MONRO renews with Innovative, Santerre HARRISBURG, N.C. (Jan. 29, 1999) Monro Muffler Brake & Service and Speedy Auto Service, based in Rochester, N.Y., have renewed their sponsorship of the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division ...
MONRO renews with Innovative, Santerre
HARRISBURG, N.C. (Jan. 29, 1999) Monro Muffler Brake & Service and Speedy Auto Service, based in Rochester, N.Y., have renewed their sponsorship of the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Raybestos Rookie of the Year Andy Santerre and his team, Innovative Motorsports, for 1999 with an option for 2000. Monro and Speedy combines more than 550 company-owned and operated stores that provide automobile repair services for domestic and foreign passenger cars, light trucks and vans. The company began its NASCAR involvement in 1997 by sponsoring Santerre, a native of Cherryfield, Maine, in the Busch North Series, a part of the NASCAR Touring Division. The backing of Monro allowed the 30-year-old Santerre to move south and chase his racing dreams on the NASCAR Busch Series. "Monro is the main reason I am now the 1998 Raybestos Rookie of the Year," Santerre said. "I was close to the end of my dream in 1997 when the financial burden of owning my own team was becoming too much. I had two successful years in 1995 and 1996, but minimal sponsorship. "I made the decision that I would only race a limited schedule unless I found adequate sponsorship. Two months before the start of the season I got a call from Monro and the rest is history. "Monro turned out to be the best sponsor in the Busch North Series in 1997 and the best sponsor of my career and I am blessed to have their unconditional support and friendship. They are great people, they are a great company and every store in their fleet is as excited about this program as I am." "When we entered the Motorsports arena our rationale was that it could prove to be a very cost effective way to create and sustain awareness of the Monro brand, generate additional employee enthusiasm and pride and provide unique marketing opportunities," said Bob Adams, director of motorsports for Monro and Speedy. "We also knew that Andy Santerre was a tremendous potential property -- bright, sincere, clean-cut and articulate -- with a history of success in the Northeast." Monro moved to the south with Santerre to join the competitive NASCAR Busch Series in 1998. A prolonged search for the right team ended in mid-December at a meeting with George deBidart, former owner of The Source International, a motorsports marketing company. Eager to start a race team, deBidart established Innovative Motorsports. All it took was commitment from Monro and the wheels started turning. With the ink still wet on the contract and only seven weeks before the start of the 1998 season, Innovative Motorsports, headed by deBidart and Santerre, scrambled to purchase a facility, race cars, engines and assemble a crew. "What George and Andy accomplished is nothing short of amazing," admits Adams. "They started the season with no provisional starting spots and made the first four races of the season. They made all but two races their first year and finished 20th in the point standings. "They not only won the 1998 Raybestos Rookie of the Year title, they won it against more experienced teams and a large group of rookie contenders. It was an outstanding and unexpected performance." "It is pretty amazing to look and see what we accomplished last season," says Santerre. "We didn't have a breakthrough year like Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Matt Kenseth, but for a rookie team, a rookie crew, a rookie sponsor and a rookie driver, we had a pretty successful season. "Of course, this year we expect a lot more out of ourselves because we have a year of experience to fall back on and we want to wear the rookie crown proud." The NASCAR Busch Series is the sanctioning body's fastest growing division. An increased point fund and much more substantial purses will greatly increase the competition and fan support for 1999. "The series continues to become more sponsor friendly each year and the progress shown by our race team late in the season will be inspirational heading into 1999," Adams said. "Andy's excellent first season on the Busch Series, culminating in his 1998 Raybestos Rookie of the Year title gives everyone at Monro a high level of confidence as we head for Daytona in February." Two of Monro's vendors, Tenneco Automotive and Kendall Motor Oil, will return as associate sponsors this year. Tempus Resorts International is also slated to return.
Source: NASCAR Online