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ARCA: Shop-Vac Corporation sweeps into stock-car racing at Talladega

11 October 1999

Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
SALISBURY, N.C.-- Shop-Vac Corporation, the recognized world leader in wet/dry vacs, has joined Smith Brothers Motorsports and driver Skip Smith as a co-primary sponsor for the ARCA Series Winn-Dixie 300 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, scheduled for October 16th.

While the Shop-Vac colors were carried by CART team, Chip Ganassi Racing, and drivers Eddie Cheever and Arie Luyendyk in 1991-92, this weekend's event represents the company's first outing as a sponsor in stock car racing.

Larry Tempesco, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Shop-Vac Corporation, says that the stock car fan represents the company's target audience.

"Race fans are our audience because they fit the demographics of a Shop-Vac customer," said Tempesco. "More specifically, stock car racing hits directly at our target audience."

While stock car racing has more than captured the attention of large corporations, Tempesco sights the continued growth in popularity of the sport as a major reason.

"If you look at racing, almost every Monday morning, right along with talking about the football game or the baseball game, everybody in the workplace is talking about who won the race on Sunday," said Tempesco. "Racing has really gained in popularity, among males and females."

The beginning of Shop-Vac Corporation's relationship with the Smith brothers not only came from matching customer demographics to that of stock car racing, but from also having a common local interest. Shop-Vac's company headquarters of Williamsport, Pa., is also the hometown of driver Skip Smith, a retired Pennsylvania State Police Officer turned stock-car driver.

"A local company like Shop-Vac, which has national distribution, partnering up with a local team and driver to work together has real appeal for us," said Tempesco. "This is an opportunity for us to 'test the waters' with motorsports and see if that is something we can pursue further, while also maintaining a local interest."

Tempesco goes on to add that the dedication and approach of team owner, Mike Smith, combined with the fan-friendly personality of Skip is what attracted the support of Shop-Vac Corporation.

"From what I've seen, Mike and Skip are dedicated to putting a winning car on the track," stated Tempesco. "From all the testing that they're doing, on the track and off the track, they're serious about building a solid program. It's good to be associated with people like that who want to go out there and win. And with Skip's personality, he's a great guy to have representing our company. He really comes across as someone who makes you feel a part of the whole experience."

The support of Shop-Vac is a welcomed element for owner Mike Smith in his efforts of fielding a quality race team, of which he hopes will make a mark in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2000. "I can't tell you how excited we are to have the support of Shop-Vac," said Mike Smith. "I've been working hard to pull together all the necessary ingredients to establish a competitive race team and none of that matters if you don't have sponsors."

Smith adds that while his goals on the race track are important, it's the achievement of goals off the track that are a primary focus for Smith Brothers Motorsports.

"We plan to sit down with Shop-Vac after the Talladega race and evaluate the results," explained Smith. "Our focus is to be good marketing-partners to our sponsors. We want to understand their needs and build a program around those needs that gets results."

Shop-Vac Corporation joins Raceway Storesa NASCAR merchandise and collectables retailer with four Pennsylvania locations, and one New York locationas a co-primary sponsor of the No. 28 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the coming event. While Smith Brothers Motorsports welcomes the support of new sponsors, the team remains focused on a strong showing in the Winn-Dixie 300. Tempesco says the Talladega-race partnership brings both parties one step closer to achieving their combined goals.

"This race allows us to produce data for review and evaluation and that's how we can determine the further path of Shop-Vac, as it relates to auto racing," added Tempesco. "Ultimately our goal, as a sponsor in auto racing, would be to sell more product. At the same time we would be helping Smith Brothers Motorsports reach their goals."

Editors Note: For hundreds of hot racing photos and racing art, be sure to visit The Racing ImageGalleries and the Visions of Speed Art Gallery.