STP History STP History

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The year 1969 brought victory in the Indianapolis 500-mile race by Mario Andretti in an STP Special. Andretti also captured the national Driving Championship that year.

In 1970, STP announced its entry into Grand Prix competition. Competing under the STP colors during those early Grand Prix seasons (1970-71) were Ronnie Peterson, Chris Amon, Jo Siffert, Andrea de Adamich, Dieter Quester, Nanni Galloi and Alex Soler-Roig. The STP/March team finished third in the final 1970 championship standings.

In 1971, the corporation became involved in NASCAR stock car racing, sponsoring popular driver Fred Lorenzen. STP was represented again on the Indianapolis circuit, with drivers Andretti and Steve Krisiloff. In Grand Prix racing during 1971, Sweden's Ronnie Peterson drove an all-new March Formula 1 car to second place in the World Championship.

The STP Racing Team dominated the 1972 Australian Tasman series with driver Graham McRae. He also won the U.S. Continental Series and ended the Rothman 5000 European Series in third place. Another car was introduced at Indianapolis in 1972, an all-new STP Lola.

STP took an important step forward in NASCAR racing in 1972 by sponsoring the world-famous Richard Petty team. Petty holds more records than any driver, including 200 career wins, more than 1,185 starts, 27 victories in one season with a streak of 10 in a row. Ronnie Peterson continued to carry the famed flame red colors in international Grand Prix racing, teaming with Austria's Nike Lauda in 1972.

During 1973, STP added to its racing successes with Gordon Johncock capturing his first Indy 500 (he won again in 1982) and continued its innovative marketing and promotional activities while augmenting its sales and research staffs. The 1973 racing season was full from NASCAR to drag racing and included the first lady of motor sports, dragster Paula Murphy. In 1974, Richard Petty won a fifth NASCAR championship.

Back-to-back championships and a sixth National title in 1975 by Petty highlighted another successful racing year, which also included Paula Murphy being named the year s outstanding woman in racing.
Another excellent effort was achieved in 1977 when Johncock dominated the Indy 500, only to experience engine problems in the final laps. Teammate Wally Dallenbach finished fourth to partially ease the disappointment. Petty was a close second in the NASCAR standings.

The 1979 season brought Petty's sixth Daytona 500 victory and a record seventh driving championship.
Kyle Petty joined his dad as a member of the STP Team prior to the start of the 1981 season and promptly won the first race he entered. A week later Richard came from far back to record a stunning seventh Daytona 500 triumph .far and away the finest overall performance ever recorded at the World Center of Racing.

Mario Andretti returned to the STP Indy Car lineup in 1981 and 1982 with Johncock as his teammate on the Patrick owned crew. It was the most potent 1-2 Indy Car punch introduced in years.
In 1982 every car (42) starting the Daytona 500 used STP Products.

Petty won his 200th NASCAR Winston Cup race in 1984 ..made his 1000 start in 1986 and an amazing 500th consecutive green flag appearance in 1988 as he continued to charm the racing world with his durability, enthusiasm and loyalty to STP.

STP s impact on the racing world was never more visible and impressive than in the mid 1980 s, when the two first families of motorsports the Petty s and the Andretti s .represented the company.

The Vince Granatelli/Roberto Guerrero combination joined the effort in 1987 and Guerrero made a tremendous run at the Indy 500 title that year only to fall back to second because of a balky clutch in the final laps.

Guerrero, seriously injured in a practice crash in September, 1987 was the sentimental favorite throughout the 1988 season as he regained his driving skills in one of racing s most memorable comebacks.

Tom Sneva, Didier Theys and John Andretti succeeded Guerrero on the STP/Granatelli team in 1989 prior to the announcement of the new and exciting association with Bobby Rahal in 1990 and 1991. NHRA Hall of Famer Don Prudhomme joined the team in 1989 to be suceeded by Rickie Smith the following season.

Danny Sullivan succeeded Rahal as the STP Indy Car man in 1992 and Smith continued a run at the Pro Stock title in both NHRA and IHRA competitions.

The most spectacular venture in motorsports marketing occurred in 1992 as racing fans enthusiastically honored Petty while ending his brilliant career through his Fan Appreciation Tour.

