September '18

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54 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2018 54 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2018 The Story STP Today Today, STP is part of the Global Auto Care division of Spectrum Brands, along with Armor All and A/C Pro. Fuel additives, oil additives, brake and power steering fluid, transmis- sion treatments, multipurpose addi- tives, motor oils, specialty products, lawn and garden products, appearance products and licensed products all still carry the iconic STP red-and-blue logo. Its website ( includes infor- mation on the company's history as well as its involvement in racing over the years. And it isn't finished yet. STP is still aligned with Richard Petty Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, appearing on the quarter panel and even on the hood from time to time of the famous #43. Here in 2018 it's a Chevrolet Camaro, piloted by rising star Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. In March, the company also spon- sored the MENCS STP 500 at Martins- ville Speedway, won by Clint Bowyer. In 2018 STP continues to be aligned with Richard Petty Motor- sports as a sponsor on the famous #43, now a Chevrolet Camaro driven by rising star Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. (Photo courtesy Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. Instagram) personalities at the time, Johnny Carson of The Tonight Show, went to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1967 and took a few laps in the car (hitting 138 mph average around the 2.5-mile oval) and broadcast it on his popular late-night TV show, Granatelli had hit another promotional homerun. Incidentally, the car became known as the Whooshmobile, because it used a Pratt & Whitney gas tur- bine engine originally intended for helicopter use. Parnelli Jones was the driver in the Indy 500 race that year, holding a commanding lead when an inex- pensive bearing failed and the car lost all power. With just three laps to go, he watched helpless as the other racers passed by. The STP Turbine generated large amounts of publicity for that effort, and the team came back for 1968 with driver Joe Leonard sitting on the pole. With STP Turbine teammate Art Pollard running hard, it looked good for the STP effort that second year. However, with Leonard in the lead with nine laps to go, a fuel shaft broke and the car went silent. Luck wasn't on the side of the STP Turbines for victory, but the Day- Glo red race cars did a wonderful job of generating great exposure for the company, so in the end they were very successful marketing and promotion vehicles. In 1969, Granatelli and STP finally got the checkered flag at the Indianapolis 500, as driver Mario Andretti was victorious in a Ford that also set a new record average speed of 156.867 mph. At the end of the race, Andretti was sur- prised that he didn't immediately get a victory kiss from the race queen. Instead, it was a big smack on the cheek from Granatelli. It was used in advertising for a long while afterward. During these times, Granatelli became the face and voice of STP in television ads and radio spots, and his overall popularity was so high that when Walt Disney Co. producers were casting The Love Bug, they were sure to include Granatelli, who appeared in the movie as a racing associa- tion president. ON TO NASCAR While winning Indy was a major accom- plishment, the world of NASCAR was a growing part of motorsports and while most of the Grand National stock cars already had small STP stickers on the front fenders, Granatelli wanted to make a major splash. He approached Richard Petty with a proposal. The offer came early in 1972 while they were meeting in Chicago. Petty would run STP logos on the sides of the #43 Plymouth in exchange for $250,000 and the promise of lots of advertising. Granatelli mentioned that the spon- sorship required the Petty Plymouth to be painted bright red. Petty refused and walked away from the huge sponsorship, all because the iconic Petty Blue paint color on his cars In 1963 Art Malone (#75) and Jim Hurtubise were fully STP-sponsored and ran front- engined Kurtis Novi-powered race cars, which incorporated an American-built supercharged V-8 race engine with hemispherical combustion chambers and double overhead cams. It was a very ex- otic power plant at the time, and the Novi engine was very loud! The STP logo and traditional red color adorned Art Malone's slingshot dragster, as seen here in early 1965 in Fre- mont, California.

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