SportsCar News SPORTSCAR COMMISSIONER TOM CARMODY NAMED RACE DIRECTOR FOR FINAL TWO EVENTS 14 October, 1997 TAMPA, Fla. (October 13, 1997) -- Andrew Evans, Chairman of Professional SportsCar Racing, (SportsCar), announced today ...
SPORTSCAR COMMISSIONER TOM CARMODY NAMED RACE DIRECTOR FOR FINAL TWO EVENTS
14 October, 1997
TAMPA, Fla. (October 13, 1997) -- Andrew Evans, Chairman of Professional SportsCar Racing, (SportsCar), announced today that Commissioner Tom Carmody will act as Race Director for the final two events of the year, The NAPA Auto Parts Sebring Octoberfest, October 15-18, and the VISA Sports Car Championships Presented by Porsche at Laguna Seca, October 24-26.
"It has been our intention all along to create an independent sanctioning body that serves our owner/racing teams. This is a contemplated evolution of that strategy that circumstances dictated the need for acceleration," said Evans. "We obviously are in a fight for our very existence. Carmody's principal role heretofore has been to help shape our future and line up for 1998 and beyond. His willingness to step in right now in this situation is appreciated and demonstrates our resolve not only to end this season with two great races but to continue to forge ahead with our plans for 1998 and beyond."
Carmody has been Commissioner of SportsCar since November of 1996, coming in with the new ownership of the sanctioning body. His background has been in the sporting goods industry, being the former Director of Marketing for Nike, President of Brooks Athletic Shoes, and currently serving as a consultant to the Chairman and CEO of Reebok for whom he has been employed since 1992. He is the recent past Chairman of the Athletic Footwear Association and a National Trustee for charitable group Athletes and Entertainers for Kids organization.
"When Andy first approached me regarding a position as Commissioner, I admit I was nothing more than a motor sports fan," Carmody stated. "His vision was forged as an owner and competitor. He felt often that he and others had been treated as pawns in a game of chess with constantly changing rules. He believed the right model was more in line with the NFL, NBA, or MLB where team owners controlled their own destiny cooperatively and the sanctioning body was there to provide consistency, equity, marketing synergy, consensus management, and efficient race operations. Andy hasn't varied from that vision one bit.
"At the outset, we knew 1997 was going to be a tremendous challenge. We had to establish a new schedule, a new race operations team, field marketing and a new identity. We surveyed our fans and made adjustments to become more fan friendly," continues Carmody. "We acquired venues, created class representative forums, forged alliances and analyzed what we needed most in the future. This all happened in 90 days.
"My role was to help the team look ahead. We identified the need to improve our television exposure, solidify manufacturer support and attract new, dynamic sponsors for '98 and beyond. That's what I've been primarily involved in to this time. We've made tremendous headway, plus we've had a pretty good racing year with an increase of crowds and entrants.
"The latest turn of events is certainly disappointing. The politics and egos of motor sports was not something I was aware of prior to my part-time active involvement this year. It's predatory and vicious and certainly not healthy, but it's a fact of life. No doubt Andy has stepped on some toes. A lot of people don't like his style. I find him to be passionate about racing, truly concerned about the competitors, and committed to making SportsCar the best motor sports organization in the world.
"Andy does not want to be, nor was it intended for him to be, micromanaging day-to-day SportsCar operations. Survival instinct has required it. Going forward, that is not the plan. Right now, we're
David facing Goliath. We've upset and been a thorn in the side of some powerful motor sports people.
"Obviously, it's all coming to a head. We have offered an exciting franchise program to our teams for their consideration. We respect their right to make individual decisions on what is best for them from their perspective. We are open to suggestions and third-party intervention. Our one goal is to have SportsCar succeed and this great tradition to continue.
Evans also announced the formal resignation of former SportsCar President, Jack Long, and thanked him for his many contributions during the course of this year.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ed Nicholls, (813)877-4672