IndyCar Drivers Chime In With Ideas On How To Strengthen Series
IndyCar parent company Hulman & Co. recently commissioned a report with suggestions for the series, but most drivers at yesterday's media day said that they "have no idea what suggestions from the Boston Consulting Group the series is seriously considering," according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. Driver Scott Dixon said of Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, "I think the guy is very switched on. ... Right now it seems he's just asking questions and seeing what comes back." Dixon "appeared to be in the minority of those who have so far had any interaction with Miles or had any discussions about the direction of the series." There was "not a single representative of IndyCar's management team or the competition department present during the eight-hour media day." It "left the drivers as the spokespeople for the series, a role they are eager to fill." All of them have "ideas on how to strengthen the series, and most of them center on increased marketing and a stronger television package." Driver James Hinchcliffe said, "In reality, the No. 1 goal has to be increased television viewership. If we can solve that, then we can work to expand." Driver AJ Allmendinger said, "I think IndyCar has just got to be marketed better. I don't know if fans see it, honestly that's part of the problem." Driver Tony Kanaan added, "We have the competition. We have the personalities. We need to get it on TV. NASCAR is on TV every single day. We need to put television shows on that show the personalities that tell our stories." Driver Graham Rahal said of former IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, "When Randy was fired, the two guys I thought would be best for IndyCar were Mark Miles and [Indiana-based Just Marketing Int'l Founder & CEO] Zak Brown. ... Both of them together in IndyCar could do a lot of good for the series" (AP, 3/11).
NATIONAL PRIDE: Fryer reported driver E.J. Viso "isn't worried the death of" Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will "affect state sponsorship of Venezuelan drivers, including himself." Most of Viso's sponsorship money "comes from PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company." His "primary logo is CITGO." Viso said, "I really need to thank the president because one of the things he did was focus on the sport and there is nobody out there that can say the opposite. That was one of his priorities to expand this sport in the world, which he did. Racing became bigger, motorsports, soccer, baseball, you now see many Venezuelan sportsman in many disciplines around the world." Through his sponsorship from Team Venezuela, Viso has "risen through the ranks and is the only Latino-born driver racing full-time in the IndyCar Series" (AP, 3/11).