Champ Car Media Conference: Milwaukee Town Hall Meeting
Topics: Champ Car
DAVID HOBBS: Welcome to the third Champ Car Town Meeting of 2003. Obviously Milwaukee is going to be a great place to have one of those meetings this year in particular because the Milwaukee Mile celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, the oldest ongoing racetrack in the world. Absolutely incredible achievement for Milwaukee to have. Everybody thinks of Indy or LaMans, but 100 years ago this year the Milwaukee Mile opened for business. This year, another twist. The Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250 Presented by Miller Lite is going to take place on Saturday, May the 31st at night, so that's going to be right here in Milwaukee. Very exciting times in Champ Car racing, been a bit tough over the last couple of years but nevertheless it's no pain, no gain and we are making a lot of gains. And it's really because of people like you that Champ Car has done so well this year; this year they have had nearly half a million people in those three races and I am expecting a turnout for the Milwaukee Mile. You fans, are what it's all about, if it wasn't for you there would be no racing at all and no sponsors so I want you to give yourselves a big round of applause. Well done. Well, thanks for taking the time to join us today, tonight. A good turnout, no doubt about it, and we have a great panel tonight. We're going to cover a lot of ground. We'll charge straight through; no pit stops, no tire change, and no gassing up and after, you are entitled to stick around, have a beverage, an adult beverage or not, and say hello to the members of the panel that we've got here to night. It's going to be a memorable evening. Let's look at the video. Let's roll the tape. (Video played.) First off we have the CEO, Mr. Joe Chrnelich, is going to come up. Vice president of communications for CART Champ Car, Adam Saal. One of most exciting drivers that CART has ever had and the points leader of the Champ Car World Series, the winner of the first three events, Paul Tracy. When Paul was just 16 he won the Nashville Formula 1 Championship in Canada. He moved up the ladder and took the Indy Lights Championship by storm. And now he's got another hot-shot trailing behind him and that is A.J. Allmendinger, who has won the second race in the Formula Atlantics Championship this year, A.J. Allmendinger. Now I know with such an enthusiastic audience like yourselves we'll have lots of questions, but I'll start with one before we throw it open to the floor, and I'll start with Joe. Joe, a very ambitious undertaking, obviously with the $20 million we spent here and now the first race is going to be at night.
JOE CHRNELICH: Well, Dave, first of all (inaudible).
DAVID HOBBS: They're off to London tomorrow for the London Grand Prix. You're looking really lean and mean. Kick some butt, A.J. A.J. Allmendinger.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Other than that it's been going great. (Inaudible) there's a lot of experienced people with the engineering staff, the crew. Winter testing was going well at start of the season and I was confident myself coming in that I would be able to do it. With the help of my engineering staff, and my crew it's really hurried up my learning curve and it's been a great start to the season, especially with the win at Long Beach. I look forward to duplicating it here at Milwaukee when we come here at the end of May.
DAVID HOBBS: Certainly got off to a great start, his crew team on Formula Atlantics is the same guy that took Paul Tracy to the Indy Lights Championship way back when I was still racing. Anyways, we're going to be here until at least 8:30, as long as you want to be. We've got Steve and Matt out there roving the crowd. So who has got a question for us?
Q. The first thing I want to say is that I'm really happy for Paul and the statement he made last year that "anything I can possibly do to stay in a Champ Car, I will do." (Applause). Along those lines, I think probably the most difficult thing that I think Champ Car racing faces is fan loyalty and identity. How else could address the volatility or balance the volatility between the promotion of drivers to various teams and drivers leaving for other series and stuff like that? If you're driving down the highway and you see number 24 on somebody's bumper you know that's Jeff Gordon so how could we promote a little bit more stability for the fans?
ADAM SAAL: To answer the question on promotion, my boss has asked me this every day as the vice president of PR, basically the process starts now. We have to get the stability that was so important to establish now and we have to take a group of strong veterans, as well as a group of young rookies who are coming in who are ready to establish their names and start the process. We need to promote them. We need them to come out and visit with their fans like they are doing now, we need to boast our existing talent and future talent. We need to advertise and get stories and work hard with what we've got because I can tell you, the product is there. A lot of these drivers you have not heard of yet, such as Sebastien Bourdais, Mario Haberfeld, Darren Manning. But if you just look a few years ago when a couple of guys showed up, Dario Franchitti, Pablo Juan Montoya, nobody heard of them, but once they get it done on the track, it's up for us to promote that, get it out there and we will do just that. I will never forget back in 1995 when Chip had an opening on his team and I think Bryan Herta had drove the car the year before and Herta moved on and they said, they are bringing over another foreigner, typical CART, it's awful, nobody gives these Americans a chance, here comes yet another foreigner probably writing a check to get a ride. And this guy was Alex Zanardi or somebody like that and nobody knew who he was. And now they come to us and say where are the drivers like Zanardi and so forth. We point out, look, they are here right now. But it's day one and we have to start the process and we will build them. I know we are going to work hard to do it and we share your concern and we are on it.
