Indy Racing League Media Conference
Topics: Indy Racing League
August 28, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard and team owner Dennis Reinbold who have a few quick statements and then we're going to open it up to Q & A. Randy?
RANDY BERNARD: Thank you, Amy, and thank you all for being here today. You know, I don't think there was a secret that the team owners were going to have a meeting today and the league, and we just wanted to make sure that we let you know before anyone, since you are our mouthpiece in talking to the world, that the league and the team owners are 100 percent behind one another. We're 100 percent behind building this brand and building IndyCar. And we felt it was very important that we come here today, and after some of the talk this week, visit with you about that.
DENNIS REINBOLD: Yeah, I think our main concern is we wanted to dispel any rumors or talk out there that we are not working in lockstep together because that's not factual. We are working very closely together. We met with Randy as well as Tony Cotman today to discuss a variety of issues and a manner in which we can go forward. So I'm only here not as myself but just representing the team owners that were there together in this meeting.
And we are very much in lockstep, as I said, and we're going to work very closely with Tony Cotman on the future development of the future chassis for 2012, and I guess that's our main announcement.
Q. Do you guys feel that there's a reason for the dissension, or the perception of dissension within the community?
RANDY BERNARD: We believe that we need to be one, and whenever we hear of -- whenever things start to break out there, we need to come together as one and work to build things. And that's exactly what took place today, and that's the way it should happen. We're never always going to be agreeable on everything. That's going to be -- but what we can do is come together and create the best solution to make everybody working together and happy and taking the league in the correct direction.
Q. Was everybody there?
DENNIS REINBOLD: Yeah, I think everyone except someone from Foyt and Sarah Fisher Racing. I think everybody else was there in full attendance.
Yeah, just echoing what Randy said, we've got a lot of positive momentum right now for our series. Today with 29 cars here, that's exciting, and it's going to be an exciting race. We've got a lot of growth happening in other aspects of racing. 2012 is going to be a very important year for us rolling out a new car, and the methodology by which that's done is going to take a lot of work.
Randy did a great job or made a very good move hiring Tony Cotman to oversee that. Tony has got a lot of good expertise in chassis building, and we want to make this the right thing. There's a lot of concern from the owners that we've got a shot here to really build our series and keep the momentum going, so we wanted to get our heads together and then combine that with Randy and Tony to try to help any way we can to make it from the standpoint of economically feasible and from the standpoint of making it the best chassis that we can for the fans.
Q. What were some of the concerns that the owners had?
DENNIS REINBOLD: Well, concerns are costs and cost effectiveness and replacement parts and things like that, just typical concerns you would have over any new chassis, and we don't have a lot of those answers yet, but Randy and Tony have agreed to work with us and we'll work with Dallara, who's an excellent provider, to really work through some of those things to make it the best that we can on all aspects. It has to work for everyone.
Q. Dennis, was there enough time to do this, 19 months before you put the car on the track? And if there isn't enough time, if there's a mistake in the car, is there enough time to fix it?
DENNIS REINBOLD: I think there's enough time. It's tight, without a doubt. It's tight, but there's going to have to be -- that's why we all need to work together and be pulling together to make this happen. That's why it's important to do that.
Q. Dennis, is there going to be any kind of agreement with Tony concerning how the team owners can afford the new equipment, because obviously the cost of investing in the new equipment is a major point for you guys in 2012.
DENNIS REINBOLD: Yeah, it's a big concern for us. It's something that -- and also that's why we want to be actively involved in the process, so we know, and also we're working towards solutions for that along with Tony.
Q. Randy, we all know that Tony has got a lot of experience with the chassis side of the equation, but he doesn't have nearly as much experience with the engine side. Are you thinking of getting anyone to assist him on that level?
RANDY BERNARD: Well, the first and foremost is Tony is right in the rules. He has 100 percent authority from me to hire anyone that he needs at any time he needs. I've given him 100 percent. I believe that after today's meeting he has made it very clear with everyone that he wants their input, and I would like to think that Tony doesn't represent just the league; he represents the league and the team owners. That's very important, because there's -- this has to be a win-win for everybody, and if it's a win-win for us, it'll be a win-win for the fans.
Q. Dennis, can you say how specifically the team owners will be involved, and are there specific steps?
DENNIS REINBOLD: Well, specifically we're going to have another meeting next week, and Tony is going to get some information and share that with us. There were quite a few thoughts -- quite a few ideas thrown around, of which I don't really want to share right now because it's premature. A lot of this is very premature, but I think -- what did I say first off? What was your first question? I forgot.
Q. Are there specific ways that you're going to be actively involved? You said you wanted to be actively involved.
DENNIS REINBOLD: Yeah, the actively involved part, working with Tony on a direct basis, and what I started to say, I remember now, is next weekend in Kentucky we are planning to reconvene and he's going to have some more information as he learns it to share.
