Indianapolis Richie Stevens Sponsor Signs Throught 2001

Valspar inks Stevens through 2001 By Rob Geiger, NHRA Online The 196-year-old Valspar Corporation has announced a major sponsorship agreement with 20-year-old driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens through the 2001 National Hot Rod Association season.

Valspar inks Stevens through 2001 By Rob Geiger, NHRA Online

The 196-year-old Valspar Corporation has announced a major sponsorship agreement with 20-year-old driver Richie "The Kid" Stevens through the 2001 National Hot Rod Association season. Stevens, who currently drives the Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird, will begin representing the entire Valspar Corporation as his car's title sponsor at the start of the 2000 season and will promote product lines such as Valspar Refinish, Plasti-Kote, House of Kolor and Tempo with associate-sized designations.

"Our current sponsorship of Richie with the Valspar Refinish car has gone way beyond our expectations," said Vern Cantwell, the director of marketing and international sales with the Valspar Automotive Group. "The exposure we've achieved has been phenomenal.

"We've quickly learned that the NHRA reaches the consumers of our products as well as or better than any motorsport we've ever been involved with. The people that purchase our products are very in tune to the sport of drag racing and the feedback we've received from them has been tremendous. Our sales reps across the country have all reported increased awareness and interest in our products after the NHRA stages an event in their area."

NHRA President Dallas Gardner welcomed Valspar at an afternoon press conference. "We're honored and pleased that Valspar has recognized the value of being involved in NHRA Winston Drag Racing," he said. "This is not a company that you would consider as a new kid on the block as far as sponsoring motorsports goes. They've been around for a long time and we certainly hope that their relationship with Richie and the NHRA continues long after this initial contract expires. They certainly picked a great driver and spokesman to align themselves with. We're expecting big things out of Richie in the future."

Currently in his sophomore season, Stevens has already made his mark on the competitive Pro Stock division. He became the youngest national event winner in history last November at the age of 19 with his win at Winston Finals. The victory capped a stellar rookie year that included 17 elimination round wins and a top 10 finish in the points.

Without missing a beat, Stevens has remained a contender in 1999 with another national event win and 16 more elimination round victories. Earlier in the year he qualified for and competed in the Holley Dominator Duel and the invitation-only Winston All-Star Showdown. He also reset the national elapsed time mark and joined the Speed Pro 200 mph Club. During one stretch, the New Orleans native reached the final round of three straight races. He is currently in fifth place in the points.

"It's a huge honor to be representing the entire Valspar Corporation at this level," Stevens said. "I'm proud of our record on the track and I hope that I can continue to be competitive so I can show them their investment in me was a good one.

"I recently met (Valspar CEO) Richard Rompala and he told me I was doing a great job and that he enjoyed seeing me compete on TV and reading about me in the press. It totally blew me away that a man in his position took time out to watch me race. It was like meeting the president of the United States and having him say that he knows you. That was pretty cool.

"This new deal means that even more people at Valspar will be out there rooting for us at every race. I need to show them how much fun it is to win.

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