WC 'Junie' Donlavey's eponymous NASCAR Winston Cup outfit has secured its place on the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup grid after signing a sponsorship deal with Virginia based company CF Sauer that will see the storied team become an all-Virginia operation for the first time in its 52-year history.

After several weeks of uncertainty Junie Donlavey finally got the Christmas present he wanted, Sponsorship.

In a move that sent a warm ripple throughout the NASCAR Winston Cup community former Eel River Racing sponsors the C.F. Sauer Company ensured that NASCAR's oldest team, Donlavey Racing would be on the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup grid by agreeing to place their colours on the No.90 Ford Taurus to be driven next year by veteran Rick Mast.

The deal, which will last for the entire 36-race schedule, means Donlavey Racing becomes an all-Virginia team for the first time in its history. Both Donlavey Racing and the CF Sauer Company are based in Richmond and Mast hails from Rockbridge, Virginia.

Donlavey, owner of Swansboro Motor Company and Donlavey Racing, added, "For the 52 years I've been in racing, I've wanted to field an all-Virginia team, and I reckon if you wait and work long enough, your dreams can come true."

Since 1949, Junie Donlavey has been involved in every aspect of stock car racing. With 852 starts in 829 different NASCAR Winston Cup Series races, he epitomizes the ever-burning spirit of the sport's competition, while maintaining a gentlemanly demeanour that has endeared and earned the admiration of fans and of generations in the NASCAR family. In 1998, Junie received the STP Richard Petty Achievement Award and in 1999 was the recipient of the NMPA/Meyers Brothers Award and the Ford Motor Company Spirit of Ford Award, Ford's highest motor sports honour.

Mast began his racing career at 16 years old, driving a '57 Chevy in the hobby division at Natural Bridge, Va. From that humble beginning, Mast competed in the NASCAR Busch Series and in 1988 got his start in Winston Cup. In 1994, Mast won the pole for the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, finished second by inches to Dale Earnhardt at Rockingham and posted a trio of third-place finishes.

While driving for Butch Mock, Cale Yarborough and A.J. Foyt, Mast has always envisioned driving for Donlavey and, as fate would have it, he got that opportunity in the late stages of the 2001 season after the unexpected departure of Hut Stricklin and previous sponsors, Hills Bros.

Said Mast, "The Chief, Junie, called me and said: 'Rick, I want you to finish out the season for us. Now, I can't pay you much, but we're going to have more fun than anyone in racing.' Well not since I traded a cow to get my first race car had I felt so much enthusiasm and contentment."

Conrad F. Sauer IV, President and CEO of the venerable spice, mayonnaise, margarine and condiment company, said, "We believe that Winston Cup offers the best opportunity to showcase our brands."

The 114-year old C.F. Sauer Company is family owned and operates manufacturing facilities in Richmond, Greenville, S.C., New Century, Kan., San Luis Obispo, Calif., and a distribution centre in Orlando, Fla. The Company's brands are Sauer's, Duke's, Bama, Spice Hunter, Gold Medal and Mrs. Filberts, and it also manufactures customer label margarine products for the retail, food service, and industrial markets.

"This marks our second season in racing," Sauer stated, "and everyone at The Company looks forward to a long and productive association with Junie Donlavey."

Sauer will be hoping that Donlavey and Mast provide them with more success than the now-defunct Eel River Racing operation that struggled to make the field throughout the 2001 season before shutting its doors. Ironically Mast was one of several drivers to race the No.27 Pontiac last season.

In addition to announcing the racing association, The C.F. Sauer Company named three non-profit charity affiliates to be involved in promotional efforts of the new team. The charities are the United Network for Organ Sharing, the Richmond-based non-profit that manages the nation's organ transplant system; Victory Junction Gang, a retreat for seriously ill children founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty and new member of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps founded by Paul Newman; and the Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary, which was established in 1965 to provide aid to Winston Cup families suffering injury or tragedy as a result of preparation or participation in Winston Cup events.