Editorial

Roush Racing signs Office Depot deal for No. 99

by Pete McCole

January 11, 2005

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Carl Edwards

Roush Racing announced today they have signed a multi-year agreement with Office Depot to sponsor the #99 Roush Racing entry and driver Carl Edwards beginning with the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season.

Office Depot will serve as primary sponsor on the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Taurus for eight races - Daytona, Darlington, Chicago, California, Atlanta, Homestead, Texas and Bristol - and as an associate sponsor for the remaining races.

“Office Depot is very excited about taking its relationship with NASCAR to the next level through our partnership with Roush Racing,” said Chuck Rubin, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising/Marketing Officer for Office Depot. “Joining the NASCAR family and the championship Roush Racing team aligns our business with an exciting sport, a winning race team, and a talented young driver who will take care of business on the track.”

“Office Depot's decision to join Roush Racing in 2005 will give NASCAR fans an opportunity to show their support for Carl Edwards and Roush Racing's No. 99 Ford Taurus in their office supply choices for their homes and offices,” said Jack Roush, team owner. “All of Roush Racing is extremely excited about the future with Carl and Office Depot in the years ahead.”

The #99 car has been without a primary sponsor since the end of the 2003 season. The team campaigned the car throughout the 2004 season with a series of one-race sponsors, leading to the departure of long-time Roush driver Jeff Burton, who signed with Richard Childress Racing in August of last year.

Edwards moves up from Roush Racing’s Craftsman Truck Series organization, where he posted three wins, nine top-five and 10 top-10 finishes while finishing fourth in the overall Craftsman Series point standings during the 2004 season.

Edwards took over the driver’s seat of the #99 Ford Taurus following Burton’s exit. Edwards made 13 starts in Nextel Cup during the 2004 season, notching one top-five and five top-ten finishes, scoring his best finish – third – at Atlanta in October.

"Office Depot has definitely been taking care of business since we started this venture,” Edwards said. “. I don't know how many late nights I was at Office Depot getting printer cartridges and binders and presentation materials and things like that to go pitch to sponsors my racing and my team. So to be part of this and to be involved with Office Depot and all of their 40,000 employees is awesome.”

Edwards will be featured in an extensive national sponsorship program introduced by Office Depot last week, centering on their relationship with NASCAR for their new “Taking Care of Business” marketing campaign.

“We filmed two commercials yesterday. They tell me they're going to have life-size cardboard cutouts of myself in over 900 of their stores,” Edwards said. “I don't think it could be a better fit and I'm really looking forward to a great year, and I'm really looking forward to seeing that commercial. I'm just really excited to be here and it's going to be a good time.”

CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Office Depot Taurus - "Office Depot has definitely been taking care of business since we started this venture. We filmed two commercials yesterday. They tell me they're going to have life-size cardboard cutouts of myself in over 900 of their stores, including the one in Columbia, Missouri. I told them they're going to have to send extras there because all of my friends are going to go snatch that one up and probably run around town taking pictures of it doing things it shouldn't be (laughter). I'm really excited about this. Jack Roush has given me an amazing opportunity from the beginning. I'll never forget the phone call to come here and race in the Truck Series and to start racing in the Nextel Cup Series. For a driver, in my position from the very beginning of my career, I've treated my driving and my racing as a small business. I don't know how many late nights I was at Office Depot getting printer cartridges and binders and presentation materials and things like that to go pitch to sponsors my racing and my team. So to be part of this and to be involved with Office Depot and all of their 40,000 employees is awesome. I don't think it could be a better fit and I'm really looking forward to a great year, and I'm really looking forward to seeing that commercial. I'm just really excited to be here and it's going to be a good time."

CHUCK RUBIN, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising/Marketing Officer for Office Depot - WHY NASCAR? "Office Depot has sponsored a number of localized sports marketing efforts over the past couple of years. We also sponsored the Olympics this past year. We were looking to move towards more of a national sponsorship, something that was appealing to our customer base nationwide, not just on a localized basis, and NASCAR fit that bill. We also wanted something that had a customer profile that matched up with our customer profile and Nextel fit that bill. Finally, when you look at the loyalty of the Nextel customer base, that was something that was very attractive to us. So when you put that all together, Nextel became a very natural choice for us. When you looked at the Roush team, and Carl in particular, that was another level of our commitment that we thought was very appropriate. We were looking for a business partner that embodied our customer target - somebody who started out as a small business and has grown it very successfully and can understand what our customer base goes through. Our customer base at Office Depot is that small to medium-sized business. Jack's built a nice large business, but started out as a small business and, over time, grew it. And someone with the caliber of Carl, with his energy and enthusiasm and focus and a desire built on teamwork to win really embodies what Office Depot is about. So all of these pieces together added up to our decision to support this."

The author can be contacted petem@autoracing1.com

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