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HOW WILL THE ANTI-INDY AFFECT SPONSORSHIP DOLLARS?
Published October 20, 1995
With 50-90% of any Indy-car sponsorship's value tied to the Indy 500, sponsors are trying to avoid the growing conflict between CART and the IRL over 500 qualifying. In this morning's N.Y. TIMES, Joseph Siano reports the IRL has not only mandated new qualifying rules for the Indy 500 in an attempt to grow the new circuit, it has also tried to leverage sponsorship of the Indy 500 into deals for its other four races. PPG, which has been a major sponsor at Indy for ten years, has yet to renew for '96. PPG VP Kears Pollock says his company wants IRL organizers (who run the Indy 500) "to get together and give us something of value." Pollock says the Speedway wants to tie sponsorship to the other four IRL races to Indy, something PPG has refused to go along with. However, Pollock said PPG is not ready to support the proposed Anti-Indy race as an alternative. Wayne Donaldson, Dir of Public and Government Affairs for Texaco, says many sponsors are "loathing" the potential conflict: "We're not making any firm decision about it, because we're hoping that we don't have to." However, it the sponsors could decide where CART racers will be come Memorial Day. Bobby Rahal, who recently extended his relationship with Miller for five years, will be asked for his opinion, according to Miller officials. But ultimately, Miller's VP/Marketing Neil Harrison, said they "should make the final decision" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/20). EARLY RETURNS: The IRL has received commitments from 15 teams for the IRL's inaugural race, the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World. The entries came back just 24 hours after being distributed, according to this morning's ORLANDO SENTINEL. Mike Zizzo reports A.J. Foyt is the most prominent name among the 22 entries. Forty invitations were sent out, with 23 to IndyCar teams and 17 to newly-formed organizations "that will make up the bulk of the series' competitors" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/20). Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, Speedway Events President Bill Donaldson said reports of civic leaders being upset with the possibility of a "diluted May" have been overblown. Donaldson claimed community leaders have been "very supportive." IRL Exec Dir Jack Long: "The Indy 500 makes stars ... stars don't make the Indy 500. We'll have great new drivers and the cars will be the same" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 10/19).