The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced today that Sears, Roebuck and Co., through its proprietary Craftsman tool brand, has renewed its title sponsorship of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is one of America's fastest growing major sports properties and now the No. 3 motorsports property on cable television.
"Sears' outstanding support during the past decade has helped the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series become one of the hottest motorsports properties in America, which continues to draw new fans and provide tremendous value for sponsors and media partners," said George Pyne, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer. "Craftsman's commitment, coupled with additional marketing support and in-store exposure from the Sears-Kmart merger, will help take the series to new heights."
In 2004, 19 of 25 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events experienced increases in the average number of households tuned in. The 2005 season- opening Florida Dodge Dealers 250 at Daytona International Speedway earned a 2.1 rating on SPEED Channel, up +31% vs. 2004 - the highest rated program in SPEED Channel's broadcast history. The most recent event, the Quaker Steak and Lube 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 20, was the most-watched Series event outside of Daytona on SPEED Channel. Thus far this season, an average of 680,000 households (+16%) and 954,000 viewers (+21%) have tuned in to each NASCAR Craftsman Truck series event.
Under the five-year agreement, Sears will increase its support of the series in national and local advertising, sales promotions, in-store point-of- sale materials and public relations. The Craftsman brand also renews its status as "Official Tools of NASCAR." Highlights of Craftsman's enhanced support include:
-- Additional advertising to promote the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series -- Local in-store sales promotions supporting series events -- Support of NASCAR's diversity programs -- More prominent store signage and presence on product packaging in stores.
"The partnership between Craftsman and NASCAR is one of the most important sports sponsorships for our company. This successful pairing of Craftsman, the No. 1 brand in the nation for overall quality, and NASCAR, the leader in motorsports, continues to drive preference for Craftsman tools," said Toure Claiborne, Sears director of specialty marketing. "Tough tools are vital to performance in a sport known for tough racing, and that makes Craftsman tools a perfect fit for NASCAR. Clearly, there is significant potential to increase our involvement in NASCAR, as a result of the recent merger between Sears and Kmart. In advance of Father's Day, we are now testing a Craftsman 'gift display' in more than 300 Kmart stores. The relationship with Kmart will present opportunities to reach new fans and create additional exposure for our sponsorship and the series."
Sears' Craftsman brand has been title sponsor of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since the racing series began in 1995. The sponsorship, which gives Craftsman a broad position and array of rights in NASCAR, is one of three NASCAR national series entitlements in the sport, along with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series. With 25 points events airing live exclusively on SPEED Channel, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has evolved from being primarily a short track, "super regional" series to a national series with races at 22 tracks in 18 states across the U.S.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has enjoyed significant growth in attendance, television viewership, and sponsorship exposure value. In 2004, more than one million fans attended NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events (+10 percent over 2003); the average cable rating of 0.7 for the series was up +17% over 2003; and the $231 million in sponsorship exposure value for all sponsors involved in the series (according to Joyce Julius and Associates) was up +64% over 2003.
Craftsman tools, which are often tested by NASCAR race teams, are an integral part of NASCAR racing, providing an opportunity for fans and consumers to see Craftsman products used under the most demanding conditions. Recently, the Craftsman Twin Cutter, which features two blades turning in opposite directions, was developed, tested and refined in the garages of NASCAR. Sears' title sponsorship of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has been a key driver for Sears' market share in Craftsman mechanics tools, which now exceeds 40 percent.
Competitors in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series are dynamic, diverse and more recognizable than ever before, Claiborne said. The series plays a vital role as a launching ground for up-and-coming drivers into NASCAR's top series (including Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Scott Riggs and current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch), while also extending the careers of competitive drivers who have competed in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and remain fan favorites (including NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Bobby Hamilton, Ted Musgrave, Johnny Benson, Ricky Craven, Steve Park and Jimmy Spencer.)
Bobby Hamilton, who in 2004 became the first driver-owner to win a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, has fielded a full-time team since 1999. He believes the series will continue to have huge potential for owners. "The recipe has been there for a great series, and the more sponsors that come in, the more race fans will get interested in it," said Hamilton, whose Nashville- based team fields three trucks in 2005. "We keep putting on very good races. And I think it's because of the mix of the veterans and the mix of newcomers coming wanting to outrun the veterans."
"The Craftsman Truck Series is a great series and it means a lot to me," said Carl Edwards, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year in 2003. "It provides a great opportunity for young drivers to get their start and make the transition from running at local tracks to making the jump to NASCAR. I don't know how I ever would have made it to the Busch or NEXTEL Cup level without the Craftsman Truck Series."
Featuring full-size, American-made trucks from Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota in tough, side-by-side racing, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is a favorite among fans who like big, powerful, fast trucks. The series' 30 million fans are among the most brand loyal sports fans in the U.S.
The series trademark tough, side-by-side racing has been steadfast throughout the first 10 seasons:
-- The championship has been decided in the final race nine of ten seasons. -- The championship was won by fewer than 100 points in seven of ten seasons. -- 143 of 242 total races (59%) had a margin of victory of less than one second. -- Ten or more different winners over six of the past seven seasons.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is also an important and strategic platform for vehicle manufacturers Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, and Toyota.
Craftsman is the most successful tool brand in America, with 90 percent of homes having at least one Craftsman tool. According to a 2004 EquiTrend survey, Craftsman is rated the No. 1 brand in the nation for overall quality in tools. More than 1,600 Craftsman hand tools are made in the USA and guaranteed forever. Sears offers Craftsman tools, merchandise and related services nationwide through its Full-line stores, Sears Hardware stores, Sears Dealer stores and Orchard Supply Hardware stores, as well as through specialty catalogs.
Sears, Roebuck and Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD), is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. Sears, Roebuck offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,400 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the United States and Canada, which includes approximately 870 full-line and 1,100 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck also offers a variety of merchandise and services through http://www.sears.com/ , http://www.landsend.com/ , and specialty catalogs. Sears, Roebuck offers consumers leading proprietary brands including Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands' End -- among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. The company is the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 14 million service calls made annually. For more information, visit the Sears, Roebuck website at http://www.sears.com/ or the Sears Holdings Corporation website at http://www.searsholdings.com/ .
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR), which began in 1948, is the sanctioning body for one of America's premier sports. NASCAR consists of three major national series (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) as well as eight regional racing series and one local grassroots series. NASCAR sanctions 1,500 races at over 100 tracks in 38 states, Canada and Mexico. Based in Daytona Beach, NASCAR has offices in Bentonville (AR), Charlotte, Concord (NC), Conover (NC), Los Angeles, New York, Mexico City and Toronto.
SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.
CONTACT: Andrew Giangola of NASCAR, +1-347-236-2094, or Larry Costello
of Sears PR, +1-847-286-9036, +1-847-337-9252 cell