Jimmy Vasser, one of Indy's Car's brightest young prospects came aboard the STP Team in 1993 driving the exciting Jim Hayhoe owned car. Rick Wilson handled the NASCAR driving chores that season and in 1994 turned over the steering wheel to first Wally Dallenbach Jr and then John Andretti.

The '94 campaign saw STP's dramatic debut as the full sponsor of a World of Outlaws team under owner/driver Andy Hillenburg's supervision.

Driver Bobby Hamilton took over the STP/Petty Pontiac in 1995. Vasser joined the Chip Ganass/Target group and Hillenburg made another strong pitch for a WoO title and STP returned to major off road exposure with its IMSA Champion Porsche Carrera Team.

Hamilton grew more competitive as the 1996 season wore on and brought Petty Enterprises with its first victory in years, capturing two poles and finishing ninth in the final Winston Cup standings. Vasser had four CART wins to win the driving championship and Zanardi three as they dominated their season. And, the IMSA Champion Porsche Team won their division in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Hillenburg was a consistent performer, finishing sixth in the WoO standings.

Hillenburg continued his outstanding consistent performance, entering the 1997 season with 321 consecutive "A" Feature starts .a streak that began in May, 1992. As the season wound down the streak nearing the 400 mark as he finished fifth in the final standings.

Zanardi's 1997 driving title gave the Ganassi/STP/Target team back championships a rarity in motorsports. Vasser was a solid third. Hamilton ran the STP/Petty Pontiac strong and won another major race in the fall event at Rockingham. Jimmy Hensley took sixth in the Super Truck series driving the Petty/STP entry.

1998 saw John Andretti's return to Petty Enterprises and STP. He finished a career-best 11th in the Winston Cup Points. Zanardi won another CART championship giving the Ganassi/Target/STP team its third consecutive title. Teammate Jimmy Vassar finished second in the CART points. Hillenburg finished sixth in the WoO and Jimmy Hensley finished seventh in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

In October 1954, three businessmen with a mere $3,000 in start-up capital introduced the first STP product in St. Joseph, Mo. Scientifically Treated Petroleum, better know as STP, began with one product STP Oil Treatment that helped automobile motor oil resist thinning at high temperatures and pressures.
The group, composed of Charles Dwight (Doc) Liggett, Jim Hill and Robert DeHart, began packaging STP in a backyard garage. They packaged it at night and sold it from the trunks of their cars during their business and pleasure trips. The company s initial growth and profitability attributed to strong word-of-mouth and the brand s link to auto racing enabled STP to introduce its first Gas Treatment in 1960. In 1961, STP was purchased by the Studebaker Packard Corporation. Andy Granatelli was appointed CEO in 1963 and began to increase the brand s marketing efforts through auto and boat racing. Eventually, STP sponsored its own Indy Car racing team, featuring Mario Andretti, the winner of the 1969 Indianapolis 500.
STP product distribution began to grow and by 1963 STP products were available in more than 200,000 gasoline stations across the U.S. By the end of 1968, sales had climbed to more than $43 million. In early 1969, STP became a public corporation and shares went on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol "STP."

The 1970s saw significant international growth, and in 1972 STP made headlines throughout the world by beginning its association with future stock car legend Richard Petty a partnership that continues to this day. By 1973, STP reported sales of more than $54 million and a net income of more than $1 million. Products were marketed throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and nearly 100 countries around the world. In 1978, STP introduced new improved grades of motor oil as well as sleek-looking, easy-to-pour Gas Treatment containers. Later that year, the STP Corporation was acquired by Chicago-based Esmark, Inc.
In the early 1980s, STP vigorously explored diversification possibilities and put additional emphasis on its research and development programs. Leo J. LeClair was named President and Chief Executive Officer and directed the company s move to a new world headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.

Beatrice Companies purchased Esmark, Inc. in 1984, and then, a year later, Union Carbide bought STP. In 1986 the Home and Automotive Division of Union Carbide became First Brands Inc. through a management leverage buyout. By the 1990s, the brand had built a presence in practically every country in the world through a mixture of sales and international subsidiaries. In January 1999, The Clorox Company completed its acquisition of First Brands Corporation. For years, the reason people rely on STP products has been simple: STP products give you the "power" to get maximum performance from your car.
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