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NASCAR Mid-Ohio Announcement

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR, Nationwide Series

NASCAR Mid-Ohio Announcement

Steve Allen
Sam Hornish, Jr.
Matt Jauchius
Steve O'Donnell
Craig Rust
November 13, 2012


THE MODERATOR:  Good morning, everyone.  Thank you for joining us.  First we'd like to thank and welcome all those who made it here to Columbus, to Nationwide Insurance Headquarters.  Additionally, hello and welcome to those of you tuning in online at NASCARmedia.com.  And lastly I want to extend a warm thank‑you to some of the special guests that we've got here in attendance today:  Lexington Mayor Eugene Parkinson; Mansfield Convention and Visitor Bureau President Lee Tasseff; Morrow County Commissioners Tom Harden, Tom Whiston and Olen Jackson; Brian Timm and Bruce Wimbish from the Greater Columbus Sports Commission; Mansfield‑Richland County Chamber President Kevin Nestor; and some guests from Experience Columbus, Scott Peacock.
Thank you all for attending, and as well I want to welcome mid‑Ohio Sports Car Course owners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree.  Thank you all for taking the time, whether online or in person to be part of this momentous objection.  Before we hear from the gentlemen to my left, let's take a minute to review the thrilling year that's just about to wrap up in the NASCAR Nationwide Series season this weekend.  Here are some highlights:
(Video shown.)
Exciting stuff there for sure.  I'm looking forward to hearing more about that.  Before we move on to introduce Craig Russell, I just wanted to welcome the Mayor of Mansfield, Tim Theaker.  Definitely som exciting stuff in that video, and here with some more exciting news that we're anticipating hearing is the president of mid‑Ohio Sports Car Course Craig Rust.
CRAIG RUST:  Thanks, Jesse.  First of all, I'd like to thank everybody for coming out and to Nationwide Insurance for hosting us this morning.  We appreciate it.
But on behalf of Kim Green and Kevin Savoree, the owners of mid‑Ohio Sports Car Course, and the entire staff at the mid‑Ohio Sports Car Course, I have a very special announcement regarding the 2013 schedule.  I'm proud to announce that we've been added to the 213 NASCAR Nationwide schedule.  The date will be August 16 and 17 of next year.
This is a wonderful addition to an already very comprehensive schedule we have up at the track, with IndyCar, Sports Car GRAND‑AM Rolex, we have a wonderful history with motorcycle.  This really is the series that we needed to come participate, NASCAR product, to round out our schedule.
It also‑‑ to have Nationwide Insurance in our backyard and the Children's Hospital in our backyard, it's just a wonderful partnership that we're looking forward to growing, and looking forward to working with you and your team.  So it's going to be a lot of fun.
We have already received‑‑ when we came on as the new leadership at the racetrack, our fans have already approached us, have been approaching us for years, have you spoken to NASCAR, is there a chance that we could get NASCAR product, have you spoken to Nationwide.  So to be able to add this to the schedule, to formally announce that they will be there in 2013, we couldn't be more thrilled.  We know we're going to get strong fan support and look forward to working with you and your team in growing the event.
So with that and a little bit more news regarding the weekend, I'd like to introduce the chief marketing officer of Nationwide Insurance, Matt Jauchius.
MATT JAUCHIUS:  Thank you, Craig.  Nationwide Insurance would really like to extend a sincere thank‑you to NASCAR for partnering with us to bring the NASCAR Nationwide Series to the great state of Ohio.  There are thousands and thousands of motorsports fans in Ohio, and we have, of course, are vested in and very supportive of NASCAR and think this will be outstanding both for motorsports and for Ohio, and we really appreciate the sponsorship and partnership with NASCAR to make that happen.
Similarly, Craig, we'd like to thank mid‑Ohio.  Having an event in our hometown, in our home state of Nationwide and having thousands of associates who are NASCAR fans, and I think many of them go to mid‑Ohio regularly, so to have them up there for the NASCAR event will be very special to us, and we look forward to the partnership for many years to come, as well.
Most especially for us, though, at Nationwide Insurance, it's actually about our partnership with Nationwide Children's Hospital.  I think most folks know that Nationwide Insurance has over five decades of committed history to supporting and partnering with Nationwide Children's Hospital.  Of course there was the 2006 seminal gift of $50 million, which at the time was the second largest of its kind ever recorded.  One fact I want to share with you which we take great pride in is since that time, since 2006, the sports marketing partnerships of Nationwide Insurance have raised over $7 and a half million for Nationwide Children's Hospital.  So specifically these would be The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance, the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship on which Dr.Allen and I are board members, most recently the Columbus Marathon, and we are absolutely thrilled to add the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series.  We could not be more excited.
I've talked a lot about the hospital.  It's now my pleasure to introduce the chief executive officer of Nationwide Children's Hospital, Dr.Steve Allen.
STEVE ALLEN:  Well, thank you very much.  At Nationwide Children's Hospital we're so grateful for yet another gift to our patients and families from the Nationwide Insurance Company.  We want to express our thanks to the mid‑Ohio Sports Car Course as well as Messrs. Green and Savoree for bringing this event to Central Ohio.  We couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of this and for this to further elevate the visibility of Nationwide Children's Hospital across the country, which has benefitted so much from the promotions that Matt had already mentioned.
Nationwide Children's Hospital is one of the country's great children hospitals.  It's gotten to its national preeminence not just because of the fabulous things that go on in Columbus but a lot because of the great support that we've gotten from this community.
Last year we gave out over $120 million worth of uncompensated or undercompensated care to children.  The hospital was founded 120 years ago on the mission that no child would be denied care because their families couldn't pay for it, and it's only through philanthropy such as represented by this great new event that it allows us to continue to meet our mission and reach the growing number of children that seek our services.
