THE TRUE HISTORY OF STP
STP RACING HISTORY
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
STP BUSINESS HISTORY
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.
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.