PRESS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCES RUSTY WALLACE RACING HALL OF FAME
Here are Mark Hancock’s remarks at the Rusty Wallace Racing Hall of Fame Press Conference at Holiday Inn Convention Center in Morristown at Noon on Wednesday, August 22, 2007:
“We have developed a winning team in our organizational structure for the Rusty Wallace Racing Hall of Fame. You’ve already met Bill Sanders, our Founder, President, & Chief Operating Officer. It was Bill’s idea to create this Hall of Fame & he has pursued this goal with fierce determination for over 2 years now. As President of the Downtown Morristown Association, he has been a major driving force in helping the city’s central core thrive. He has a 16-year friendship with Rusty Wallace that has been cultivated over time, & that has led to this day.
“Bill & I met on press row at a Lady Vols basketball game several years ago on The University of Tennessee campus at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. We share a love for athletics in general & have formed a common bond as friends & business associates. Due to my experience in promoting sports events & in business consulting, he asked me to become a major shareholder in the Hall of Fame corporation & to serve as the Chairman of our Board of Directors as well as the Chief Executive Officer, something I was very proud to do. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Sertoma Center in Knoxville, as well as the Big Orange Tipoff Club & various other corporations & charities.
“Bill & I took a major tour of the Rusty Wallace headquarters in Mooresville, NC, this month, getting an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of all of his operations & meeting with his top executives. We also toured the Dale Earnhardt Museum & the Hendricks Motorsports complex. I have been very impressed with all of Rusty’s organization. We also visited the Sam Bass art gallery in the shadow of the Charlotte Motor Speedway & will be an exclusive dealer for his legendary NASCAR prints in our gift shop.
“Deborah Aarons, who could not be with us today, is a business executive here in Morristown. She has agreed to serve as our Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer of the corporation.
“Bill Denton is one of the premier architects in the Southeast & we are proud to have him as our designer & planner on this project. He is perhaps best known for designing the Sunsphere for the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville. I have known Bill for many years through his work with various churches & other groups, & he & I attended the 7-year Bible Study Fellowship series together in Knoxville. We have several mutual business associates in East Tennessee.
“Mark Dyer is the new president of MotorSports Authentics of Concord, NC, the company that licenses all of the NASCAR driver & team apparel, die-cast cars, etc. They do a quarter of a BILLION dollars in annual sales currently. I’ve had a close personal friendship with Mark, who was formerly involved with the NASCAR Cafes, for over 30 years. He is a native of Madison, just outside Nashville, & a graduate of UT. When I was in law school & obtaining my MBA as well from UT, after earning my undergraduate degree there, Mark was also in school at UT & we worked together as part-time interns in Sports Information. Our Hall of Fame signed a contract to become a MotorSports Authentics dealer this month, & we will be selling a full-line of NASCAR merchandise to hungry NASCAR fans in this area.
“NASCAR's brand loyalty makes it a marketer's dream. The sport has helped its sponsors secure nearly $5 billion in total exposure, and its 75 million fans show their devotion with their wallets. Its market research shows NASCAR-lovers are three times more likely than all other fan groups to buy products from any company that sponsors their favorite drivers or teams. The sport has more corporate sponsors than any other major sport in the country.
“Advertisers such as Sprint Nextel, Allstate, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Gillette, Office Depot, Home Depot, Sunoco, Toyota, and UPS all premiered TV commercials this year at $500,000 for a 30-second announcement. The new eight-year, $4.5 billion TV deal with ABC/ESPN has helped drive the business to new heights. For the first time, ESPN has given NASCAR its own daily show: ‘NASCAR Now.’
“Rusty Wallace is right in the middle of all of this. He is the face of NASCAR on television every weekend, calling all of the races from the booth on both national TV networks. He will become more famous as a TV personality than he was as a legendary driver in the sport. We are also making him the first NASCAR driver in history to have his own racing hall of fame.
“The Hall of Fame is located right here in the middle of all of Rusty’s auto dealerships as well. He has three in Morristown, one in Newport, & two in Knoxville, with another being developed there. We will take advantage of all of that synergy in marketing.
“This is the largest private tourism project in the history of Morristown & Hamblen County. We anticipate that it will add millions of dollars in revenue for businesses in this area annually.
“One more thing regarding the popularity of the sport in this area….not only are we located right on the main corridor to Bristol Motor Speedway, but we are in the Top 5 TV markets nationally among NASCAR fans. Since the Greater Knoxville market is only 60th nationally overall but in the Top 5 for NASCAR, that means that there are more NASCAR fans per capita in East Tennessee than anywhere else in the world. We know that this will make this Rusty Wallace Racing Hall of Fame a super success for everyone involved in it, & I am proud to be a major part of it.
“In the next few weeks, we will be finalizing interior plans with the architect & developer, discussing our site plan, parking, & road improvements, & getting our construction plan & schedule online with the developer, the city, the county, & the state, which is making major improvements to the interstate exit. We are coordinating everything we do with the Tennessee Department of Tourism & we expect them to be very involved in promoting our project statewide, regionally, & nationally.”
