Siemens is charging into the race--a NASCAR race, that is. As a major associate sponsor of the #96 Caterpillar Chevrolet driven by David Green, Siemens hopes to build customer relationships through its NASCAR involvement. Initial customer relations will focus on activities involving Siemens' authorized wholesale electrical distributors, electrical contractors and consulting-specifying engineers who, through Siemens, will gain access to race tickets, show cars, event hospitality and personal appearances by David Green. NASCAR's first point race of the new season begins Feb. 15 with the Daytona 500.

Company officials said it was NASCAR fans' reputation for supporting businesses that in turn support racing that helped convince Siemens to co-sponsor a race team. According to Siemens spokesman Steve Morgan, NASCAR fans demonstrate greater support for sponsors, at 71%, than the fans of any other sport.

Siemens is an old hand at pleasing race car fans. Forty years before NASCAR was born, the company participated in the "Round the World" auto race, a rally held in 1908. The Siemens-built Protos started from New York and was the first car to arrive in Paris five months later.