NASCAR Media Conference
May 23, 2013
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for coming. We have a very special announcement today from Goodyear and NASCAR. Joining us today we have the general manager of global race tires for Goodyear, Stu Grant. We've got NASCAR President Mike Helton. With Support Our Troops we've got Martin Bowyer. Goodyear's NASCAR marketing manager, Kris Kienzl, and of course Carl Edwards.
STU GRANT: Thank you very much. It's my pleasure and honor to kick off the 2013 Support Our Troops Program. This is the fourth year that we've partnered with Martin and his Support Our Troops organization. You can see that we've got the Support Our Troops logo on our NASCAR radial racing tires along with the Goodyear logo as is normally the case.
Just a couple of comments: There probably is not another organization in all of sports that has a better connection to the military than NASCAR. It's something that really fits NASCAR and the military. The military supports NASCAR, NASCAR supports the military, and it's just a great fit.
Another good fit is the Goodyear and NASCAR partnership. We've been supplying NASCAR with tires to the sport for over 56 years, and then on top of that, Goodyear has had a relationship with the military of the United States for over 100 years. So there's a lot of reasons to do this program for both companies, both Goodyear and NASCAR and both brands.
And our message is pretty simple: We want to acknowledge and honor the sacrifices that the military families make every single day. It's really, really that simple. We simply want to acknowledge and honor the sacrifices that the families of the military make every single day, and what better weekend to do that than Memorial Day weekend.
And again, on behalf of Goodyear I'm proud to be able to do this program one more time. With that I will turn it over to Mr.Helton.
MIKE HELTON: Thank you, Stu. As Stu mentioned, this is the fourth annual effort that Goodyear has supported to make this a very significant part of our season, and I want to thank Goodyear and their‑‑ not just their support but coming up with this very significant symbolic statement that our race cars get to carry on their cars to say loudly, we hope, that the men and women that have served in the United States military, that currently serve in the United States military, are not forgotten. They're greatly appreciated, and we do not take their commitment and their families' commitments for granted.
Goodyear gives us a great opportunity to do that for the last three years and again this year.
And it works symbolically, but it also works directly where we can help Support Our Troops send items to military families, and in many cases things that they have had to go without because of their service as a reminder that we're very grateful for what they do. There's really, like Stu said, no better time than Memorial Day weekend to start this effort, and as part of the NASCAR Unites program during the summer and the Coca‑Cola 400, we're excited again to be able to do this military salute, so to speak, and I think it is important for all of us who get caught up in the grind of racing every weekend or the enthusiasm and the excitement that goes around with what we do to be reminded that there are individuals, some of our own family members possibly, that are making a huge sacrifice to give us the ability to have these freedoms to make decisions that we make every day.
Stu, thank you and Goodyear for supporting this, and at this time I'll pass it on to Martin Boyer.
MARTIN BOYER: Thank you all. Thank you for being here. Thank you, Mike.
Support Our Troops would like to thank Goodyear Tire and NASCAR again for stepping up with the Goodyear Gives Back program and all of the support that that gives us this year. From their homes to the front lines, if they're there, we're with them, and in fact, because of great American companies like this, we were able to do so to the tune of almost $30 million in support last year.
That happens because of truly great all‑American companies like Goodyear, NASCAR, their customers and their fans. And the troops have directly asked me to thank both of these companies and all of you watching for your support. It means the world to them.
This year you can again show your support for the troops by participating in the Goodyear Gives Back program. Everything in the world you need to know about it is at Goodyear.com, and to show you how to participate, I want to turn you over to somebody who in my personal opinion is a truly great American patriot, Goodyear's marketing manager, Kris Kienzl.
KRIS KIENZL: Thanks, Martin. We are very, very proud of what we've been able to do the last three years with this program. We've been able to provide over $700,000 in cash and product to help Support Our Troops, and this year we are looking to even extend that further.
The key fundraising method is our charity auction. It's online hosted through the NASCAR Foundation site, and that is really where the fundraising comes in and really where NASCAR teams and sponsors and partners have helped us by donating lots of great items, experiences, there are things out there such as autographed fire suits, Goodyear Blimp rides, VIP track experiences, and they're all on the site for auction to raise money for Support Our Troops. The auction is live now and this year Goodyear is matching up to $50,000 in the auction, so we know at least we're going to have $100,000 if not more going to Support Our Troops, just through the auction.
The other thing I wanted to note briefly are the post cards. If you saw these today, one of the things that we do is we also have some care‑package drives that we get groups together and we pack up packages to send over to the troops through Support Our Troops, and we have one going on today outside that we have volunteers helping. We're doing another one at Akron headquarters in a couple of weeks. And the post cards are a way that we get messages to the troops. They go in all of the care packages. If you have time, we'd love for you all to write a short note, you can drop it in the basket at the back of the room and we'll make sure those get into the care packages. With that, I'm going to turn it over to Carl and he's going to show you how to participate in the auction.
