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February 17, 2018

Jeff Gordon

Charles Shaver

Daryl Wolfe

THE MODERATOR: We have a very special announcement today and three very special guests. We are excited, very excited to welcome back an historical official partner, AXALTA. AXALTA is already a Daytona International Speedway partner and adorns the stadium out front, and a longtime Hendrick Motorsports sponsor, and they will serve as the official paint partner of NASCAR, and here to talk about that with us today is Daryl Wolfe, NASCAR and ISC chief sales and partnership officer; Charlie Shaver, chairman and CEO of AXALTA; and Jeff Gordon, AXALTA global ambassador. Charles, it's been a few years since your organization was last an official partner. Why did you decide to join the official partner family here with NASCAR?
CHARLES SHAVER: Yeah, I think you're right. We were a partner for many years with NASCAR. In 2013 when we were formally known as DUPONT, we took a step back, reassessed that. We also changed our whole global partnership around the world of motorsports quite a bit, and then over the last couple years we worked with NASCAR to get back in as the official paint sponsor, again, kind of joining, as you mentioned, our partnership with ISC, the Daytona Rising project, and then also our 26th year now with Hendrick Motorsports.
THE MODERATOR: Daryl, provide a little context here; AXALTA is a very important brand for NASCAR, particularly Daytona and ISC. Why is NASCAR an effective platform for them?
DARYL WOLFE: Well, first, good morning. Everybody. Today is just an exciting time of the year, and today is certainly an exciting announcement for us on the NASCAR side. I always say that I think NASCAR has the best fans in all of sports, but one of the things I can really say with confidence is we have the best partners, and AXALTA is a shining example of that. I have a unique perspective on this announcement today because Charlie and his team with William and Wade and Joe and Steve and everybody, we've gotten to know those guys really well. They're fully invested in the sport. They're passionate about the sport. They want to grow the sport. The sport works for them. We got to know them really well as we had the conversations around the Daytona Rising project. We got to know their objectives, what they were trying to accomplish, and we had a lot of deep conversations about how they're invested in the sport.
And when we made our announcement, made them a founding partner of the Daytona Rising project, we had a great dialogue about what your marketing objectives were, and we really enjoyed those conversations. Really, really proud of today's announcement. You think about the Hendrick involvement, you think about Daytona Rising, being a founding partner, and now the official paint of NASCAR. Welcome back to the family; couldn't be more excited about today's announcement.
THE MODERATOR: Jeff, you drove the AXALTA cars for years, and you have a special relationship with them as a global ambassador. Talk a little bit about what it means to be affiliated with AXALTA.
JEFF GORDON: Well, and I've had a long‑standing relationship and partnership with them going all the way back to 1993, and even that first race of mine in '92. Their commitment to motorsports, their commitment to the automotive industry, industrial, as well, is second to none. They pride themselves with bringing a product that is absolutely the best, and so it's great to align with a race team where they share those goals of absolutely putting the best product on the racetrack and knowing that that paint is going to perform at the same level as that race car is what has made it a great partnership.
But I think this today, this announcement really shows their continued commitment to this sport, NASCAR, and I think it's fantastic. I've had an opportunity to strengthen my relationship over the years, especially the last couple years, as it's turned into AXALTA, and their commitment today is greater than I've ever seen it, and it's fun to see. Their customer experience, just like the customer service center in Charlotte at Hendrick Motorsports, I think it shows that they're all about bringing their customers and their product together and giving them not only a great product but a great experience. They do that same thing for our race team at Hendrick Motorsports, and they continue to do that for the fans and for NASCAR, as well.

Q. Charlie, obviously you guys are already so invested in the sport with Hendrick, with Daytona Rising. What assets were you most interested in as far as the official NASCAR partnership?
CHARLES SHAVER: Yeah, that's a good question. Being in business just like everyone here, it's all about the value proposition. What we like about becoming a partner, it really strengthens our ability to reach out to customers. You've literally got tens of thousands of people who are directly or indirectly associated with the sport, and our business is painting things, as many of you know, whether that's trailers, boats, RV's, automobiles or any type of automotive products, we're really able to reach the network, through NASCAR, not only direct partnerships with people involved in the sport, but people who truly really follow it, are associated with it, and last but not least, it's also a great venue for us to bring a lot of our key customers here and get a look behind the sport from someone who knows it and just an ability to learn a little bit more about it.

Q. This is a question for Jeff. It's a competition question. All these young kids coming in, do you feel like you're the guy that blazed that trail for them?
JEFF GORDON: I think there were other young drivers before me that blazed a trail, but I think what maybe changed for me, and we're seeing this again this year with Rick Hendrick's decisions on that young driver lineup, is giving young talented drivers the ability to get behind the wheel of really good equipment. I can't help but see the similarities of when I came into the sport to seeing that AXALTA flame paint scheme on that 24 car of William Byron and giving this young kid the opportunity and chance that I think he deserves, he proved it in the Truck Series, he proved it in the Xfinity Series, and I think he's going to prove it again in the Cup Series.
But it's an exciting time. If I put my broadcaster hat on, it's an exciting time for the sport. We need more rivalries, and to see some rivalries being built among the young drivers and the veteran drivers, I think that's going to transfer over onto the racetrack and make the racing a little more intense, a little more exciting. These young guys, they're incredibly talented, but sometimes you don't get a chance to see that unless you put them in top‑quality equipment, and we're seeing that this year.

Q. Jeff, you've seen Fernando Alonso jump over to IndyCar, now sports cars. You told us a couple of years ago you'd do a competitive car. For Mr.Shaver, I was wondering, would you put some money behind Jeff in a LeMans entry and perhaps Fernando in a NASCAR car?
CHARLES SHAVER: Certainly with Jeff. I don't know about Fernando. The issue we have, we are in global motorsports. We're in about 19 different series around the world. We actually have 19 championships that we've been affiliated with here in North America alone. Some of you know we're on the Mercedes team in Formula One with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Yeah, any time Jeff wants to race, we're behind him.
JEFF GORDON: They actually painted the Cadillac prototype that I won in here last year, whatever year, 2017, and they also are not telling you that they also won this year because they painted the Ford GT.

Q. Jeff, Rick Hendrick talked about breaking down the walls this off‑season and really being kind of more of one four‑car operation instead of two two‑car operations. Can you talk about how significant of a cultural change that is at Hendrick through your years, and how could something like that have potentially helped prevent what has happened the last year or so over there, or how could it maybe have sped up the process?
JEFF GORDON: Well, yeah, sometimes your own success can impact your growth because you're seeing great results, and you don't want to change that. And when you start to see the environment around you and how other competitors are going about it and finding new ways to advance the sport or get better results, then you have to at least be open minded enough to look at that and analyze it and see how you can incorporate that in your own organization. I can tell you that those two shops, meaning now it's the 9, 24 and 48 and 88, they've been wanting to combine those efforts for many, many years, and just trying to figure out how to do that, put it under one roof.
I give Marshall Carlson and Jeff Andrews a lot of credit because they have put a lot of hard work into bringing certain areas of the shops and the people together to be stronger, to open those lines of communication, and it's perfect timing because the new body and the Camaro.
I don't know if you're going to see the instant results right away, because it has been new, but it's gone extremely well. All the people I've talked to in Hendrick have been very positive about how they're going about things. But it's all about information sharing these days, and the closer that you can be, and you'd be surprised how that gap can be created even when one shop is 60 to 70 yards away from the next shop, and now that's not the case. We'll see if it works the way that they hope that it will, but I think it's definitely going to improve.

Q. Jeff, when you were running your cars at Hendrick Motorsports, did you have any input as far as the paint schemes, and did you have any designs on some of your cars?
JEFF GORDON: Well, I mean, Charlie might even be able to talk a little bit about some of the history because he's aware of‑‑ Sam bass and some of those discussions on how the initial paint scheme came about. Obviously being a paint company, they want to display their colors, and that car to stand out and be bright. I think the rest is sort of history when you think of that rainbow paint scheme.
We did make a change in 2001 when we went to the flame paint scheme, and I was involved in that. I had a race car as a kid racing Quarter Midgets where I had a helmet that had flames on it, and I loved that helmet in that Quarter Midget, and so I talked to Sam Bass and to the folks at AXALTA about, hey, could we think about maybe making the change, and that was when I went through a crew chief change and some other things, and they were very open‑minded to it. I think that was maybe one involvement I had, and then later we turned that from the blue to black with the flames, and if you go back and see that Quarter Midget that I had as a kid, it's almost exact but way better because the paint is so much cooler and pops nowadays, and the quality of it is a whole 'nother level.
To a certain degree. I wasn't adamant about, oh, it has to be this or this, but I was at least able to have my input.
CHARLES SHAVER: Yeah, we tried to have a lot of fun with it, if you look at the last couple years, not only the cars Jeff ran, we ran a redo of the Rainbow Warrior, but we also tried to load the car up without putting a bunch of weight on it, really the bright pigments. If you look at Dale's cars the last two years, the yellow, the red, and even Homestead Last Ride car, we had a lot of fun with that red. We had to stay close to the original Bud color, but we really try as paint company to have fun with the cars, not only the 24, but if you look at the other ones in the Hendrick stable, as well, every one of them‑‑ we're really trying to showcase the color and the pigment and the brilliance of the car so you can find it on the track easier.

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