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Transcript from Stewart-Haas Racing Press Conference / Mobil 1 Sponsorship Announcement
Oct. 13, 2010
Transcript, Mobil 1 Sponsorship Announcement
Oct. 12, 2010
TONY STEWART: Driver/owner, Stewart-Haas Racing
DARIAN GRUBB: No. 14 team crew chief, Stewart-Haas Racing
BOBBY HUTCHENS: Director of Competition, Stewart-Haas Racing
REBECCA RAHAIM: Global Brand Manager, Mobil 1
“There's obviously a big sponsorship announcement here. I'll introduce the key participants here. Darian Grubb, making his way to the stage. He's the crew chief. Bobby Hutchens, who is the Director of Competition here at Stewart‑Haas Racing. And Rebecca Rahaim, who is with Mobil 1. She's the brand manager. And, of course, Tony Stewart, driver/owner, and a winning one at that. Congratulations on the win at the Auto Club Speedway.
“A little bit of housekeeping before we get going. All of the participants here will make some remarks. We'll have some informal questions. There will be opportunities to take photos. There will also be some questions there from you folks, and then there will also be opportunities for one‑on‑ones as soon as the formal part of this is over, as formal as you can be, in this.
“And, again, thank you all for being here. And this is an important part of the racing business and the industry for Tony Stewart, for all these folks here, and for everybody here in the industry. So it's exciting to have this opportunity to be here.
“Now, Tony you've said all along, when it came to Stewart‑Haas Racing's sponsorship search, you would let everyone know at the same time, and that time appears to be now. So tell us what's going on here today.”
“Yeah, we have something to talk about. So those of you that love to ask me about it, today's that day, obviously.
“ExxonMobil has been a part of motorsports for over 30 years now. They're very committed to excellence and winning. And we're very excited to announce that we signed a multi‑year deal with Mobil 1 to be on the No. 14 Chevrolet as a co‑sponsor with Office Depot.
“So very excited about the opportunity to work with Mobil 1 and have a partner that is so committed to not only the brand marketing but at the same time making our cars and our program better and giving us a better opportunity to win. So very excited about that.”
“Well, Rebecca, Mobil 1 has a long and successful history in all of, not all, but a lot of motorsports, including Formula One. How does this relationship with this team fit into your overall plans?”
“Yes, thank you, Steve. Well, first of all, it's great to be here today. ExxonMobil is thrilled about our new relationship with Tony Stewart and Stewart‑Haas Racing.
“By sponsoring a two‑time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, we are able to build on Mobil 1's official motor oil of NASCAR status. And we are showing our continued commitment to NASCAR today.
“Mobil 1, as Tony said, has a long tradition of partnering with world‑class teams around the world, and we're proud of our new association with one of NASCAR's top drivers. And we look forward to helping Stewart‑Haas Racing secure a Sprint Cup Series championship and add to the list of successful teams that Mobil 1 has supported for more than 30 years.
“NASCAR continues to provide a strong platform to demonstrate that Mobil 1 technology offers ultimate vehicle performance and the advanced protection against engine‑wear for both extreme and everyday driving conditions. Whether you're a NASCAR driver on the track or race fan traveling to the track.
“For those who are not familiar with the brand's long‑time involvement in racing, I want to point out Mobil 1's history in motorsports officially began in 1978 with the sponsorship of Williams Formula One race team.
“So, Tony, we're thrilled to have you represent our brand. Everyone knows about your on‑track success. And you deserve credit for your achievements as a team owner as well, given your success in building one of the sport's top teams in such a short period of time.
“It's surely a testament to your drive and determination both on and off the track, and we look forward to being your technical partner and providing Mobil 1 technology and engineering support to Stewart‑Haas Racing.
“Additionally, we're excited about welcoming your teammate Ryan Newman back to the Mobil 1 racing family. Mobil 1's been the official oil of NASCAR for eight years, since 2003, and more than half of all NASCAR teams are using Mobil 1 technology.
“So we're looking forward to continuing our commitment with NASCAR and our new partnership with Tony Stewart and Stewart‑Haas Racing.”
“Thank you, Rebecca. Bobby Hutchens, Director of Competition here. We know that you have a close relationship, a technical partnership and alliance with Hendrick Motorsports. As a customer of Hendrick, how are you able to keep what you learned from your relationship with Mobil 1 proprietary to Stewart‑Haas Racing?”
“We'll continue to have a relationship with Hendrick Motorsports, receiving world‑class engines as we have for the past two seasons.
“We have a technology agreement between ourselves and Mobil 1. And we have a technology group here led by Matt Borland, who will be working hand in hand with the folks at Mobil 1 in their R&D department. And from that, those proprietary combinations and whatnot that we will be using here will be done at Stewart‑Haas only, in our engines, in our cars.
“And that technology will be proprietary to us. At the same time, we have to respect the proprietary information that HMS (Hendrick Motorsports) has also. So all of our cars next season will be running with Mobil 1 oil.”
“Thank you, Bobby. Darian, congratulations on a win, but you guys don't look back, you look forward. To that point you were an engineer at Hendrick Motorsports. Also worked as a crew chief on occasion.
“Now as a full‑time crew chief here, we work in a sport where the entire field sometimes is separated by less than half a second. This relationship with Mobil 1, you guys are always talking about 100th or a tenth of a second. Is this something that can help performance, aside from just being a partner financially?”
