PONTIAC RACING: BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR 2000 AND BEYOND LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 4, 2000) - After a stellar 1999 season and a fast start in 2000, Pontiac is focusing on continued success for its racing program. A stable of 10 Grand Prix teams has...
PONTIAC RACING: BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR 2000 AND BEYOND
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 4, 2000) - After a stellar 1999 season and a fast start in 2000, Pontiac is focusing on continued success for its racing program. A stable of 10 Grand Prix teams has placed Pontiac at the top of the manufacturer's points for the first time since 1993, and has raised interest in the where the "WideTrack Attack" is headed during the remainder of the 2000 season and beyond.
THOUGHTS FROM JEFF CHEW, MARKETING MANAGER FOR GM RACING - CHEVROLET AND PONTIAC WINSTON CUP ACTIVITIES:
(ON SUCCESS IN 2000) "After last week (at Rockingham), we are coming off a tremendous high, as far as Pontiac goes. Bobby (Labonte) did a great job for us there. I think we are real happy with where we are at competitively right now."
(ON 2001) "We're still very optimistic about next year. Obviously we are losing some major players in our camp. But we've got some great people left. We've got some phenomenal teams out there and we've got some teams that I think we can do some grooming with and bring them up to the next level to really have a strong contingent. Our number are going to be a lot less for next year than we've had in the pat few years, and I guess we are concerned about that. There is strength in numbers and the more players you have the more opportunities you have to do well. We are concerned about that as far as how we are going to backfill and where we are going to go."
(IS PONTIAC ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR NEW TEAMS) "On an ongoing basis, we've always been receptive to people that want to come over and talk to us. Will we actively go out and solicit? I can't really say that is in our plans right now. But there is always innuendo. It seems like 'Silly Season' lasts all year round. There is always speculation about someone that is not doing well thinking that if they switch brands they can improve their performance. We don't have anybody in our sights right now. But we are always open to listening to what they have to offer us."
(FOCUSING ATTENTION ON TEAMS COMMITTED FOR 2001) "The attention we pay to the teams that are still with us will generate some benefits for them. We will be able to expend more technical and engineering time with them knowing they are going to be with us next year. We are hoping to groom them to go to the next level. We have seen some great things from some teams that maybe no one expected to run up front. But they are already excelling on their own, and now we will be able to work more closely with them to maintain and improve that performance. That is critical. We are already evaluating and stepping up right now to make sure we've got some players there when it comes time to run next year."
(CHIP GANASSI) "I haven't had any conversations personally with anybody from that camp. But that's not to say that other people in the GM Racing entity have or have not spoken to them. I really don't know."
(WORKING WITH PETTY ENTERPRISES AND BILL DAVIS RACING FOR THE REMAINDER OF 2000) "We're going to take it completely 'business as usual.' We've got a long relationship with both of them. Our on-track presence this year is critical for Pontiac, as well as representing their sponsors: CAT, Amoco, Hot Wheels, STP and Cheerios. They've got a commitment to them. They came in running Pontiac and we've got to fulfill that commitment to the sponsors. We need to keep those teams competitive through out the year."
(REBUILDING) "People could think this puts a damper on our recent success. But I think in other terms it also allows us the opportunity to attract some additional strong talent because the car has been fine-tuned. It's not going through a multi-year developmental phase. I think we can safely assume the way the car performs is obviously a plus for us in working with potential or existing teams." (HAVE ANY TEAMS APPROACHED YOU) "We've had some people come up to us in the last year and express an interest, either because they are impressed with our program or unhappy with theirs or that they want to go to the next level. I anticipate that will increase in frequency as the year wears on and people see how they are shaking out in terms of performance. (OPTIMUM NUMBER OF TEAMS) "We've never really established an optimum number of teams. Obviously with the finite resources we have, we need to leverage what we have to get the most out of it. If you can do it with a fewer number of teams, so be it. But I think just sheer numbers alone are optimum so you can increase your potential and your track presence. But we don't have a set number that we can entertain. It's just a case of what comes along and how it fits."