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NASCAR to Get Tylenol Relief Next Season

November 16, 2006

MIAMI (AP) _ Goody’s Headache Powders, a staple in NASCAR since 1977, will be replaced by Tylenol next season as the sport’s official pain reliever. It’s yet another break the stock car racing series is making from its longtime, but regional, partners.

``NASCAR has been trying to align itself with the leaders in their category, and those that have a national footprint,″ Steve Phelps, NASCAR’s chief marketing officer, told The Associated Press on Thursday. ``Doing so obviously requires some tough decisions, and Goody’s is one of the toughest _ if not the toughest.″

Goody’s were formulated in Winston-Salem, N.C., by pharmacist Martin ``Goody″ Goodman in 1932. The formula was sold in 1936 to A. Thad Lewallen Sr., who marketed the powders by passing them out to factory workers during their shift changes. It created a dedicated following throughout the South and was touted for its speed of relief.

That led the company to partner with NASCAR in 1977, becoming one of the first non-automotive sponsors in the sport. Seven-time series champion Richard Petty became the official spokesman, and Goody’s became ``The Official Pain Reliever of NASCAR.″

But Tylenol cracked into the sport last season by signaling out individual drivers, creating a ``Team Tylenol″ ad campaign with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Elliott Sadler. The commercials are comical, and because Tylenol is the best-selling pain reliever in the U.S., NASCAR felt it was a better fit.

``It’s not even about the money, about what Tylenol could pay vs. what Goody’s could pay,″ Phelps said. ``It really is about the marketing activation that Tylenol can bring.″

Goody’s, meanwhile, remains a Southern staple. Phelps said the company planned to stay involved with Petty Enterprises and continue its relationship with Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, where Goody’s sponsored a Busch Series race this season.

NASCAR slowly has been breaking away from many of its longtime, regional partners in favor of bigger companies. The most recent split was with former sponsor Winston, a Winston-Salem-based cigarette company that was replaced by Nextel in 2004.

It’s all part of a shift as NASCAR attempts to shed its good ol’ boy image and be viewed as a big-time league with heavy corporate backing.

The deal with Tylenol, a product made by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, permits the brand to incorporate the NASCAR name, logo and taglines in its print and broadcast advertising, in-store displays, Web sites, product packaging and at-track components.

The agreement also provides promotional opportunities around all the NASCAR tracks and gives Tylenol exclusive-rights deals with the International Speedway Corporation and Dover International Speedway.

``The partnership is ideal because NASCAR is all about speed, and Tylenol makes pain go fast,″ said Eric Bruno, vice president of marketing for the makers of Tylenol. ``Building on the popularity of our Team Tylenol initiative, we will continue to work hard to create opportunities for motor sports fans to interact with the Tylenol brand. ``

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