SBD/March 25, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Just Marketing International's Zak Brown In Talks For IndyCar CEO Position

Brown spoke with execs and team owners at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles on Saturday said Just Marketing International Founder & CEO Zak Brown is “interested in doing something" with the Izod IndyCar Series, adding Brown's "only interest would be if we put the pieces together and he was the head of racing,” according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. Brown on Friday attended the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, “talking to several team owners, Miles and board members before leaving for vacation on Saturday.” Miles said there are a few potential candidates for IndyCar CEO who he has “looked at the resumes and thought 'this might work.’” But he added that conversations with Brown “are the most serious.” Miles said of Brown, “He's got a complicated life that he's got to sort out, and we've also got to do our due diligence.” Fryer noted JMI does a “large amount of business in Formula One that has Brown in Europe quite often, and he was recently considering a full-time move to London with plans to search for a home for his family this month.” Brown in an e-mail wrote, “I have a lot of passion for IndyCar and I'm getting to know Mark. We are exploring to see if there's a way to work together.” IndyCar and NASCAR team owner Roger Penske “wants the focus to be on moving the series forward." He said that team owners have "wasted too much time starting fires over small issues instead of concentrating on growth.” Penske: “We've never had a strong enough leader as they do in NASCAR to say, 'Hey guys, here's the rules, here's how we race, and guess what, if you don't like it, park your car outside and sit in the stands.' That's what we need. We need some leadership.” IndyCar and NASCAR team owner Chip Ganassi said of IndyCar, "They have incompetent people tackling the issues" (AP, 3/23).

LOOK WHO'S BACK: The AP reported IndyCar Founder Tony George on Friday "was reinstated" to the Hulman & Co. BOD, "five months after resigning after a failed attempt to reacquire the series." The decision to bring George back onto the board was "made after the family members met in St. Petersburg for their annual shareholder meeting" (AP, 3/22).

STRONG & GROWING? St. Petersburg officials estimate that “more than 100,000 people" attended the Honda Grand Prix over the three-day season-opening event. In Tampa, Mark Puente notes that figure “has grown from 65,000 in 2005.” Tampa Mayor Bill Foster said that he “noticed more people at Friday's events this year than at any other day of the three-day events in prior years” (TAMA BAY TIMES, 3/25).

ON THE RED CARPET: IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti said, “The one really positive thing I see this year is the introduction of the animated film from DreamWorks, ‘Turbo.’ That to me is going to be huge.” He added of the movie characters, “A couple of the drivers will see bits and pieces of other drivers. It’s quite funny. I’ve been involved with it as a consultant, so I’ve been sitting and laughing at different bits. I’ve seen about 80 percent of the film now, and it’s incredible. It’s like working with a race team, a bunch of engineers. The attention to detail these guys have is incredible” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).
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