Q. And then was there a sense from either the league or someone in the group to say we wanted Tony to do this job, just let him do his job? They want rules, they want answers, but Tony just came on board a week or so ago.
DENNIS REINBOLD: Yeah, I mean, the question earlier was who's going to work with Tony to help him, and he's got a lot of volunteers that were all in that room there. So I think he has a lot of us that can help him, and we have a lot of questions, and he doesn't have all the answers right now, but we'll develop those answers together.
Q. Randy, with the formation of the committee and kind of the diligence that was going into all the proper steps here, all the steps that you took I should say, were you kind of, I'm not going to say caught off guard, but take us through to where you want to the point there were some question marks the owners had, and were those questions a little bit something that surprised you?
RANDY BERNARD: Was I surprised, no. I think that when you invest this type of money into a series, every one of these team owners have millions and millions of dollars invested. They have sponsors, they have drivers, they have fan bases. The thing that -- whenever you put -- combine all those factors, you're going to get a tremendous amount of emotion and passion, and I expect this.
The one thing I would hope that they know that as the CEO of IndyCar, my job is to make sure I'm appeasing them as well as anyone else here today, and I hope that they can know that they can come to me. And sometimes I'm going to get some butt chewings, no doubt, but then there's other times I hope they can come to me and tell me what I'm doing right or wrong.
This is one of those times where they had some concerns. They called a meeting, brought me in, asked me where I stood on it, and we walked away like we should have, together.
Q. Dennis, have officials from Dallara been involved in any of these communications recently?
DENNIS REINBOLD: Well, recently, yes. Tony, I know, met with Dallara last week, and so he's getting more into the process and gathering information. So they will be very, very closely involved, obviously. That's who we need to work with.
Q. Do either of you anticipate any changes to the process based on these concerns being raised?
DENNIS REINBOLD: We're going to be involved in the process, so where that process goes, we still don't have those answers. So I would say, yes, the process is probably going to change based on that. But it'll be the designing of a car that's happening. That'll be part of the process, it's just with some input from us.
Q. Would you define this as the start of the solution to the owners' concerns or the beginning of the solution just in terms of being you're satisfied with now we're okay or just, okay, we're okay for now?
DENNIS REINBOLD: I think we all left that room very satisfied with the direction that the new chassis is going to take. With our involvement I think that's -- you'd have to say we're very satisfied.
RANDY BERNARD: I'll take a little blame on that because I think if I made one mistake in this entire process when we announced the car, we should have had a project manager right there announced the same day. I should have announced Tony Cotman right there, and the reason I didn't was I still wanted to do due diligence on several other people, but in hindsight, looking back, of course I would definitely say that was the one mistake.
Q. Randy, another topics here: We talked about a month ago about your interest in Milwaukee, and I was curious if there's been any progress made in the last month on that front, and I guess in the broader picture how that relates to the entire schedule, when you hope to get ready to go.
RANDY BERNARD: We're optimistic to have the schedule done by next week. We might try to hold off and put it out a little later than that, depending on how big of a press conference or media stunt we want to do. But it's moving along very well.
And your question about Milwaukee, you know, we love Milwaukee. Milwaukee has been there since 1904. We have a tremendous fan base. It's somewhere that we need some short tracks. We want to say that we're the most versatile, fastest race car and race car driver in the world, and when you combine that with superspeedways and short tracks and road courses and street courses, that just plays into our diversity.
So it's important to our future and hopefully something in the next couple years, or if not this year, can be done. I don't want to -- I can't say any more than that on if it'll be this year, of course.
Q. It doesn't sound like you've had a ton more contact other than what's been going on before.
RANDY BERNARD: We're moving forward with our schedule.
Q. I also have a question about the future of this track. Is it on the schedule?
RANDY BERNARD: Chicago has been a great place, great races. We have great fans here. It would most likely be Chicago or Milwaukee possibly. I mean, I don't know if we need both. Chicagoland, ISC, has their primary objectives and IndyCar has their primary objectives, and I'm not sure if we're all on the same page right now. But we still have a great relationship with ISC going forward, and we're still trying to figure out what that would be.
Q. Any news on Fontana?
RANDY BERNARD: No, no news on Fontana. We're putting our finishing touches on the schedule. Like I said, the very first time I met with the press, we want to talk to all the promoters, we want to get all of them here and say, okay, which one of you want to do the best job for IndyCar, which ones are going to act on their marketing, which ones are going to make sure they try to bring as many fans as possible. We're still in that process. We're down to those final stages of really determining who those are, but that's where we're at.
Q. Are you far enough along to know the number of races next season?
RANDY BERNARD: I would say 17.
Q. Is that counting Texas as one or two?
RANDY BERNARD: One.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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