INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 7, 2003 -- Quotes from the press conference Jan. 7 during which Indy Racing League President and CEO Tony George unveiled the new name and logo for the IRL's premier series, the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series: TONY GEORGE...
INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 7, 2003 -- Quotes from the press conference Jan. 7 during which Indy Racing League President and CEO Tony George unveiled the new name and logo for the IRL's premier series, the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series:
TONY GEORGE (President and CEO, Indy Racing League): "Thank you, Bob (Jenkins), and thank you Robbie (Buhl) and Johnny (Rutherford) for joining us today. The 2003 season is approaching quickly, and we believe that a renaissance of our sport is following. Never before in the history of American racing have we had an open-wheel oval-based series with the established drivers, the famous owners and the significant commitment from the auto industry that we will have in 2003. With this in mind, the Indy Racing League enters its most exciting and promising season in 2003, and the continued growth and momentum of the sanctioning body has offered us a great opportunity to provide a unique identity to America's premier open-wheel series. Capitalizing on the heritage of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the world's recognition of the event and its cars, the premier level of competition in the Indy Racing League will now be known as the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. The change to IndyCar Series is driven by the League's growth and will allow: The series to better utilize its assets and its association with the greatest single-day sporting event in the world; The change will differentiate the IRL's marquee series from other racing series by its association with the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race; Now that the IRL is running two series, the league will be able to better differentiate the two so that it can maximize the brand value of each individually. The change to IndyCar Series has been popular among our drivers, teams, tracks, sponsors and media partners, and we will continue to work hard to find ways to enhance the series, including our continuing search for a series sponsor. The value of a title sponsor who actively promotes its relationship with us is critical to the series continued growth. Now, at this time, I'd like Robbie and Johnny to join me so we can reveal our new look."
ROBBIE BUHL (Co-owner/driver, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "I really am excited to be here and be a part of this. I think when we all describe our racing, we refer to it as Indy car (racing). The reason we do that is that it's the one thing we do that distinguishes what we do from the other race series out there. So now we are just formalizing that one more step. And I think from our standpoint, the long-term sponsors we've had with Purex and Aventis, this is going to be the fifth year that they're going to be a sponsor of ours, and we do a lot of grassroots marketing with them. We'll do over 150 showcar appearances next year for Purex and go to grocery stores, and I think that grassroots message that we are trying to get out when we refer to out series as the IndyCar Series to those existing and potential fans for our series, as well as existing and potential customers for Purex, it's just a clearer message when we're out there pounding the pavement in the parking lot when you have a couple of hundred people come by on that day. And I think that's all very important stuff." (About the plans for 2003): "The guys are back working on the new Dallara chassis as we speak, and they're going to paint right now, and hopefully in another couple of weeks we'll be testing out in Phoenix. Right before Christmas, we announced that we will be a Chevy-powered team, and we're all very excited about that. We don't want to dwell on that past. Last year, we didn't have things go that way we wanted, and that's behind us, and we're excited about a new year and obviously the level of competition and where the series has gone. It is going to be exciting and fun, from my standpoint as a driver, as well as a part owner of a team. But, the fans are going to love the racing we're going to have." (Will the car look different in 2003?): "Yes, my car will look the same has it has the last three years. That's important for us and our team at Dreyer and Reinbold, to keep that continuity and to build that. You've always seen Purex and Dial on the car. Aventis Pharmaceutical is a big supported of Racing for Kids, as well as the race team. Their big product that you would know is Allegra. Timberland is going to be new sponsor for us this year; we're excited to have them. Obviously Firestone, being a series exclusive tire supplier, that's great for me, but my relationship with them dates all the way back to 1992 with the Indy Lights championship. And now being a Chevy team, going back to GM. I spent a lot of time in Indy Lights and winning that championship with Buick power. So, I'm excited to be back with the GM family on that side of things."
JOHNNY RUTHERFORD (Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, IRL Special Projects): "I think it's great. You know, we're well into the new millennium, and I think what has happened was inevitable. It was time. We picked up on that name Indy. I think Indy is synonymous with the greatest spectacle in motorsports. It's something that fits and is comfortable. I was honored when Tony asked me to be involved with the Indy Racing League since its inception. So, I've been here since it started. It was great to see that beginning and to see what it's come to. I had dreams 42 years ago of coming here. I came here in 1963 and ran my first race, and it has come a long way since then. To realize your dreams, that's what this place is made of, dreams. Drivers that want to come here and be part of this great event. Now we've attached the name back where it belongs, and I think it was inevitable, and now it's on to bigger and better things."