BUSCH: Rich Bickle/Aqua Velva Team Up

MOORESVILLE, NC (Feb. 22, 2000) - Rich Bickle will be tracking the scent of a NASCAR Busch Series victory this season courtesy of J.B. Williams Company and it's line of Aqua Velva men's personal care products. In an association...

MOORESVILLE, NC (Feb. 22, 2000) - Rich Bickle will be tracking the scent of a NASCAR Busch Series victory this season courtesy of J.B. Williams Company and it's line of Aqua Velva men's personal care products. In an association announced today, Aqua Velva will return to the #91 Bickle/Smith Motorsports Pontiacs for five events beginning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 4. Additional dates on the Aqua Velva NBS racing calendar include Charlotte, NC (May 27), Dover, DE (June 3), West Allis, WI (July 1) and Phoenix, AZ (Nov.4). The program is an extension of a 1999 two-race association in which Aqua Velva supported Bickle at Michigan and Miami Homestead Speedways. "We're excited to be back with Rich in the NASCAR Busch Series this season," said John Dowers, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at J.B. Williams. "We see NASCAR a great environment to market our products. NASCAR fans are loyal Aqua Velva customers and supporting Rich and the Aqua Velva Race team is a great way to bring our products closer to our customers." "We got a start on this season with two races for Aqua Velva last year," said Bickle. "We had a good car but suffered engine problems at Michigan. At Homestead, we were the fastest car in the race for a good portion of the event. If the caution flag didn't come out late in the race, we would have had a Top-5 finish. As it turned out, we still finished 11th, the first car a lap down. I think that showed everybody that we could do the job for Aqua Vevla on the race track. We hope we can do an even better job helping them tap into the NASCAR marketplace off the track as well." Getting the public's attention won't be much of a problem as Aqua Velva products are among the most recognized brands of men's personal care items on store shelves everywhere. Introduced in 1931, Classic Ice Blue Aqua Velva was one of the first men's after shave lotions on the market. The brand quickly won favor with the public and its longtime promotional slogan, "There's Something About An Aqua Velva Man," is an American advertising icon. "Over the years, Aqua Velva has enjoyed a great reputation as a quality product at popular prices," said Dowers. "The current Aqua Velva product lineup includes Classic Ice Blue Aqua Velva, Aqua Velva Ice Sport, Aqua Velva Musk, Aqua Velva After Shave and Cologne fragrances as well as Aqua Velva After Shave Skin Conditioner Gel and Aqua Velva Antiperspirant/Deodorants. We feel like Aqua Velva products provide a lot of performance for the money, just like Rich and the NASCAR Busch Series." In Bickle, Aqua Velva will have a veteran pilot with experience in the top three premiere divisions of NASCAR. The 39-year-old Edgerton, WI driver frequented the NASCAR Winston Cup ranks in 1999 making 24 starts, 19 behind the wheel of the Tyler Jet Motorsports mount and five for Melling Racing. He recorded two Top-10 finishes with a season-best seventh coming at Pocono in July. His 1999 purse money of $882,634 pushed Bickle to within $15,631 of $2 million in Winston Cup career earnings. Bickle's greatest NASCAR successes have come behind the wheel of a Craftsman Truck Series mount. Bickle steered the Richard Petty Dodge NCTS entry two poles and an 11th-place finish in the season standings in 1996 before notching three wins, four poles and a second-place finish in the points in 1997 while driving for Darrell Waltrip. Bickle enters the 2000 season with 23 career Busch Series starts. A national speed rollerskating champion as a youth, Bickle's top NBS performances heading into this season were a pole position for the 1995 Red Dog 300 at Charlotte and a fifth-place finish in the Goodys 300 at Daytona Beach, FL that same year. "I'm really looking forward to running in the Busch Series again," said Bickle. "I've switched rides and series quite a bit the last couple of years and running our own deal out of Bickle/Smith Motorsports has been a dream of ours for a number of years. You can't imagine how thankful we are that a company like J.B. Williams and Aqua Velva is giving us the opportunity to chase that dream." As for the races on the Aqua Velva schedule, Bickle is hard pressed to pick a favorite. "We're going to have the winner of the Aqua Velva 'Race To The Finish Sweepstakes' at our first race in Las Vegas," stated Bickle. "That was a promotion we did with Aqua Velva last year and those kind of things are always a lot of fun for the team and the winner. Charlotte is my home track, I love that place. We've got a Busch Pole Award there in '95 and we'd like nothing better than to get another there. Dover is a challenging track, a lot like a place back in Wisconsin called Slinger Speedway. It's fast, tight and exciting to race. "Milwaukee is always a blast. Wisconsin's home for me, so we'll get a lot of attention there. That's perfect because I just found out that Aqua Velva's biggest market share in the United States is the Milwaukee market. We'll have a ton of fans there. Finally, Phoenix is a carbon copy of Milwaukee, a flat, one-mile oval. I've always run well at both, so we really could surprise some people with solid performances. Throw in some great marketing programs like a new Aqua Velva diecast collectible car offer that's already on store shelves and another contest later this year that's going to put some lucky fan behind the wheel of a NASCAR stock car, and we're in for a very exciting season. "

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Drivers Rich Bickle , Darrell Waltrip , Richard Petty
Teams Williams