SBD/September 26, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Andretti Autosport Exec, GoDaddy Differ On Company's Future With IndyCar

GoDaddy said that it had made no decision about its IndyCar plans for the '14 season
IndyCar Series team Andretti Autosport Senior VP & CMO John Lopes on Tuesday said that GoDaddy "will have a reduced role with the team next year if it has one at all," according to AUTOWEEK. Lopes said, "Times have changed a little bit for them; they’re a company that relies heavily on television and they measure their return on investment based on TV. I think it’s safe to say we’ve had a long relationship with them -- I think it’s going on seven years -- and I’d be surprised if we don’t have some type of relationship with them on a going-forward basis. (The car) is probably going to look different, but I’d be surprised if they weren’t with us in some fashion.” Lopes said that “'two or three' companies are interested in sponsoring" driver James Hinchcliffe’s No. 37 car next season, but "none of them have committed at this point" (AUTOWEEK.com, 9/25). However, the AP's Jenna Fryer yesterday tweeted, "GoDaddy says its made NO decisions regarding #IndyCar and any 'predictions' made by Andretti Autosport are 'definitely premature.'"

LOOKING AHEAD: In Detroit, David Goricki reported the city will "again host an IndyCar doubleheader next summer." Belle Isle Grand Prix Chair Bud Denker said, “It has not been announced yet, but yes, we will be hosting a doubleheader again next year." GP weekend is May 30-June 1, with IndyCar races set for May 31 and June 1 (DETROIT NEWS, 9/25). RACER.com's Robin Miller reported there are "no fewer than four new players in the mix for an IndyCar race" in '15. Road America at Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin and Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., along with a pair of new venues in Circuit of The Americas in Austin and Providence, R.I. "are taking a hard look." If drivers, teams and fans are "universal on one thing it's bringing back Elkhart Lake ... and its daunting, scenic, historic four-mile Road America course." It has been "six years since major open-wheel racing last appeared there ... but it sounds like" Road America President & GM George Bruggenthies is "serious about making it happen" in '15. He said, “I'm probably letting the cat out of the bag but we've also talked about having a two-day, mid-week test here next summer for IndyCar that's open to the public to keep the juices flowing.” Mazda Laguna from '83-'04 "was a staple on the CART/Champ Car circuit." Meanwhile, it now "appears that Providence is set to step in" and replace the Baltimore GP on the schedule. The 2.1-mile, 11-turn street circuit in Providence "has been in the works for the past two years" (RACER.com, 9/24).
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