Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz to Drive Commemorative STP, Mario Andretti Tribute Car During Bid for Fourth Consecutive Knoxville Nationals Title INDIANAPOLIS (July 10, 2009) -- Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) announced today that three-time...
Tony Stewart Racing's Donny Schatz to Drive Commemorative STP, Mario Andretti Tribute Car During Bid for Fourth Consecutive Knoxville Nationals Title
INDIANAPOLIS (July 10, 2009) -- Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) announced today that three-time and defending Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals champion Donny Schatz will drive an STP-branded tribute car in this year's 49th running of Winged Sprint car racing's premiere event, the Knoxville Nationals.
The specially schemed car will carry a commemorative design of Mario Andretti's STP-sponsored Brawner Hawk that the legendary race driver piloted to victory in the 1969 Indianapolis 500. The No. 15 entry Schatz will compete in will duplicate the look of Andretti's winning Indy 500 machine, with its distinctive "Hunting Red" color and gold wheels. With Andretti on hand, the car will be unveiled with Schatz during a special ceremony at 1 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, Aug. 11 at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum in Knoxville.
"This is a unique opportunity for Tony Stewart Racing to pay tribute to one of the more memorable occasions in auto racing history," said team owner Stewart, a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and the series' current point leader. "To have the opportunity to celebrate STP's first Indianapolis 500 victory with a racing icon such as Mario Andretti is a truly unique one, and we're proud to have Donny carry the brand's colors as he attempts to win his fourth consecutive Knoxville Nationals championship."
"STP has a rich and proud history of helping engines run better on the highway and of supporting championship drivers on the racetrack," said Jonathan Paluga, marketing manager for Armor All/STP Products Company. "Naturally, we are very excited to have STP on the track at Knoxville paying tribute to racing legend Mario Andretti and sponsoring the No. 15 STP Sprint car driven by Donny Schatz, a dirt track legend in his own right. We can't think of a better way to honor the 40th anniversary of Mario Andretti's thrilling Indy 500 victory than by giving Donny Schatz and Tony Stewart Racing the opportunity to get back in the winner's circle with the iconic 1969 commemorative STP paint scheme."
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Andretti's thrilling victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He dominated the race, winning by more than two laps, and was welcomed famously in victory lane by his car owner, Andy Granatelli, the former President and CEO of STP. Granatelli became the CEO of a Studebaker subsidiary, Chemical Compounds, in 1963. He soon changed the company's name to STP, transforming the brand into a pop culture icon over the next several years. The Clorox Company acquired the STP brand in 1999 following the acquisition of First Brands Corporation.
"I was full of pride when I learned that Tony Stewart Racing was paying tribute to me this way," said Andretti, whose 1969 Indianapolis 500 victory gave the STP brand its first triumph at the legendary Brickyard. "The effort they are going through to present this commemorative car is flattering. Thank you to the team for that effort, and also for acknowledging my part in STP racing history.
"When I see the car, it will definitely be an opportunity for reflection. It's humbling. It is a tremendous compliment to me that this team would look back at my victory and find it worthy of recognition. I am honored to have Donny Schatz carry the design from my 1969 car. I hope this winning paint scheme will be a good omen for him and that he'll get his fourth victory."
The Knoxville Nationals is the largest Sprint car race in the world. Its stature in short-track racing mirrors the magnitude of the Indianapolis 500 in Indy car racing. Each year, the Nationals attracts the best Winged Sprint car drivers and race fans from all over the world to a four-day marathon during which more than 30,000 attendees converge on the "Sprint car Capitol of the World" in Knoxville. The prestigious event culminates with a 40-lap feature on Saturday, Aug. 15, that will unfold in a live broadcast on SPEED-TV.
After finishing second four times at the Nationals from 2000 to 2005, Schatz conquered the 2006 Nationals, and returned to victory lane again in 2007 and 2008. This year, he will be vying for his fourth consecutive Knoxville Nationals crown. Legendary Sprint car racer Steve Kinser is the only driver to have won four Nationals in a row since the event's inception in 1961.
"I'm really excited about trying to win another Knoxville Nationals title," admitted Schatz, who's also won the last three World of Outlaws Series championships. "Winning the Knoxville Nationals once was a dream come true, but I can tell you it gets sweeter every time you do it. Working with Armor All and the Clorox Company has been a lot of fun during the last year-and-a-half. To be able to represent the brand and carry the STP colors that Mr. Andretti won Indy with is really going to be an honor."
For information regarding TSR, Schatz, Armor All, STP, or the Knoxville Nationals, visit www.tonystewartracing.com, www.donnyschatz.com, www.aa-ownercenter.com, www.stp.com, or www.knoxvilleraceway.com. For more information regarding Andretti, log on to www.marioandretti.com.
-credit: - TSR -