Talladega II: Bobby Labonte preview

DALLAS, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004 -- Bobby Labonte's No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet will have the name of Camus Auto, an Interstate Batteries dealer from Derby, N.Y., on the hood of the car for the EA Sports 500 Oct. 3 at...

DALLAS, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004 -- Bobby Labonte's No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet will have the name of Camus Auto, an Interstate Batteries dealer from Derby, N.Y., on the hood of the car for the EA Sports 500 Oct. 3 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala.

IBS of Greater Buffalo, the Interstate Batteries distributorship that services Camus Auto, will also be on the special hood at Talladega.

Both were winners of Interstate Batteries' unique "500 Miles of Fame" promotion, an effort by Interstate officials to increase sales and give their dealers and distributors a chance to have their name on the Interstate Batteries hood for a race weekend.

Mike Camus, of Camus Auto and Todd Winder of IBS of Greater Buffalo will receive a paid trip to the EA Sports 500 and will meet Labonte on race morning.

"It's fantastic," Camus said. "I just can't believe it. You always read about somebody else winning."

Winder said the recognition for his distributorship is a "pretty big deal."

Dennis Brown, vice president of marketing for Interstate, said it's a significant opportunity for a business.

"Sponsorship deals in racing are very expensive and out of reach for most," Brown said. "Although we would love to recognize all of our partners, we felt it was a great way to recognize the hard work that all of our dealers and distributors do at their businesses every day."

Camus, whose father operated Camus Auto for more than 30 years, expects the exposure to help his already well-respected business.

Word of his impending fame is already getting around Derby, a town of fewer than 7,000 in Western New York near Lake Erie. The town is home to New Era Hat Co. whose products are worn by every Major League Baseball player and has employed Camus' wife for 17 years.

Camus is ready to help the town celebrate. He gets to keep the race-used hood and plans to take it on a tour of area businesses, much like winners of the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup do.

"I imagine it's going to end up in a few places with us," Camus said.

Interstate Batteries and Joe Gibbs Racing have one of the longest-running major sponsorship relationships in NEXTEL Cup racing having been together since 1991. The company sponsored Dale Jarrett's car when he won the 1993 Daytona 500 as well as when Labonte won the 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship and the 2000 Brickyard 400.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing