FIRSTPLUS Financial Announces Sponsorship of Elliott/Marino 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Effort
18 November 1997Bill Elliott and Dan Marino to Join Forces For 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Season
FIRSTPLUS FINANCIAL, Inc. Primary Sponsor of New Car ATLANTA, Nov. 18 -- NFL All-Pro quarterback Dan Marino has entered into an agreement with NASCAR veteran Bill Elliott to jointly own the second car on the Elliott team for the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup season. Under the ownership of Elliott-Marino Motorsports, the new entry will make its' debut at the Daytona International Speedway on February 15. Jerry Nadeau will be the driver of the Elliott-Marino car. FIRSTPLUS FINANCIAL, Inc. , the Dallas-based specialized consumer finance company, will be the primary sponsor of the #13 Ford Taurus, Marino's uniform number throughout his Miami Dolphin career. The new team will continue FIRSTPLUS' interest in motorsports which began a year ago with the company's sponsorship of a team in the Indy Racing League and associate sponsorship of the Cartoon Network car. FIRSTPLUS was attracted to NASCAR racing because of its rapid growth in popularity and the opportunity to partner with Marino and Elliott. "From a business standpoint, NASCAR offers us the opportunity to be part of one of the fastest growing sports in the world today. That fact, along with the opportunity to partner with two legends in sports -- Dan Marino and Bill Elliott -- make it a great opportunity for FIRSTPLUS," said FIRSTPLUS Chairman and CEO Dan Phillips. "Last year, more than 148 million people watched Winston Cup races on television and another 5.6 million watched the races in person. We feel that the brand loyalty demonstrated by these fans and our special variety of home improvement and debt consolidation products will be a great fit," added Phillips. This is not the first opportunity for FIRSTPLUS to partner with Marino. Marino has served as the national spokesperson for FIRSTPLUS in all its television advertising for more than a year and is featured in the company's direct mail and marketing efforts. Marino also serves as chairman of FIRSTPLUS Sports Marketing, which supports FIRSTPLUS sales efforts through a variety of sports-related marketing venues. "I've been a fan of NASCAR for a long time and wanted to get involved in the sport at a very high level," said Marino. "The opportunity to join with Bill Elliott, one of the superstars of the sport, while at the same time helping FIRSTPLUS increase its name awareness and meet its financial goals, is the perfect combination of business and pleasure for me." "Dan and I became friends over the past several months and as that friendship grew, our mutual interest for a joint effort in racing emerged," said Elliott. "This is an exciting opportunity for our team in Dawsonville (Ga.), to work with Dan and FIRSTPLUS FINANCIAL and build a successful program. We're looking forward to working with Dan Phillips and the entire FIRSTPLUS family as they grow their business through motorsports. "Dan Marino is a leader in the NFL, having rewritten the record book as a quarterback," Elliott added. "FIRSTPLUS is a leader in consumer lending throughout the U.S. Partnered with this kind of leadership and ability, we think this program will grow to be a leader on the racetrack." Dan Marino has become a staple in American sports culture during his 15 seasons in the National Football League. He has managed to re-write the NFL record book by establishing 20 records and positioning himself as the all-time leading passer in NFL history. His accomplishments to date include (through the 1996 season): NFL's all- time leader in touchdown passes (369), total yards passing (51,636), pass attempts (6,904) and pass completions (4,134). Now in his 15th consecutive season with the Miami Dolphins, Marino will continue his quest for his ultimate professional goal; a Super Bowl championship. With more than 20 years of NASCAR Winston Cup competition experience, Bill Elliott has accumulated 40 career victories, a Winston Cup Championship (1988) and was the first driver in NASCAR history to win the Winston Million, a $1 million bonus from R. J. Reynolds for winning three of the "Big Four" races in 1985; the Daytona 500, the Winston 500 at Talladega (Ala.) and the Southern 500 at Darlington, S.C. In 1996, Elliott was voted NASCAR's "Most Popular Driver" for a record 11th time in a poll conducted by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). This placed Elliott in an individual category as the most popular driver in the history of the sport. Jerry Nadeau, 27, brings to Elliott-Marino Motorsports valuable experience in road racing and open-wheel competition. Out of a total of 57 starts in these divisions, he has collected 16 wins, 21 top-five finishes and seven pole positions. With only nine NASCAR Busch Grand National series starts, Nadeau was elevated to compete in five races in NASCAR's premier division, the Winston Cup series. FIRSTPLUS FINANCIAL is a specialized consumer finance company that, through its subsidiaries, originates, purchases, services and securitizes consumer finance receivables, primarily home improvement and debt consolidation loans, all secured by liens on the borrower's home. FIRSTPLUS, headquartered in Dallas, has regional offices in Denver, Colorado; Holly Springs, Mississippi; Columbus, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; Mission Viejo, California; Salt Lake City, Utah and a network of origination branches nationwide. SOURCE FIRSTPLUS Financial Group, Inc.