Aaron's, Inc. will pay tribute to founder Charlie Loudermilk with a custom paint scheme in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. The gesture follows the recent announcement of Loudermilk's retirement 57 years after he established Aaron's in 1955.
The Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 racecar will feature images of Loudermilk through the years, as well as photos of important people in his life. According to Ken Butler, Aaron's COO, the Company's history with NASCAR and Michael Waltrip runs deep, and this weekend's race was a fitting occasion to honor the entrepreneur.
"Many people don't realize the No. 55 Toyota is named after our founding year," Butler said. "Our NASCAR sponsorship goes back more than a decade and is a direct reflection of the legacy Charlie has built for Aaron's – perseverance, hard work and strong values in a fast-paced environment. While we can never truly repay Charlie for everything he has done for his associates, customers and community, we hope the tribute at this weekend's race expresses our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for being an exemplary leader and role model for so many over the last 57 years."
The car will be driven by two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip, who also has an extensive history with Loudermilk and Aaron's.
"Aaron's has been a cornerstone partner of Michael Waltrip Racing since 2000," Waltrip said. "I met Ken Butler at a Shania Twain concert in Atlanta, and our relationship has grown to where Aaron's is a big reason for MWR's success. Over the years I've had a pretty up close view and let me tell you Charlie Loudermilk and Aaron's are the epitome of quality. There's so much to say about him that it's hard to do him justice in just a few words. You go around the city of Atlanta and Charlie's name is everywhere. He's had a hand in so much that has happened in that city."
Waltrip continued, "We wanted to honor Charlie because of all the years he and his family have stood behind us and all the good work they've done for Aaron's employees and associates as well as the community. The No. 55 car's hood says it all, 'Thank you, Charlie.' "
Loudermilk and a partner founded Aaron Rents in 1955 after borrowing $500 to purchase folding chairs and renting them for 10 cents a day to auction houses. The Company was renamed Aaron's, Inc. in 2009. Though Aaron's started in Atlanta, it now has more than 2,000 Company-operated and franchised stores in the U.S. and Canada. After officially retiring last month, Loudermilk became Chairman Emeritus of the Company.
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