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NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch Brings Sharpie® Retractable "Autographs for Education" Program to Bristol

Posted on March 30, 2005

OAK BROOK, Ill.- NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch and the No. 97 Sharpie team aim to make a mark on racing history by earning a fourth spring race victory in a row at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) April 3. Busch is also putting his autograph on education during the Food City 500, driving a special Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" paint scheme featuring the signatures of students from his former middle school in Las Vegas and students from Bristol. At a BMS autograph session April 1, Busch and fifth grade students from Bristol's Valley Pike Elementary will be putting the finishing touches on the paint scheme, signing the back of the car for a "ride along" during the race. Earlier in March, Busch collected autographs from students at a special assembly for his former middle school in Las Vegas. The signature paint scheme is part of Sharpie's nationwide effort asking for one million autographs from everyday people in exchange for $1 million in supplies and funds to schools. " "When we were in Las Vegas two weeks ago, we visited my middle school and collected students' autographs to come along with me to Bristol," said Busch. "Now we are getting the signatures of Bristol area students. Sharpie and I are asking for fans' autographs to support this program that will provide supplies and funds that schools and students can really use." Well-known as the autograph pen of choice, Sharpie is enlisting the support of celebrities and professional athletes like No. 97 Sharpie Ford driver Busch and his team to appeal to communities across the country for their autographs. As the Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" tour stops in Bristol, the Sharpie team is inviting the students, teachers, parents and the community in general to put their autograph on education by visiting its displays at BMS. Sharpie is elevating its pledge to the nation's schools throughout 2005, recognizing essential needs resulting from funding challenges schools face. "This year's program is the most comprehensive community effort in the brand's more than 40-year history," said Rory Leyden, president of Sharpie. "Although we have executed this program on a local level since 2003, we've broadened its reach this year in terms of the dollar amount donated and the addition of college scholarships. We're certain we'll reach the million mark for autographs because of partners like Kurt Busch, the Sharpie racing team and the support of NASCAR fans across the country." Sharpie Retractable's commitment to Autographs for Education also includes online resources for teachers and fun for students, including free lesson plans and a virtual autograph wall. In the community, Sharpie's Autographs for Education tour will criss-cross the country in a fleet of Sharpie-branded all-terrain vehicles throughout 2005, stopping at festivals and special events, like the Sharpie Professional 250 in Bristol. The vehicles feature interactive games, product sampling opportunities, and official entry forms for the signature collection effort. Complete entry methods for the signature collection effort can be found at retailers nationwide and at www.sharpie.com. Inspired after a Sharpie marker was featured in a high-profile and somewhat controversial professional touchdown celebration in 2002, the Sharpie Retractable Autographs for Education program has been bringing motivation, funds and school supplies to students, teachers and parents for two years. Since its inception, Sharpie Autographs for Education personalities have included NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch, NFL Hall of Famer and broadcaster Howie Long, Philadelphia's Terrell Owens, Pittsburgh's Hines Ward, Green Bay's Donald Driver, Denver's Rod Smith Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez, Seattle's Grant Wistrom, and Tampa's Brad Johnson, among others. About Sharpie® Retractable With a retractable writing tip and no caps to lose, Sharpie markers are now easier and more convenient to use. Sharpie Retractable is available in eight colors: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime and turquoise. The suggested retail price for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 8-packs are $4.89, $7.33, $9.78, and $19.56, respectively. Available at office supply stores and other retailers nationwide, Sharpie Retractable joins other significant writing innovations that target a wide range of enthusiasts from the hobbyist to the do-it-yourselfer. About Sanford®, Makers of Sharpie® Sharpie is the popular brand of permanent markers long-associated with the autograph experience. Sanford, maker of Sharpie, is a division of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE: NWL), a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and marketing of writing instruments, art products and office organization, including such well known brands as Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, Parker®, Waterman®, EXPO®, FoohyTM, uni-ball®, and Rolodex®, among others. Sanford makes more than 6,000 products, ranging from markers, pens and pencils to professional art products, fine writing instruments and office organization products. Visit sharpie.com or sanfordcorp.com for more information.