DAVID HOBBS: Paul can be a little bit outspoken from time to time. And that attracts fans as well. Most of all, they are attracted by his driving and you have good defending driving. Next question.
Q. I think you get the most loyal CART fans that are in this room tonight, and we are all concerned with CART has a problem in terms of support from the promoters. Many cars are running without any advertising and nobody is putting money in supporting those cars. My question is: How are the potential advertisers reacting to the new format and do you honestly expect them to be able to replace the cash drain that you've seen in the CART series?
ADAM SAAL: I'm going to need another bottle of water pretty quickly. (Laughter). We have sponsors responding quite well. Do we need to continue work in that area? Of course. If I deliver no other message tonight other than that, we can never act as if we have accomplished something. Again, when I mention the false positive before, too frequently, CART kind of rests on their laurels in the past. You walk through the paddock, it looks great, you see all of these marquis sponsors and companies. If you want to have lobster or steak for lunch at the hospitality tent, it was looking very good and very comfortable. But we have to make sure we never get into that situation again where we kind of rest on what appear to be laurels because that's not the case. What we need to do is make sure that the companies that have signed on in this sport get a return on their investment. We need to make sure they do. As David mentioned, we had about 470,000 come to the first three races and that includes St. Pete, Long Beach and Monterrey. What we need to do is continue to work with SPEED Channel to develop our television ratings. We have a CBS program coming up and we have to deliver. Johnson Controls (ph) is an example and we want to thank them for allowing us to be part of this tonight. Johnson Controls (ph) took, I look at what was available in open-wheel racing, and to quote Paul Gentilazzi who spoke on their behalf, he said the Indy 500 is a great race, it will always be a great race and it's a great marketing tool, but it is one event a year. Our sponsor wants to do business 365 days a year through a platform that offers them a variety of markets like we do in CART. There's other companies that share that. Visteon is here because they want to do business the same way. There's other sponsors. We have some cars that need to have some spots filled.
DAVID HOBBS: I recognize the voice of the questioner and he works for a big Milwaukee conglomerate, huge, biggest maker of small engines in the world, and I really think they should be heavily involved in Champ Car racing. (Laughter).
ADAM SAAL: This is why we have David, this type of insider information. You have to know the market. Thank you, David. So, are we done? No. We still need to work hard to make sure that these sponsors get a return on their investment and we are working hard on that every day. There are already some great companies, not the least of which are the companies on Paul's car who decided, look, this is our sport, this works for us and the marketing model fits us and this is something else we'll keep working very hard on.
DAVID HOBBS: Questions about sponsorship and CART and where CART is going. We need some questions for these drivers to answer.
Q. Comment and a question. Comment No. 1, thank you for putting Road America back on the schedule. (Applause) Wisconsin residents were very fortunate to have what I think are the two hallmark circuits for Champ Car racing right here in our own state: Road America and the Milwaukee Mile. My question for Paul: Favorite driver, you are so awesome, you're great. Want to talk to you about the direction of CART going towards street circuit and how vastly will it differ to for a driver versus a natural road course like Road America here in Milwaukee? What are some of the difference challenges, Miami, a real short, straight circuit, Denver was very bumpy; what do you have to do as a driver to prepare yourself and your car for taking on those types of circuits, and is it more of a challenge than something like Road America?
PAUL TRACY: Well, to answer your question, I like the mix of all the tracks we have. I think what CART has done is, in some ways its quite difficult to get the people to come to a lot of road courses because it's so far out of a major metropolitan city and we are lucky enough here in Wisconsin that we have hard-core fans that love open-wheel racing and will come out for it. But in a lot of the areas that we race, it's difficult to get people to leave the big cities because of so many other things going on, whether it be basketball or football or baseball or hockey or whatever. So what CART has done is they have been able to get together with these cities and basically put on a race in front of the people, and it makes it a lot more accessible to get a broader audience of fans there. Do you have to prepare any different for that type of race versus Road America? No. It's really the same and in some instances setting up one of these tracks makes it more difficult because you don't get any opportunity to test on it. Like we'll come up here later this spring to test out a car for a day and get a feel for what it is like here and get a pretty good understanding if there's any issues we have to deal with race weekend, where a lot of the tracks that we go to, we have no opportunity. So the setting up for these street courses is actually tougher than going through Road America or mid-Ohio or the Milwaukee Mile.
