FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 NHRA WELCOMES REEBOK AS SPONSOR OF TOP FUEL DRIVER CRISTEN POWELL LOS ANGELES -- Reebok, a worldwide sports footwear, apparel and equipment giant, will make its debut...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 NHRA WELCOMES REEBOK AS SPONSOR OF TOP FUEL DRIVER CRISTEN POWELL LOS ANGELES -- Reebok, a worldwide sports footwear, apparel and equipment giant, will make its debut in the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1998 as a sponsor of teen-age Top Fuel driver Cristen Powell. Powell will enter her second season driving for Team Scandia. This is Reebok's first venture in motorsports. Powell, 18, became the second-youngest winner of an NHRA professional category at a national event when she won the Top Fuel title at the Mopar Parts Nationals in May 1997 at Englishtown, N.J., two weeks before she graduated from high school. Powell, from Portland, Ore., is one of just five women to win a Top Fuel title at an NHRA national event. "Reebok's recent efforts in marketing have been recognized as being at the cutting edge of women's sports," NHRA President Dallas Gardner said. "We're honored and delighted they recognize Cristen as part of that group. The fact that they have chosen Cristen to fly their colors makes a very strong statement for the recognition of not only the women in our sport, but for the women in the grandstands supporting our sport. "This program will play an important role in the continued expansion of our fan base with not only women, but don't forget Cristen is an 18-year-old, and she has all the attributes and abilities to be a wonderful role model for young people everywhere. She will definitely be an asset to Reebok." Powell joins an elite group of female athletes sponsored by Reebok that includes WNBA basketball star Rebecca Lobo, tennis star Venus Williams and soccer standout Julie Foudy. Reebok also is a sponsor of the Women's Sports Foundation, which included Powell among honorees at its annual awards dinner last month in New York. "Motorsports is a growing and incredibly exciting opportunity to extend Reebok's technologies and commitment to being the innovator in our industry," said John Frascotti, vice president of global sports marketing for Reebok International. "We see this as a unique opportunity to provide motorsports athletes with technologically advanced products that will enhance their training as well as their race-day performances. "The success of the modern-day Reebok began 15 years ago when we addressed the needs of women who were pursuing a new fitness activity called aerobics by providing them with innovative footwear designs which addressed the unique needs of this consumer. Reebok supports female athletes across a wide variety of sports, and it's appropriate that our first motorsports program be in partnership with a female driver and her team." Powell is 14th in the NHRA Winston point standings in her rookie season despite racing a limited schedule. She competed in NHRA sportsman racing since she turned 16 in 1995. Powell is a freshman at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. "Race car drivers and their teams possess many of the same attributes as the great athletes and teams Reebok has equipped through the years," Frascotti said. "We view this initial motorsports sponsorship as an extension of our commitment to providing athletes with the very best technology and equipment." Reebok International Ltd., with headquarters in Stoughton, Mass., is a leading worldwide designer, marketer and distributor of sports, fitness and casual footwear, apparel and equipment. Principal operating units include the Reebok Division and The Rockport Company, Inc. Sales for 1996 totaled approximately $3.5 billion. -30-
-- Paul Kelly Kelly Communications/NHRA Communications (315) 673-0184 (phone, fax) firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail)