The Two Most Iconic Logos in Auto Racing Part 2

stpBy David G. Firestone

If you were into grunge in the 1990’s, the name Stone Temple Pilots is very familiar to you. Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo, Eric Kretz, Scott Weiland met in San Diego and in 1986, began using the name Mighty Joe Young, after a 1949 movie. When informed that Mighty Joe Young had been claimed by Chicago Blues singer Joseph Young, the band needed a new name. As children of the 1970’s, they had seen STP stickers on motorcycles, and other various places, so they took that abbreviation and started calling themselves the Stone Temple Pilots.

Indeed those stickers were iconic, but I doubt if The DeLeos, Kretz and Weiland understood the meaning behind that STP logo they liked so much. Indeed, many people know the logo, but many don’t know the meaning behind it. STP stands for Scientifically Treated Petroleum. It was invented in 1953 by three businessmen, who started selling it out of the trunk of their car. It was so effective, that auto racing teams came calling for it. STP grew from there, not only designing products to help drivers, both in racing and on the road, but sponsoring teams in racing.

The STP logo was part of the first can design, and has remained unchanged. That logo, which was seen on the sides of race cars, was turned into decals. Those decals sold in droves. The red oval with blue and white STP on it, with THE RACER’S EDGE simply looked cool, and the decals turned up on cars, motorcycles, locker doors, and dozens of other places. Many people bought the decal, some, I’m convinced, didn’t know anything about the product.

While many drivers ran the STP red oval, it’s become attached to one particular car. It was a partnership that transcended the barriers of time, and is just as iconic as the logo. It began at rhe 1971 Winston Golden State 400 at Riverside, on June 20, 1971, when STP started sponsoring the #43 car of Richard Petty. Driving a blue 1971 Plymouth Road Runner, Petty started second, but due to engine issues only ran 110 of the 153 laps, finishing 13th. Though it seemed insignificant at the time, this would be the beginning of a long partnership between Petty and STP, which would result in 4 Sprint Cup Championships and 60 of Petty’s 200 victories.

With STP, the brand identity is more important than the brand itself, it seems. Many different racing equipment and additive companies are in business today, some longer than STP, but very few still use their original logo, and fewer still have had that logo prove so, not only iconic, but influential as well. The STP logo will NEVER change, and it shouldn’t change.


1 thought on “The Two Most Iconic Logos in Auto Racing Part 2

  1. I grew up in Des Plaines, IL and in the mid 60’s some kid figured out if you rode your bike to the STP HQ the nice lady at the front desk would give you some stickers if you answered one question. I did it once and I recall it was a serious, scary right along the highway ride. But my Stingray made it and I knew the answer was “scientifically treated petroleum.” The nice lady pulled a few of the coveted stickers out of a drawer and asked me who the CEO and head of their racing program was. What? What? All I could come up with was Andy but that was enough. I still have one sticker that I found in one of my old books.

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