A new era in NASCAR sponsorship began today with the announcement by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare that it has become the first quit-smoking product sponsor in the sport. GSK Consumer Healthcare’s Nicorette(R) nicotine gum, NicoDerm(R) CQ(R) nicotine patches and Commit(R) nicotine lozenges will also partner with Target Chip Ganassi Racing to help NASCAR fans and the general public learn how they can lead smoke-free lives.
The Nicorette brand will be an associate sponsor of the Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s No. 41 Target Dodge Charger throughout the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. A special paint scheme featuring the newest GSK Consumer Healthcare product, Nicorette(R) Fresh Mint(TM), will run at the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20. Similar to many of today’s popular chewing gums, Nicorette Fresh Mint is soft to chew and has a hard outer coating that bursts with long-lasting mint flavor.
Casey Mears, driver of Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s No. 41 Target Dodge Charger, said, “In racing, first is a good thing, so we’re excited to partner with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare as the first quit-smoking product sponsor in NASCAR. It’s great to work with a sponsor that not only helps us, but the fans as well. That’s what really sets NASCAR apart from other sports — the opportunity for the teams, sponsors and fans to connect with and support each other.”
Today’s announcement enhances a longtime relationship between GSK Consumer Healthcare and stock car racing. Goody’s(R) Headache Powder, another GSK Consumer Healthcare brand, is the longest serving non-automotive NASCAR sponsor and the “Official Pain Reliever” of NASCAR, with a partnership dating back to 1977.
“No other sport in America can boast the loyalty and passion that NASCAR fans exhibit,” said Steve Kapur, Senior Manager Promotional Marketing, GSK Consumer Healthcare. “With this new partnership, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare has the opportunity to improve the lives of millions of more Americans who smoke and would like to quit.”
GSK Consumer Healthcare will support the new partnership with advertising and in-store promotions, as well as an informative and interactive exhibit at 23 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races in 2005. Fans and their quit attempts will also feature prominently in publicity efforts and on http://www.quit.com, the quit-smoking brands’ web site.
“With recent changes in the NASCAR sponsorship landscape, an opportunity has emerged for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare to reach out to the millions of devoted NASCAR fans and their families,” said Justin Johnson, Managing Director of Partnership Marketing at NASCAR. “Today’s announcement reflects both NASCAR’s commitment to growing existing sponsorships through adding new brands, while also continuing to diversify the sport’s sponsorship base.”
A New Quit-Smoking Resource for NASCAR Fans
GSK Consumer Healthcare will be reaching out to NASCAR fans that want to quit smoking at 23 races this season via its Winner’s Circle exhibit, with the theme “Quitting is Winning.” Fans will receive free quit-smoking counseling at the exhibit, and will experience the speed and energy of NASCAR racing first-hand with a racing simulator. Visitors to the exhibit will also watch exciting NASCAR moments on plasma screen televisions and can take their picture alongside the Nicorette(R) Fresh Mint(TM) car. On special occasions, members of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team will visit with fans at the exhibit; NASCAR legend Richard Petty and son Kyle will also make appearances at select events. The Winners Circle will feature information about the full range of GSK Consumer Healthcare’s quit-smoking products: Nicorette gum, NicoDerm(R) CQ(R) patch and Commit(R) lozenges.
Committed Quitters(R), a support program available only with GSK Consumer Healthcare smoking control products, will also be featured at the Winner’s Circle. Since 1996, more than 600,000 smokers have enrolled in the Committed Quitters program. Today, there is a new Committed Quitters online program that offers customized coping strategies, advice and incentives for staying smoke-free. More information about GSK’s complete line of quit-smoking products and the Committed Quitters program can be found online at http://www.quit.com.
About Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
Following a strong career as a driver, Chip Ganassi created his own one-car IndyCar team in 1990. Ganassi solidified his place in open wheel Indy racing history, becoming the first owner to lead his teams to four consecutive championships from 1996 to 1999. Success is no stranger to Chip Ganassi. As team owner, his open wheel teams have amassed five championship titles and 45 wins since 1996. But, that wasn’t quite enough for Ganassi and in 2000 he entered into the world of stock car racing with Felix Sabates.
Sabates first entered the world of NASCAR in 1987, when he purchased a research and development team from then-owner and popular Charlotte businessman Rick Hendrick. SABCO Racing was founded and a new NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitor entered the scene. For Sabates, it was just the beginning of a long, successful career on the NASCAR circuit.
Sabates and Ganassi announced their partnership in NEXTEL Cup racing during the 2000 season. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates made its debut at Daytona in 2001. The team has expanded to include three NEXTEL Cup teams, one NASCAR Busch Series team and two Daytona Prototypes in the Grand American Sportscar Series. The NEXTEL Cup teams have amassed five wins and a rookie of the year title in four years, while the Busch team secured a victory in just its seventh start. In their first season of competition in 2004, the Grand Am teams have eight poles, three wins and a championship under their belt.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing has a broad reach with 1,800 racing events in 36 states at more than 110 tracks. The sanctioning body for stock car racing is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in Charlotte, Concord, NC, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York and Toronto. More Fortune 500 companies are involved in NASCAR than any other professional sport. NASCAR has 75 million fans and is the second-highest rated sport on network television. NASCAR fans say they are three times more likely to purchase the products of NASCAR sponsors than non-sponsors.
About GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is one of the world’s largest over-the-counter healthcare products companies and ranks second globally in sales of oral care products. Its more than 30 well-known products include such medicine cabinet staples as Abreva(R), Aquafresh(R) toothpastes and toothbrushes, Goody’s(R) Headache Powder, Nicorette(R), NicoDerm(R) CQ, Commit(R), Sensodyne(R) and Tums(R). GlaxoSmithKline — one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies — is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.