than 80 monthly, bimonthly and special titles. Hot Rod is the largest special-interest automotive publication in the world, with a monthly circulation of 750,000. "Our relationship with NHRA, Joe Gibbs, Cruz Pedregon and Norm Miller of Interstate Batteries is the cornerstone of this terrific association," said John Dianna, president of Petersen's Automotive Performance Group. "We are proud to be associated with a team that consistently displays such a winning attitude. "We have long respected what Joe Gibbs has accomplished in racing, and we are extremely excited about being involved with the Interstate Batteries-sponsored NHRA Funny Car and NASCAR Pontiac Grand Prix. We have an associate sponsor position on the McDonald's-sponsored, Cory McClenathan-driven Top Fuel dragster that rounds out the Joe Gibbs Racing stable. This will be a very exciting anniversary year for Hot Rod, and we couldn't be more pleased with this association. This sponsorship agreement marks a milestone for Hot Rod, as well as illustrates the total industry commitment of the new Petersen Publishing Company." Interstate Batteries, founded in 1950, is based in Dallas. The company produces the No. 1 replacement battery in America, as more than 10 million Interstate batteries were sold in 1995. More than 330 Interstate distributors service more than 200,000 retail accounts throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. "Interstate has been an associate sponsor on Cruz's car for the past three years, and I am extremely excited to work with Hot Rod magazine and step up to our own car in the NHRA series," said Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries. "Hot Rod is considered the No. 1 magazine for drag racing, and I feel we're No. 1 in batteries, so combined with Joe Gibbs Racing and the NHRA we will really 'crank it up' in 1998." -30-

11/3/97-GR45-180

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