We're also very proud to be the primary pediatric provider for Morrow for County, which is the county wherein the mid‑Ohio Car Course is located.  You've heard from me and from Matt and from the course, but I think what really gives it a face why this is so important to the community, it's great that we have with us Grant and Troy Reed, who I hope will come up and say a couple of words.
TROY REED:  We're thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Children's Hospital.  Grant is currently undergoing treatment for a brain tumor.  He is taking chemotherapy at Nationwide Children's Hospital.  He will be doing so until August of 2013.  We spent nine and a half weeks there after his surgery.  He had some complications that developed.  And the one thing that has been true through all of this is the care that was provided by Nationwide Children's is top‑notch.  Not only did they care for my child, which is, as any parent will attest, the most important thing in the world for you, but they cared for our whole family, and without question, without a thought, they offered us anything we ever needed; any staff member, any person we came in contact with was phenomenal to us and we appreciate everything they've done.  We appreciate this opportunity.
And living in the area of mid‑Ohio Sports Car Course, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Nationwide Children's Hospital at something that's near and dear to our hearts, NASCAR, mid‑Ohio Sports Car Course and Nationwide Children's.  The idea of bringing those all together is just an outstanding thought to us, and we're so honored to be part of it.
GRANT REED:  Go NASCAR!
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Troy and Grant.  That's a great story, and hopefully there are more ones similar to that just because of the amazing work that Dr.Allen and Nationwide Insurance and Dr.Allen's staff do at Nationwide Children's Hospital on a daily basis.
Up next with some thoughts on what this event means for NASCAR, let's hear from Steve O'Donnell, senior vice president of racing operations.  Steve?
STEVE O'DONNELL:  Good morning, everyone.  First of all, I want to thank Matt and the team hosting us headquarters.  Terrific partnership.  We believe every one of the Nationwide employees is part of the NASCAR family so couldn't be happier to be here today for the exciting announcement.
Craig, Kevin, Kim, welcome to the 2013 schedule.  It's been a long time coming.  I know our friends at Nationwide have been talking to us for a while about this.  We've got a long history of racing in Ohio.  We're in Mansfield, so I appreciate the mayor being here with the trucks, huge support for NASCAR in this state, and we're really excited to be back at mid‑Ohio with the Nationwide Series, we're here obviously with GRAND‑AM.  I think it'll, as Craig said, really add to the schedule, and we're really thrilled to be here next year.
Want to take a moment, too, to talk about the sponsorship and how it came together, and one of the neat things about NASCAR is seeing how tracks and sponsors and charitable initiatives can work together, and what you saw here today with grant coming up, that takes a ton of courage, Bud, and I want to personally invite you to be our guest at the race, take you around, get you in the pace car and have some fun.  I know the slogan is "Beat Michigan" so we'll get that out there, as well.  Keep fighting, Bud, and looking forward to seeing you at the race.
The Nationwide Series has had the privilege of six times in the last nine years having an inaugural race at a venue, all very successful, so we know it's going to be a great event.  We've got Sam Hornish up here, who's obviously got some experience at the track, is doing well this year, as well, poised to I believe come in fourth in Miami if he doesn't take a few guys out based on what we've seen in the last couple races.
But Sam has got a rich history in the series.  We've got a great battle going on in 2012 for the championship with three drivers coming down to Miami, but we thought it would be appropriate to bring Sam up, welcome him home and have him speak a little bit about his experience at mid‑Ohio and more importantly just want to thank everyone for being here and really look forward to the opportunity.  With that I'll turn it over to Sam.
SAM HORNISH, JR.:  Thank you.  Obviously I'm really excited to be here, having an opportunity to race again in my home state at a place that I remember going to as a kid and standing up against the fence and watching IndyCars go by and dreaming of what that someday might mean to actually get the opportunity to race at mid‑Ohio.  I've raced, I think, in four different series there, if not more than that up to this point, so having the opportunity for the first time to be able to go there and run a stock car will be great.
After the year that we had on the road courses in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and in the Cup Series this year, the worst I finished was fifth in any road course race.  I'm ecstatic about getting back to a road course, especially being one here in Ohio close to home and a place that I have a lot of great memories from, going there with my dad and just enjoying a day by myself and hanging out with my dad.
I think that that's really what racing is about is that family relationship and whether it's bonding with friends or family members, and to have that opportunity for Ohio residents and to also be close to home, I really appreciate NASCAR looking at it, especially Nationwide, for what they're doing for our series as a whole and now getting to race back here, especially with Nationwide Children's Hospital.  I think that that's a really good thing.
Over this past weekend out in Phoenix, I had the opportunity to do a presentation with Paralyzed Veterans of America, and to see what it means to be able to look at NASCAR, and a lot of people look at what we do, and I feel like a lot of times we take a lot, we come into these different venues and the fans come out, they support us, they make us feel at home, they basically give us the means to be able to come to these races, and very seldom do we get the opportunity to give back the way that we have.
To look at Nationwide and what they're doing for people that don't have the capabilities to be able to take care of it themselves and to just be able to give them top‑notch care is a great thing.  I think that's an added bonus on top of all of it for me, and it's going to help raise awareness for sure for Nationwide Children's Hospital and to be able to move things forward hopefully for them.
I'm excited about it.  I know we're talking about it and I think we've got another 10 months to go before we actually get to go there and race.  Looking forward to it.  Good to be back in Ohio and especially to be back in Columbus and see a lot of faces of people that we haven't seen in a while.  Good deal.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, Sam and the rest of you gentlemen, for your comments.  At this point we'd like to open it up for questions from the media.