PLANS ANNOUNCED FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THE RUSTY WALLACE RACING HALL OF FAME IN MORRISTOWN, TENNESSEE
Morristown, TN, Bristol, TN and Mooresville, NC,– The Rusty Wallace Racing Hall of Fame is proud to announce that Bill Sanders, Founder of the Hall, and Eddie Hurley, Principal of Lakeview Management and Development LLC, have signed a Letter of Intent and reached an agreement in principle to jointly develop the Rusty Wallace Racing Hall of Fame in Morristown, Tennessee. The Hall site will be located north of the I-81/US 25E Exit 8 interchange in south Hamblen County. Only an hour southwest of Bristol Motor Speedway, 40 miles northeast of Knoxville, and 22 miles from the I-40 Sevierville Exit 407 interchange, the site is in the heart of the tourism corridor of East Tennessee and NASCAR country.
NEWS CONFERENCE: A press conference officially announcing this agreement and providing details was held at the Holiday Inn-Conference Center in Morristown at I-81 Exit 8, which is adjacent to the proposed Hall of Fame site, at 12 Noon on Wednesday, August 22, 2007. The founder of the Hall, the developer, area elected officials, and several others who are to be involved in the project, were in attendance at the news conference. They will answer questions regarding it, and made themselves available for media interviews for both print and broadcast regionally and nationally.
Preliminary plans for the estimated $2 million privately owned and operated project will include construction of a 10,000 square foot facility that will include a visitor center, NASCAR-themed gift shop, refreshment center, and the state-of-the-art Racing Hall of Fame display.
Comments from Bill Sanders, Founder of the Rusty Wallace Racing Hall of Fame:
“We are very pleased to make today’s public announcement,” states Bill Sanders. “Rusty has been very involved with this project from the beginning and we are very excited about bringing a new NASCAR-related attraction to our area. His legendary NASCAR career and impact on the sport will certainly be a highlight of the Hall. To our knowledge, he will be the first NASCAR driver to have his own Hall of Fame and the list of his potential inductees is a who’s who of the racing world.”
Morristown and Hamblen County, with their population of over 60,000, is a regional center for industrial, retail, medical, distribution, and educational activity in upper East Tennessee. Just an hour from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it is projected that many of the millions of tourists and NASCAR fans who come to the area annually will visit the site. Wallace, who is now the face of NASCAR as the ABC/ESPN television anchor for the Nextel Cup Series, has many personal and business ties to East Tennessee. The 1989 Winston Cup Series Champion and 55 Cup race winner has six new automobile dealerships in the area. Three are located in Morristown, one in Newport, and two in the Knoxville area. Another is being developed in Knoxville. Bristol Motor Speedway was the venue of his first Cup win in 1986 and he amassed a career high of 9 wins at “his home track”.
Comments from Rusty Wallace:
“Bill announced the idea of a Racing Hall of Fame when he organized Rusty Wallace Day here in Morristown in my honor before my last Bristol Cup race,” recalled Rusty. “After I initially agreed to participate in this exciting project, we met and worked together on numerous occasions on the details of its development. This community and this area have been so good to me, and I have maintained many close friendships over the years. I continue to travel here on business on a regular basis and have a big following of fans that continue to support me and my car dealerships. I am very honored and thrilled that my Racing Hall of Fame will be located in Morristown and East Tennessee.”
WEBSITE AND PHOTO GALLERY: A new website, www.rustywallacehalloffame.com , is now live and will be updated periodically as the project moves forward. It is anticipated that the groundbreaking for the facility will take place this fall and that it will open its doors to the public in the spring of 2008.
As part of that website, we will have a photo gallery. We hope you will enjoy this pictorial record of our ongoing activities. Please feel free to use the captioned photos to accompany any media coverage about our project.
OTHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Hall of Fame is proud to have achieved this milestone in making this public announcement. We appreciate the support of the City Council of Morristown, Hamblen County Commission, Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Morristown Association, who collectively financed a year-long committee study. The committee also received helpful information from the State of Tennessee Department of Tourism Development and numerous other related agencies. Committee members included Hubert Davis, Ray Potluri, Frank McGuffin, Nick Pollock, Bill Brittain, Deborah Aarons, and Chairman Bill Sanders. Advisors included Jim Crumley, Bill Denton, Casey Anthony, and Dennis Alvis. Chuck Davis, who passed away in April of 2006, was also an important member of the committee. Mark Hancock served as a consultant and personal advisor to Founder, President, & Chief Operating Officer, Bill Sanders. Hancock has been named Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Board of the corporation. We look forward to making this a major regional venue for racing sports news and events in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.
MEDIA INFORMATION: All media are invited to attend all of our press briefings. We expect each of them to be covered extensively by print and broadcast media, including TV stations and newspapers. Local talk show hosts may have live remote radio broadcasts for some events and we expect national and regional coverage from those that cover NASCAR regularly.
All media are also invited to call or e-mail us to schedule radio, television, and newspaper interviews with various officers and directors that we will be announcing in the future regarding the project, our promotion of NASCAR, and the legendary career of Rusty Wallace. Principals in the Hall of Fame project will be making radio and television appearances and doing newspaper interviews regularly, and are available for speaking engagements to any groups who would like to know more about it.
OFFICIAL MERCHANDISE: The Rusty Wallace Racing Hall of Fame “Victory Lane Gift Shop” will be a one-stop shop for racing apparel for all the major NASCAR teams and drivers. As an official dealer of Motorsports Authentics, Concord, NC., we will offer a complete line of NASCAR licensed apparel and die-cast racing collectables. We have met with their new President, Mark Dyer, a native of Tennessee and UT-Knoxville alumnus, as well, to develop a partnership with them in that regard.
FEEDBACK: We invite you to send us email suggestions and make other comments via email feedback. We are always interested in getting suggestions from anyone to improve our endeavors.