OAK BROOK, IL, - Sharpie, a Newell Rubbermaid brand, today announced it has inked an agreement with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2007. The first time associate sponsorship will feature Dale Jr. driving the No. 8 Sharpie car in the Sharpie MINI 300, the NASCAR Busch series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in March. In celebration of the partnership, a line of "No. 8" Sharpie markers also will debut in stores nationwide in April.
"Sharpie is bold and Dale Jr.'s confidence, bold personality and drive to win embody the Sharpie brand," said Jill Rahman, vice president of marketing, Total U.S. Writing for Sanford, makers of Sharpie. "The new relationship joins the leading permanent marker brand, NASCAR's most popular driver and the passion of millions of fans. Together, we will make a bold mark."
As Dale Jr. enters his eighth full season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, he has quickly taken the lead as one of the most successful drivers netting 17 trips to victory lane. He has also swept both Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series wins in August 2004 at Bristol Motor Speedway, including one of the most coveted tickets in NASCAR, the Sharpie 500. His success on and off track has fueled him to the Most Popular Driver Award the last four years and top five of "most-liked athletes in America," according to a 2006 Harris Interactive poll.
Well-known as the autograph marker of choice, Sharpie has been a NASCAR team sponsor since 2001 and is title sponsor of two races at Bristol Motor Speedway (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series - Sharpie 500, August 25 and NASCAR Busch Series - Sharpie MINI 300, March 24).
I have used my share of Sharpie markers to sign autographs and in the shop, so bringing Sharpie on as a sponsor was a natural," said Dale Jr. "Sharpie has been part of racing for years and they continue to be committed to the fans and the sport. I can't think of a better fit, not to mention I can get all the Sharpie markers I need now."
Sharpie is planning a series of on and off track activities throughout the year, including brand advertising and in-store merchandising support for its new line of No. 8 Sharpie markers, a special No. 8 appearance at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Sharpie MINI 300 March 24 and a nationwide show car program. Dale Jr. will also lend a hand to Sharpie's Autographs for Action program, a national campaign benefiting community organizations, charities and schools with both funds and supplies.
For more information, visit www.sharpie.com.