Q.  Steve, what was the selling point, what sold you on mid‑Ohio being part of the Nationwide Series?  What attracted you to it?
STEVE O'DONNELL:  Obviously Nationwide is a great partner, we're always looking for an opportunity to do that.  We wanted to do so.  We came to Mansfield with the trucks and we saw the huge support, and if you look at a lot of our marketing information about our fans, there's a huge number of fans in Ohio that have been asking for a race.
And then finally and I think just as important, having the team at mid‑Ohio with Craig and Kim and Kevin and people we can believe in to put on a NASCAR Nationwide Series race and do it in a top‑notch fashion.  They've got a history of doing that with a number of races.  I think the partnership really lent itself to put this together.  So those three in combination I think enabled us to put this together, and we're excited about the opportunity, not only in 2013 but beyond.

Q.  Craig, how long has this deal been percolating?  Were you the first to make the phone call?
CRAIG RUST:  It was really a team effort when Kim and Kevin closed on the track, and we got together as a leadership team, and with the staff, it's just something that immediately was on our radar.  I know Kim and Kevin had made some trips down to NASCAR headquarters in Daytona.  We reached out locally to Nationwide Insurance through Jim McCoy, who handles the sponsorship on behalf of Nationwide Insurance.  So it was just a combination of conversations and communication.  When we were contacted by NASCAR that there was an opportunity for this year, things got accelerated very‑‑

Q.  When did that contact happen?
CRAIG RUST:  It's probably about 30 days, 35 days ago that we were‑‑ it was confirmed that there was an opportunity.  We very quickly arranged for NASCAR to come out as a team.  We had a meeting out at the track to sit down and bring everything together.  But just a lot of people working very hard and very quickly to make this all come to fruition.

Q.  Matt and Dr.Allen, what do you expect the proceeds to be for Children's Hospital from this?
MATT JAUCHIUS:  We don't know yet.  I think Craig was right about the 30 days.  I'll give you a couple of benchmarks, and as we get our plans together, I think we'll be prepared maybe in the summer to announce more specific ones.  The Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship, the Web.com Tour, formerly Nationwide Tour event raised $625,000.  Dr.Allen and I are on that board.  The marathon has not announced yet, Dr.Allen, so let's just say that it's a number that is in that same Zip Code.  And of course The Memorial Tournament is well over a million dollars.
So at Nationwide, both at Nationwide Insurance and the hospital, we look for events of that magnitude.  We think that this‑‑ the NASCAR Nationwide Series brings with it a lot of passion, a lot of fans and a lot of support, the mid‑Ohio course, the road course is going to be fantastic, and so our goal would be to be in that neighborhood with the specifics to come out later next summer.

