IRL: IMS, Traxx Racing form karting alliance

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2000 - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Traxx Racing today announced the formation of a strategic partnership in which the two organizations signed a multi-year agreement allowing Traxx to use trademarks and...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2000 - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Traxx Racing today announced the formation of a strategic partnership in which the two organizations signed a multi-year agreement allowing Traxx to use trademarks and other properties owned by IMS in connection with the rollout of indoor kart racing centers.

Traxx Racing commenced operations in 1999 and franchises indoor kart racing facilities in Seattle, with plans to expand throughout the United States. "The addition of IMS and its vast depth of resources further enhances the breadth of experiences we can offer to our customers" said Rourke O'Brien, chairman of Seattle-based Traxx. "This relationship benefits both parties in that the fame and prestige of IMS and its properties will draw attention and bring credibility to karting, while in turn our karting centers will bring attention to multiple forms of auto racing offered at IMS. Together, the companies deliver authenticity and credibility to racing for the public." Said David Moroknek, senior director of IMS Event Marketing & Consumer Products: "The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing Northern Light Series are steeped in tradition of grass roots open-wheel racing. This partnership with Traxx gives us an opportunity to build our fan base as well as the sport of racing by providing a hands-on racing experience. It is our hope to bring a small piece of the Indy 500 and the Indy Racing League to these karting centers all across the United States."

Many drivers that currently compete at the famous 2.5-mile oval got their start in karting, including two-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon, Indy Racing Northern Light Series standout Mark Dismore, and 19-year-old Sarah Fisher, who became only the third woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 last May.

For those who cheer for their favorite driver every weekend, Traxx offers fans the opportunity to race without the high costs of owning and maintaining their own kart.

"We give people a chance to compete in local leagues, giving them an inexpensive yet authentic racing experience," said O'Brien.

Among the multiple expansion opportunities, Traxx will open the Dobson Racing School, run by seven-time Indianapolis 500 competitor Dominic Dobson, for children and young adults starting at age 5.

Like other youth sports, Traxx will group kids in leagues by ages, such as 5-7 and 8-10, and provides training sessions and private lessons for those who want to improve their driving skills.

"This gives kids exposure to racing on a whole new level," said O'Brien. "Most won't choose a career in racing, but this experience will make them a race fan for life, and that benefits both Traxx and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."

However, Traxx is not just a place for racing enthusiasts to get a chance to race, said O'Brien. Karting centers all over the world have become a preferred meeting place for company team-building events, parties, group functions and charitable events.

While the Indy Racing Northern Light Series is expanding into six new markets in 2001, Traxx is also looking to expand into new markets across the country and some day have the winners of leagues in different locations compete against each other.

"IMS plays host to the three largest single-day sporting events in the world, the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and the SAP United States Grand Prix," Moroknek said. "These events allow us unique branding opportunities that can only be achieved through IMS and our properties."

Said O'Brien: "Karting has been extremely popular in Europe and other parts of the world for some time now. What this relationship will do is take karting to the next level to where it can be viewed credibly as a sport." Soccer, a sport that for years has dominated the sports scene in Europe, has become one of the most popular sports for children in the United States over the last 10 years. O'Brien thinks the same can happen with karting. "This has the potential to reach a broad cross-section of the population and become an integral part of the sports world," said O'Brien. "And the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be a major part of it."

-IRNLS/IMS-

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Series Automotive , IndyCar , Kart
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Mark Dismore , Dominic Dobson