Stewart And Team Already Active In 2002
January 20, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Tony Stewart is known for his activities and busy agenda on a race weekend. In the first seven days of 2002, Stewart, his sponsor Home Depot and the Joe Gibbs team have been very busy with various facets of racing business.
On January 2, Home Depot announced that they would be returning as the "Official Home Improvement Warehouse of NASCAR," a title they will hold through 2004. Home Depot is involved with a number of other sports marketing efforts, most notably the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, this February. Employing about 250,000 associates in 49 of the 50 states, Home Depot has been a NASCAR sponsor since 1999, the same year they joined forces with Joe Gibbs Racing.
"The Home Depot is a perfect example of a company leveraging its NASCAR involvement to the fullest extent possible," said Brett Yormark, vice president of corporate marketing for NASCAR. "Their team sponsorship of Tony Stewart and Joe Gibbs Racing augments the company's status as the Official Home Improvement Warehouse of NASCAR. The Home Depot has activated their sponsorship extremely well in our sport since 1999, the year they were named marketing partner of the year. We look forward to furthering The Home Depot's marketing initiatives in the years to come."
Within the same hour, Philips Lighting formally announced their association with the No. 20 Home Depot team and Stewart for 2002. A former associate sponsor of the No. 7 Dodge, piloted by Casey Atwood in 2002, Philips joins a list of associates including Rigid, Old Spice and Chef Boyardee.
"Joe Gibbs Racing is proud to be representing Philips Lighting on The Home Depot Pontiac," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "The success of our race team can be directly attributed to the strong support given to us by all of our loyal sponsors. It allows us to employ the best people and give them the best tools to do their jobs right the first time. Our commitment to quality mirrors those of our sponsors, and we're happy to count Philips Lighting as a member of our team."
Today, Tony Stewart will be waking up early, something he rarely does for a race, much less on an off day. However, this is a special, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Stewart. Traveling down famed "Georgetown" in Speedway, Ind., parallel to the frontstretch of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Stewart will carry the Olympic Torch in the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Torch Relay at 7:34am EST. Giving Stewart the torch will be fellow Hoosier, former open-wheel driver and current NASCAR competitor John Andretti. Stewart will hand the torch to Dave Calabro, sports director for WTHR (NBC) Channel 13.
"For me, getting up before the sun rises happens about as often as a blue moon, but the chance to run the Olympic torch past Indy is all the motivation I need to get up early tomorrow," said Stewart, who continues to maintain a home in Columbus, Ind. "I may not ever get this opportunity again, especially at a place that means so much to me. It's a cool deal, for sure - something I'll always remember."
Testing will soon begin in Daytona, and it will almost be a sure bet that the No. 20 team will not notice a new season has begun. With the banquet coming soon after the season finale, a few open-wheeled races in the off-season, a torch relay or two, and all of the business/marketing contracts that are being signed, 2001 never really ended for the Joe Gibbs team. On a roll the second half of 2001, Stewart's performances are just as liable to carry over and improve as they have in years past. Beware of that bright orange No. 20 Pontiac--with a new paint scheme--in Daytona.