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Sharpie® Markers, Irwin® Industrial Tools To Co-Sponsor Kurt Busch/Rouch Racing #97 Team In 2004

Jan 22, 2004


(CONCORD, NC) -- Roush Racing today announced that Sharpie® Markers and IRWIN® Industrial Tools will be "co-primary" sponsors of its #97 Ford Taurus driven by Kurt Busch in the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Both Sharpie and IRWIN Industrial Tools are brands of Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL), which has been a supporter of the team since 2001.

Sharpie and IRWIN Industrial Tools will split time on the car throughout the season. The new black and metallic colors of Sharpie will adorn the car for 18 of the season's 36 races, beginning in the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 15.  The blue and yellow IRWIN Industrial Tools car will compete in 18 events, beginning at North Carolina Speedway on February 22. IRWIN will also sponsor the car in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge event in May.

"We've got two bold new looks and a brand new attitude for '04," says Busch, who has won eight races over the last two seasons. "We're focused on the job at hand and hope to take two great sponsors - Sharpie and IRWIN - to our first championship."

Sharpie, which is launching a series of bold new products this year as the brand celebrates its 40th anniversary, has been on the #97 Ford since Busch's rookie NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season in 2001. In fact, of Busch's eight triumphs, three have come in Sharpie "special" paint scheme cars - the last in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol in August of 2003.

Irwin, makers of high performance, professional grade hand tools and power tool accessories, had four "special" paint scheme events in 2003 on the #97 Ford. LENOX®, also a brand of Newell Rubbermaid, will be on the decklid of the IRWIN Ford. LENOX is a global leader in manufacturing and marketing band saw blades, sawing fluids, hand tools and power tool accessories. LENOX and IRWIN are complementary brands as IRWIN is targeted to a larger audience of mainstream users and LENOX is targeted to high end users.

"Sharpie and IRWIN have had a presence on our cars in the past, but they are both looking to really step it up this year and we're thrilled," adds Busch, who had four victories and four runner-up finishes last season."Like Sharpie, we'll make a permanent mark in '04, and accomplish our goal by being innovative and durable just like IRWIN products."

A subsidiary of Livonia, Michigan, based Roush Industries, Roush operates nine NASCAR motorsports teams: five in the NEXTEL Cup Series with drivers Busch, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle; two in the Busch Series; and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with drivers Jon Wood and Carl Edwards. Busch, a Las Vegas native and one of NASCAR's top stars, is in his fourth full season with Roush Racing.

The Sharpie marker, invented in 1964, is the popular brand of permanent markers and title sponsor of the Sharpie Professional 250 and Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in March and August, respectively. Sanford, maker of the Sharpie permanent markers, is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and marketing of writing instruments, including such well known brands as PaperMate®, Parker®, Waterman®, EXPO®, Foohy® and uni-ball®, among others. Sanford makes more than 6,000 products, ranging from markers, pens and pencils to professional art products and fine writing instruments. Visit sharpie.com or sanfordcorp.com for more information.

The IRWIN Industrial Tool brand portfolio features user-preferred category leaders such as VISE-GRIP® locking tools, MARATHON® circular saw blades, QUICK-GRIP® clamping tools, SPEEDBOR® flat bits, STRAIT-LINE® marking tools, UNIBIT® step drill bits and HANSON® taps and dies.  The products are available wherever professional tools are sold. For more information visit irwin.com.

For more information, contact Pro Sports Management & Marketing (704-643-2020).

For more information about Sharpie contact Susan Waseel at 630-481-2018, or email media.relations@sanfordcorp.com