CARL EDWARDS: Thanks a lot. I've been online here. I'm going to actually start bidding on an item. I'm bidding now $100 for one of my tires that's framed up pretty neat with Carl Edwards and the 99 on it. There's my bid for 100 bucks. There's a blimp ride you can get, too? That would be pretty neat.
I just want to say thank you to NASCAR and Goodyear for letting me be part of this. I've had the good fortune to be introduced to a lot of our troops, folks that are serving currently and folks who have served through all of NASCAR's programs and the Joining Forces Initiative. We've met a lot of troops and their families. I just want to say thank you to Goodyear for doing this. I personally have had really great history with Goodyear. I've got Goodyear tires on everything I own from airplanes to motorhome to race car, and they work really well. So thank you for that.
And like I said, this online auction that's pretty amazing you guys are matching up to $50,000, and there really is some neat stuff on there and I really did bid 100 bucks on that tire. I hope everyone watching will participate. We hear it, the drivers hear it every week that the troops really appreciate all the support that NASCAR and Goodyear and our entire sport gives to them, so thanks for letting me be a part of this.
THE MODERATOR: And now Carl is going to sign his own tire that's going to go in the charity auction, and then we'll open it up to questions related to the program.
Q. Stu, I'm sure there's any number of military groups that you guys could have hooked up with, military support groups. Why this one in particular?
STU GRANT: You're right about that. There was a number of organizations around. We have done‑‑ initially we did some analysis, and again, this is the fourth year that we've partnered with Martin in Support Our Troops. What we wanted to do was work with an organization that wasn't linked to any military in particular, or one branch of the military in particular. We wanted to make sure and cover all of the military as a whole, and that's one of the reasons we sought out Martin in Support Our Troops.
Q. You mentioned how NASCAR was‑‑ you looked at other sports and NASCAR really is a place where military can come and feel accepted more so than other sports. Why do you think that is, that military people are so drawn to the sport of NASCAR?
MIKE HELTON: Well, NASCAR's respect for the military is in our DNA and has been. It was founded not too long after World War II was over with, so all the energy that came back from that kind of went into the DNA of NASCAR. And our leadership since our beginning has always paid a great deal of tribute and reminded the generations to come of the sacrifices that the military make.
I think our DNA, having that webbed in it, also makes us part of the fabric of this country and I think it just blends together. Certainly all sports are very eager to be able to thank troops and be respectful and remind their fans of the importance of the military's responsibilities and duties because it gives us a freedom in all sports and even the business community gives us our freedom to do what we do.
NASCAR likes to think that it's maybe a bit more tied in, but the fact is that the military is important to everybody, and we just want to make sure that the military understands that they're extremely important to NASCAR.
Q. Stu, what kind of reaction do you get from soldiers and airmen from the message on the side of the tire?
STU GRANT: It's really been special. The reaction that we get is amazing. I remember when we first started this program, I would have people come up to me in the garage area and around the racetrack or even at the hotel that I didn't know at all and didn't know me and would comment about, hey, I've got a relative in the military, I just want to thank you for what you're doing and so on and so forth.
That happened more often than you think. It touched a lot of people, and it really made us‑‑ I guess reinforced the positive thing that we were doing with this whole program.
We've gotten pictures and cards with letters and feedback and so on from soldiers that have seen the tires and seen the signatures and so on, and it's just been really gratifying to be able to put a program like this together and give something back to the military.
MARTIN BOYER: If I could add something to that, stop by Goodyear's headquarters and you'll see one of two tires, Unity For Victory tires, and when they moved Petraeus from Iraq over to Afghanistan, he asked for everybody to get together once and for all to get it over with. So two of these tires were taken and a bunch of drivers signed them on behalf of all the American people. Then we sent them over and they were choppered all over the war zone and hauled all over in trucks, and all the soldiers who could get their hands on them signed them and wrote whatever they wanted all over them on behalf of all the troops, and those were the Unity For Victory tires, one is at our headquarters, one is at Goodyear's. We could probably send you photos of the messages that they wrote home, the things they wrote about Goodyear and the things they wrote about NASCAR and how much it means to them. Just something like that, to show up from home about a sport they're so thrilled about, it made them feel like they were home again.
Q. Stu, have you ever had people looking for passenger tires that wanted to know if they could get this on their passenger tires?
STU GRANT: Well, I can tell you that I am not aware of any inquiry like that, but again, the scope of my job is fairly limited to the racing tire operation. If I might ask Kris that question, if you in our North America marketing operation, perhaps they've had some inquiries.
KRIS KIENZL: It's a really cool idea, but I'm not aware of anybody specifically asking for that. What we get more requests for is can I get yellow Goodyear lettering on the side of my tires.
CARL EDWARDS: We do notice these tires end up missing from the garage area every once in a while after the races so I don't know if that means anything. I think they're desirable.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you guys so much for your time. We really appreciate it. Just as a reminder, we will be packing care packages for the troops right around the corner outside the media center in the tent. We invite you all to join us. Thank you so much.
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