CHAMPCAR/CART: Johnson Controls press conference

An interview with Chris Pook and Jeffrey Tellman Adam Saal: We'd like to ask Jeff Tellman, the Manager of Johnson Controls Motorsports Programs to please join us up here. Jeffrey. Jeffrey Tellman: Thank you, Adam. Adam Saal: The floor...

An interview with Chris Pook and Jeffrey Tellman

Adam Saal:   We'd like to ask Jeff Tellman, the Manager of Johnson
Controls Motorsports Programs to please join us up here.  Jeffrey.

Jeffrey Tellman: Thank you, Adam.

Adam Saal: The floor is yours. Share with us your news today.

Jeffrey Tellman: This is a big day for Johnson Controls. I get to, on behalf of the other 90,000 employees that we have, announce that we're going to sponsor Paul Gentilozzi and the Rocketsports Racing Team for the 2003 CART series.

We felt, along with our partners, a strong relationship with Rocketsports over the last five years. We've enjoyed a lot of success with them over that time. A lot of that success is attributed to Paul himself. We look at this coming year with great anticipation, great enthusiasm.

Obviously, the competition that we're going to face here is evident. But we look at this team just like we look at any other team within Johnson Controls and have the same expectation, to meet corporate objectives with this team as with the others.

I've spent the last couple days getting to know the individuals within the CART organization. It's obvious to me the quality of these folks, the support that they're giving to us as a new team, and for the vision that they have for this coming season and for the seasons to come.

We look at the series as a way to expand racing involvement within Johnson Controls. In the past it's been focused primarily in the U.S. Now with the venues that CART has, we can bring in our Asian team and our European team and truly make this a total Johnson Controls involvement into racing.

We view this series and our involvement as a way to continue building our relationships with our partners, with our customers, and with all of our employees. Again, it's been a big day for us, and we look forward with great anticipation to what's to come.

Adam Saal: Jeff, outstanding news, fantastic news. When Paul made the announcement just a week ago in Mexico City, he stressed that if you want to do business in a North American-based auto racing series, this is where you needed to work. Without naming some of your competitors, is the fact that now you can go head-to-head, is that an incentive?

Jeffrey Tellman: Competition is something that we face daily, we're just going to face a different form of competition. And our expectation, like I said, from this team is similar to every other team, and that is to meet our corporate objectives. That we will do the best we can.

Adam Saal: We're going to help do you that. I think now would be appropriate to ask Chris to come up and shake Jeffrey's hand.

Chris Pook: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, another Blue Chip company comes on board Championship Auto Racing Teams with a Blue Chip owner in Paul Gentilozzi. Paul is going to bring a lot of character to our paddock, a lot of fun, but he will bring a high level of competition. That's what we enjoy in this series. With Johnson Controls, another superb company, to match that competition together. Thank you very much, indeed.

Adam Saal: Any questions for Jeff?

Q: I wondered if you could maybe speak to the fact that now Ford and Bridgestone are on board, just how that sort of fits into the Johnson Controls program here, being associated with a series that has a company like Ford not only in the title but involved as a technical partner?

Jeffrey Tellman: Sure. It's good to build relationships with all within the automotive industry. We all are learning from each other and all can contribute to each other.

Obviously Ford is a major customer of Johnson Controls, so the ability to continue to build our relationship with Ford is very important for Johnson Controls.

Q:   The team was announced, the sponsors are announced.  When do you
think the driver will be announced?  What time frame?

Jeffrey Tellman: That's not my call to make that decision. That decision will lie with Rocketsports Racing. Paul will decide the timing of that. I'm sure he's working hard, and would like to make that as soon as he could.

Wendy Gabers (of Rocketsports Public Relations): We've had a wonderfully difficult decision to make here. Such a great cadre of drivers involved in this series that want to continue that involvement. It's made our process wonderfully complicated.

At this point [Paul] is very close. We had hoped to make that decision today. It's down to just a couple individuals. It's very close. It's going to be a wonderful opportunity for both the team and Johnson Controls. We anticipate an announcement early next week. You will all be advised when that happens.

Again, we're looking to get the right person with the right match to help Johnson Controls achieve their corporate objectives, as well as continue that ongoing wonderful involvement of a continuing driver in the CART series.

Adam Saal: Thank you, Wendy. Great to have you working with CART. Chris and I have worked with you longer than any of the three of us would like to see. We appreciate that update. Another key component of the Rocketsports effort.

-cart-

Johnson Controls announcement

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Gentilozzi , Chris Pook