“Absolutely. The technology that ExxonMobil and the Mobil 1 brand brings to the sport goes right along with all the technology we have to have to be able to perform every weekend. Every aspect of the racecar and every moving component has to function to its top capability to be able to be competitive against the competition.
“And with the diverse motorsports background that ExxonMobil and the Mobil 1 brand has and what they cover and the background they have in every area, it's a very comforting fact for me to know that I can look to these technology partners and know that I can get the answers that I need to help make that racecar faster.
“It's like Bobby said with the Hendrick Motorsports program we have for the engines; the only thing that's going to change there is lubrication, and we feel we have the best technology partner available for that.”
“Thank you very much, Darian. Well, it wouldn't be a press conference without an unveiling. I'd like to invite Tony and Rebecca to do the honors by one of the cars and Darian Grubb and Bobby Hutchens will unveil the other one. We'll give you guys time to set up to get the money shot, as it were.
“After we get the shots, we'll open it up for some questions.”
Q. Tony, what does this say about your organization, which is only in its second year, to be able to land another new sponsor?
“The largest company in the world, too. To have a company of this caliber believe in Stewart‑Haas Racing and believe in our program and what we're trying to accomplish, personally, it feels great for me. Just having their confidence and their support and knowing that we have a partner that has such a great ability to make our program that much better is exciting. It's an exciting time for us.”
Q. You took over ownership of a race team in a bad economic time. Can you talk about how difficult it has been to line up sponsorship and maybe provide details about this particular search, the time it took to put it together, based on the economy, and how many teams are vying for sponsorship?
“I don't know how many other teams are. I know we've worked really hard this year with our staff. But it is. It's a hard time right now, a hard economy.
“But, you know, this is still a series that doesn't stop, no matter how bad the economy is. These teams are going to push forward and there's partners obviously like Mobil 1 that know how important not only NASCAR racing is, but racing is in general to their product.
“So it brings a lot of pride knowing how hard the economy is right now and how tough the times are to be able to bring Mobil 1 into Stewart‑Haas Racing and hopefully the comfort that they've given us at this time of the year with helping us with our partnership, hopefully we can return that favor to them.”
Q. Rebecca, when it became clear your relationship with Penske was going to end, did you guys always intend to look for another team in the series to remain with, and what led you to Stewart‑Haas?
“Thank you for that question. As you may or may not know, Mobil 1 has been the official motor oil of NASCAR since 2003. And we've had an ongoing commitment to NASCAR. So we've always been interested in continuing with the team.
“I think why Tony Stewart and Stewart‑Haas Racing, winners like winners. Tony Stewart is a two‑time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. Mobil 1 is the world's leading synthetic motor oil brand. So it's a natural fit. We're really excited to be with Stewart‑Haas Racing and continuing our commitment to NASCAR.”
Q. Darian or Bobby, what leeway do you have with oil? Where does oil stand in finding developments via the sponsorship you can use in the race car? How much does it help to have a sponsor technologically, as you were mentioning, that is an oil product?
“I think it's very important. From our standpoint they have the largest oil manufacturer in the world at our disposal to work with our technology group, to be able to interface with those guys, not only from the oil in the engine, but from the greases in the wheel bearings and the greases in the engine and transmission.
“At the end of the day I hope it's going to be a competitive advantage from what we're plotting out going forward. Hopefully in 2011, you'll see a big difference in our performance.”
Q. Specifically, what leeway do you have with oil?
“From my perspective we have a lot of leeway. The biggest thing is durability, I guess, from a performance aspect making sure we're able to compete for the 500 miles.”
Q. Relationships with technical companies like Mobil 1 is a two‑way street. Bobby, how much comes to you from the R&D department at Mobil 1, and maybe how much goes back from you guys to the Mobil 1 to enhance the product? Just talk about the relationship of that boards and how that two‑way street works and how much does it favor one way or the other?
“Hopefully it's a 50/50 deal that we're able to give back as much as they're able to help us. We're already ongoing with some projects right now for next season as far as doing some R&D testing from both sides. They have some blends and whatnot that they want us to look at. We're going to be looking at wear on parts and pieces.
“So hopefully that will give them information to be able to go back and blend their oils and lubricants better for the general population.”
“I agree with that. It's definitely a give‑and‑take and a learning process. Mobil 1's in motorsports for a reason. It's a key part of our technology development program.
“So working with NASCAR and Formula One or any of the other series that we're involved with, it's a two‑way street. There's a lot of learning going back and forth. We work with a lot of the original equipment manufacturers for the same reason. We're all looking to improve our performance, our technology, whether it's on the racetrack or off the racetrack.”
Q. Tony, is the 14 car now totally sold as far as primary sponsorship for 2011, or are you still looking for more? Can you update us on the 39 as well? Are Army and Tornados returning?
“Everything is good on the 39 car there with Tornados and U.S. Army coming back.
“We're in good shape on the 14 car now. This has fulfilled what we're looking for to fill the void for Old Spice next year. It allows us to now put that project behind us. We're still always looking for new partners. You never stop in that category. You're always looking to bring new people into the sport and even if it's not at a co‑primary position, you're always looking for associate sponsors.
“So the search, necessarily, isn't over. But this does fill the void from the Old Spice brand leaving at the end of the year. On Ryan's car, we're still looking for some associate sponsorship also, but we're very happy that Tornados and U.S. Army are coming back again. Exciting to have new partners that have come into the sport that are excited and happy with what we're doing and that want to return.
“So very happy with the way things are going right now.”