DAVID HOBBS: Does that satisfy you? That was a long question. You talk about the bumps here and the little corners here. Can you expand a little bit more? I think we'd better go on to the next question. That was a good question, but the fact that Road America is back on the Champ Car trail -- bit of a no-brainer.
Q. This question is also for Paul. Some critics say one of the reasons you've been so dominant so far this season is because the field doesn't seem to be as strong as previous seasons. How do you respond to such criticism?
PAUL TRACY: Well, I've had that question asked to me a couple times this year. I guess really my only answer to that is nobody -- I don't discredit what Sam Warner (ph) has done or Gil de Ferran from the IRL. They are great drivers. We've got a handful of really strong drivers in our series and the IRL has a handful of really strong drivers. I guess as much as I don't like the IRL -- I support CART -- (applause) I don't discredit somebody's accomplishments for winning because no matter what, no matter what level you're racing at whether it be a Formula 4 or club event, if you're winning consistently you are doing something. You're beating the other competitors, and that takes being committed and not making mistakes and everything going right. I think it's unfair for people to say, well, he's winning because there's no competition. I think there's still competition out there. I don't take anything away from anybody.
ADAM SAAL: If I can jump in here. I'm up in race control talking to television just giving them tidbits to keep their great coverage going, and we have all kinds of data available up there. At the risk of getting punched by Paul, Jourdain was the guy to beat at Long Beach. And Bourdais, he was hustling at the other tracks, too. And really, they've got to develop their team work perhaps, and they will, and it could happen next weekend, look out. But there's clearly guys out there who are fast and it's not just a question of Paul. He's said he's run some of the hardest races of his career, and if you watch him, there's no question about it. Critics are going to point that it's a thinner field but at the same time I don't think it's thin on talent at all.
DAVID HOBBS: It's a very good field this year and we have some great drivers out there. Paul has just got off to an incredible start, and obviously he's hoping it's going to continue that way, but it's going to be tough for him. Next question.
Q. I just have two really quick questions. The first is: Why are we giving up the obviously superior coverage of the SPEED Channel and going to CBS for less-than-superior coverage? The second question is to the drivers: Have any of those pictures of Dannicka (ph) ended up on anybody's tool box yet?
PAUL TRACY: I think A.J. has a crush on her . They used to race go-carts against each other. He's known her for a while.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: There's no crush on her. It's wanting to crush her on the racetrack. Just another competitor on the track. Not a big deal.
DAVID HOBBS: Yeah, I've got her on my bedside table. You'll be glad to know that when CBS airing, it's all done by SPEED Channel. They do all the show production and CBS just puts it out on their channel. And having worked with CBS for 20 years, I'm not about to bad mouth them right now. No doubt they do a superior job when it goes to auto racing and it goes right to the guys in the drum, Frank Lewis and Jerry Linder (ph) out of Indianapolis, these guys know and they know nor about racing -- they are really supposed to be TV guys, but they know an awful lot about how to produce a TV show, as well, and they have enthusiasm and it really shows in all their broadcasts. The CBS will be done by SPEED Channel.
ADAM SAAL: Exactly, David. David is spot-on and I don't know if maybe I need to do a better job promoting this, but we will have the same crew led by Terry Windemere (ph) who does our SPEED Channel coverage actually do CBS and that's fairly unprecedented in network coverage. Even if you buy a network package, if you have a relationship with the network you have to adhere to their production standards and their people basically, which is what we had last year. And while they did a good job they are not as familiar with our sport as Terry and his company are. Our relationship with CBS now, one of the things we negotiated in because it's more than just a time buy, it's a total partnership, we were able to negotiate in that our production company does it. You will see the same packaging and not as -- I think the hours, it's maybe a half hour less and so forth, but it will still definitely be good. We look forward to it. We have a preview show next Sunday. I believe it goes off at -- check our Web site, but it's a one-hour preview show with qualifying from Brands on Sunday and then we have back-to-back coverage on Sunday on the 10th and 11th. The Lausitzring race will air on the 11th and I think that's the first time we'll have three consecutive weekend days of programming. I know you all are going to tune in, but tell your neighbors, as well.
DAVID HOBBS: Of course, while you're getting ready for that excitement, you'll be able to watch the Formula 1 race next Sunday morning. I can't tell you who is doing that. (Laughter). Let's move on to the next question.
Q. First of all, I want to say to David, phenomenal work, just tremendous with the uplink coverage; just tremendous (applause).
DAVID HOBBS: Thank you.
