Mike Accavitti Daytona Friday media visit

MIKE ACCAVITTI (Director - Dodge Motorsports and SRT Marketing, Chrysler Group, LLC) WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SEASON? "We are very excited for the '08 season at Dodge. We had an off-year last year. That should be no surprise to anyone...

MIKE ACCAVITTI (Director - Dodge Motorsports and SRT Marketing, Chrysler Group, LLC)

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SEASON? "We are very excited for the '08 season at Dodge. We had an off-year last year. That should be no surprise to anyone in this room. We've explained to you in earlier sessions why that happened. We lost focus on what we were doing on track due to a variety of reasons, however those things are behind us and we feel like our cars are performing very well based on the results of the (Gatorade) Duels yesterday. Duel number one we did very, very well with five in the top nine and Kasey (Kahne) coming in fourth in the second one. We're looking forward to a great start to the '08 season and a great season.

DOES THE MARKETING DEPARTMENT FEEL THEY ARE GETTING THEIR BANG FOR THEIR BUCK USING NASCAR AS A PLATFORM? "I agree with all of these guys to an extent. I am a marketing guy, so I can answer directly. Yes, of course I would like more identity like Dan (Davis) said, but understanding the competition and what the design is all about I'm fine with that. Our challenge is how we make the most with our car and we feel that we've done that with the decal package that we have on the front clip. It looks like a production Charger that people can buy. It's well identified as a Charger. Anything or anytime we can get a Dodge Charger associated with fun and performance driving then that is the kind of message that we want to get out there. We are always looking for more like any good marketing guy, but satisfied with the direction that we're headed right now."

WHICH MODEL CAR DO YOU HAVE FOR THE NATIONWIDE SERIES IN 2009? ARE YOU GOING TO BE READY TO ROLL IT OUT FULL-TIME IN 2009? "I agree with Pat (Suhy). What we did learn from last year, and it was really our Achilles' heel was trying to do too much change at one time, and burdening the (Nationwide) teams with less resources than the Cup teams with that challenge is something that NASCAR may want to consider. So, we'll work with NASCAR on when and how it's implemented and we're not quite ready to announce our name either, but we have great new performance vehicles coming out that you could see driving around the track on a Saturday afternoon, so stay tuned on that."

WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST PART OF YOUR JOB FROM YEAR TO YEAR? "I echo Pat's (Suhy) sentiments. I have a phenomenal job. I explain to people what I do for a living and I don't get any sympathy because I had to work on Sunday I'll tell you that. The issues that we have dealing with teams, we're dealing with independent teams; we're dealing with competitors -- that's the challenge. I mean we work together and we all want to carry the Dodge banner, but at the end of the day, at the end of the race it's every man for himself by their very nature. That's where it becomes a challenge for us on how do we make that happen. From a marketing perspective our challenge is how do we come up with fresh ideas that all of these other guys and colleagues haven't already come up with to try to draw people into the show room, to try to draw people into our products at the track. That's something that we work on - the effectiveness or the ROI of whole racing thing. We're getting a lot more scientific on that, but that is something that we've really been working on the last couple of years. It used to be win on Sunday, sell on Monday. How can we prove that now that what we're doing here at the race track is actually helping us sell cars. It's helping to build that image of the Dodge brand. There's no question about that. We can measure that, but how does that translate into sales. We're finding some interesting ways in that as well."

ON RUNNING MUSCLE CARS IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES? "I am fortunately empowered to make that recommendation myself. I can see exactly your point when you are launching a new muscle car and speaking to two audiences with these muscle cars. The guys my age who may have had one when they were a kid or at least saw older guys or friends of theirs driving them, and you are speaking to a whole new generation of folks that want speed and performance and they might now know what a Camaro or a Challenger is but when they see one they are going to want one. When they see one on the track they are going to see that they're about performance and fun, and having fun when you're driving."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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