Q.  Sam, you've obviously raced at mid‑Ohio.  How tight is this going to be for 40 cars, especially in the pits?
SAM HORNISH, JR.:  Well, that was one thing that I was going to address but probably not under these exact circumstances.  (Laughter.)
I've been there in an IndyCar race, and it's sometimes a little bit difficult to have enough pit space, and there are only 25, but they need much bigger pit boxes than what we do.  So I'm sure that there's already been planning involved in how to get that moving forward.
I think once we get going, we'll really have to just wait and see.  43 cars is not going to be a problem.
I think that I'm excited to know where we're going to start the race from because there's obviously different locations for start finish lines and things like that of what people have done in the past.
But I think the really great thing about mid‑Ohio is it really adds a lot of different characteristics as far as what the track is like; certain racetracks are really slow speed and technical and other ones are really fast, and I think that this is probably the best match of a lot of racetracks as far as having some very high speed corners but also having some slow more technical stuff over crests and things like that and difficult braking zones.  I've been begging the guys at Penske Racing to come here and test for about the last five years, and nobody would take me up on it.  Now we'd have data if we would have come here and tested.
These guys all getting together and putting a race here makes me look pretty smart.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Steve, what are the things you guys at NASCAR look at before going to a new track?
STEVE O'DONNELL:  I think, first of all, it's the marketplace.  One of the things that's big for NASCAR is being able to take the series and expose it to new fans who may not have an opportunity to get out to the racetrack.  So we obviously know there are a ton of NASCAR fans in Ohio.  We've got racetracks in Kentucky and Indiana, Chicago, but this gives fans in close proximity to this area the opportunity to get out there and experience the event.
And then we look at new venues that give opportunities to the race teams, and Sam and drivers who come in to make offer new sponsorship opportunities by exposing their sponsors to new markets.
And then I would say the last two that I think are just as important in this case, our series sponsor has been a terrific partner to be able to put an event close to where their headquarters are was huge for us.  So I think all those things kind of dialed in and really worked for us to make this‑‑ it feels like an event that has much more momentum heading into the event than we've really ever had with previous events, so there's a lot of things that have lined up to really set the bar high and set some good momentum in place for 2013.

Q.  Craig and then Matt, to follow up on what Sam was asked, what are the logistics of accommodating 43 cars?  Do you do some permanent changes to the tracks, to the pits?
CRAIG RUST:  Well, we're work closely with NASCAR on any ideas that they have, but as I said, they came out, looked at the track.  The track, if you look at the series we currently host, we have a wonderful GRAND‑AM race, we host IndyCar, ALMS has run there in the past, so the track can handle the series.
There's obviously specific things we'll have to work with NASCAR on, so we're not worried about that.
And to Sam's point, I just think the track lends itself to be a very competitive race.  There's a lot of high‑speed areas and a lot of slow turns coming off of high speeds.  The esses are probably going to be pretty entertaining down there at the end of the back straight.  So we're excited, and I think it's going to be a really competitive race.
STEVE O'DONNELL:  If I could just add real quick, too, logistically we've had a team go up to mid‑Ohio.  We wouldn't race at a facility that we think could host an event.  We are more than comfortable with the facility as it is being able to pit the cars.  We need to take Sam through it for sure and give him a little head‑start on it, but we're very comfortable with the logistics that will be in place for the event.

Q.  For Matt, with you guys jumping on board as the series title sponsor, how long did you guys want this thing to happen?  Was it from day one?  It seems like a natural thing since the proximity of mid‑Ohio to Columbus and this is your world headquarters.
MATT JAUCHIUS:  As Steve said, we've been in discussions with NASCAR since we became the series sponsor.  But you know, a lot of the questions up until now were important because you have to pick the right venue, you have to pick the right time, you have to pick the right place, and I think in NASCAR and in our opinion as the series sponsor, we thought this was the right time, we thought mid‑Ohio was the right place, and that's why I thanked NASCAR in my opening remarks because we have been in discussions, this is our fifth year of being the series sponsor, and we recognize that you have to do this the right way, and it took a little while, but we're doing it the right way, and we couldn't be more thrilled about having it with mid‑Ohio and bringing the NASCAR Nationwide Series to Ohio.

Q.  How important is this race going to be for you guys?
MATT JAUCHIUS: This race is very important to us for two reasons.  The first reason is we know that NASCAR fans live and work where Nationwide has strong agents and a strong brand, and it enables us as a brand to connect with these fans in their moment of passion, what they're passionate about in motorsports.  We have over 10 years of history.  We know we're a very credible partner in motorsports, and that's why this NASCAR partnership is so strong for us.  That's the first reason.
The second reason as I alluded to is we are very proud of our sports marketing overall, but specifically the generation of millions of dollars for Nationwide Children's Hospital, which we connect through all of these sports marketing properties, this was very important to us in strong partnership with Dr.Allen, the ability to just call and say, let's call it the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 and partner together on this.  It's a natural extension of our golf and our other assets, and it is very, very important to us for that reason.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, gentlemen, and thank you, all.



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