FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 1997


DETROIT, Mich. -- NTB National Tire & Battery, Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s newest freestanding retail format, today announced its 3-year title sponsorship of the Trans-Am Championship.

"The Trans-Am racing series attracts the performance tire and wheel buyers who are our customers at NTB National Tire & Battery," said Paul Baffico, president of the Sears Automotive Group. "While NTB is quickly growing to become the nation's favorite place to buy tires and batteries, the NTB Trans-Am series is growing to be one of America's favorite racingseries. The match is perfect."

The sponsorship will begin in 1998, the 33rd year of competition for the NTB Trans-Am series, and will continue through the year 2000. Since its inception in 1966, the NTB Trans-Am Championship has provided a competition arena for stock-appearing touring(sedans) and grand touring (sports) race cars. Over a million race fans watched the 13 races on the 1997 schedule.

"We are thrilled to have NTB as our partner in the Trans-Am series," saidLes Richter, Chairman of the Trans-Am Council. "This type of sponsorship will make a significant contribution to the Trans-Am Championship at the national level. The Trans-Am Championship offers NTB a motorsports property that features a national schedule, the best TV package in road racing and exciting, identifiable cars. This sponsorship marks a new beginning for the NTB Trans-Am Championship."

NTB National Tire & Battery was officially launched in March 1997 when Sears announced that it was converting its 150 Tire America and 125 National Tire Warehouse (NTW) stores into one format, NTB National Tire & Battery. Throughout the summer, all 275 stores were converted to NTB and many new stores were opened as well. NTB plans to add 100 new stores per year with a goal of more than 700 stores by the year 2001.

All NTB stores carry national brand name and private label tires and custom wheels. Stores also sell batteries and related starting and charging accessories, including DieHard, the nation's most preferred battery. NTB also offers related ride-control services including brakes, shocks, struts, alignments and front-end repairs. Sears, Roebuck and Co. ( is the nation's largest retailer of tires and batteries through its nearly 800 Sears Auto Centers and 300 NTB National Tire & Battery locations. Under its Western Auto division, Sears sells automotive parts, accessories and related products at its Parts America and Western Auto retail stores. Additionally, independently owned and operated Western Auto Associate Stores serve rural American customers with a diverse selection of automotive and home goods.

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