Q. I'd like to ask last year's winner of the Indy 500 to comment on this. (Cheering). I've been coming to this facility since 1969 for 34 years. My dad took me when I was a little four-year-old and I've been hooked on it since. What has troubled me over the last four or five years is the -- I think the proliferation of the engines going up to 950, almost 1,000 horsepower range, what's being addressed now that Ford Cosworth has taken over all of the engines with regard to putting on the wings that we used to have back when Paul in '92, '93 when we had tons of outforce came back to double life, three wide in the corners, I would love to see Paul take people on the outside, that would be great to see and I would like you to just comment.
PAUL TRACY: Well, I guess the only thing I can really say is I need to be honest on this one. About five years ago, really, Michael and Bobby were the biggest guys pushing for slowing cars down on the short ovals. They thought cars were generating too much corner speed, the Gs were too high and really lobbied to have the rules change, and I feel that the racing has been terrible ever since. You know, ever since that change, it's just been tough to -- we've gone through all of these different wing packages trying to find a solution, and now we are back to where we were five or six years ago. Granted, in that time period, the horsepower did go up. Now we're back down to about 750 horsepower where we were five or six years ago, so it's kind of come around full circle. I think it's going to make the racing better because with the other wings, the cars were so aerodynamic-sensitive with the small wings that there was so little downforce that there was not enough grip generated by the car from the aero package, and you just couldn't experiment in trying a different line or even getting off the line because you just didn't have the grunt in the car, have enough grip to try something. I think going back now to the bigger wings is a good idea. I think for a year it's going to be good, and for Germany it's going to make it a drastically bigger track, but I was one that never really enjoyed the smaller wings. I always liked running the bigger wings.
ADAM SAAL: Don't miss Germany. It's going to be something.
DAVID HOBBS: Adam, what do you have to say about Paul not liking that rule change when they changed the wings four or five years ago as an executive --
ADAM SAAL: It reminds me of a story about Greg Moore. Greg won his first race here in 1997, I believe in Champ Car --
PAUL TRACY: Greg said, "if these guys don't want to go fast around this track then they should retire."
ADAM SAAL: Paul just stole my copy. But it was Dario's rookie year, I believe, in '97 as well and Greg and Dario got pretty tight pretty quickly and Greg says, hi, Dario, how do you like this place? And he's like, arrggh -- "this place is good for you because you're mad." And the point Greg was making is that these guys did want to slow the cars down, and I used to go over and see them -- when he moved up just like Paul did back in 1990 we would always follow him, and really I think it just an excuse to come by and have a beer with Rick Moore every night because Greg was too young to drink, not that he would anyway. But I was talking and he was just going off, he was saying, these guys are old, they are old they want to slow these cars down and I want to go faster. I want to go faster. He went out the next day and won his first race and followed it up the next week in Detroit. It's good to know that guys like Paul keep that spirit going today. It's racing; you want the cars to race. The cars got basically overteched, if you will. We have the benefit of having a lot of very intelligent people from a variety of manufacturers involved in this sport but when you have that many manufacturers, you're definitely going to lose control of it. And we've been able to kind of rid ourselves of some of those restraints and get back to workable package, and I know as a race fan, a lifelong race fan, I love watching these cars and I think we have the good -- like I said, Germany is going to be an eye-opener.
DAVID HOBBS: I know Greg did have the odd adult beverage because I do remember spending a tremendous evening with him and Dario at Road America. The way I remember it --
PAUL TRACY: They weren't drinking, were they?
DAVID HOBBS: Hard to believe, isn't it?
ADAM SAAL: Sounds like Dario's first win.
DAVID HOBBS: Dario, that Scottish accent, after he's had a couple of beers, you can't understand a word he says. And his wife was there, whatever her name is, Ashley something. (Laughter) she and my sales manager were there and she says: I wake up every Sunday morning to your voices chatting away about and we listen every Sunday morning while we're in bed. And when she was gone, I said, "Who was that"? (Laughter). Anyway, go on to our next question.
Q. I certainly don't know what goes into putting together a race schedule or a TV package, but I know a lot of people have been in the stands and the numbers for TV have been ridiculously low, unbelievably low and I was wondering, three races and three months to start the season all on a cable channel, I think is a tough way to get things started. I was wondering if there's any changes to be made for 2004 and earlier network broadcast race or perhaps toward the end of the season to get things rolling starting off, because I think coming up with CBS this coming weekend or next weekend it's a great thing but three races into the season I think a lot of people haven't had the chance to jump on the bandwagon yet. Wonder if you can comment about that.
ADAM SAAL: Certainly looking at a network kickoff would be a viable option. You have to constantly look at your television package. But at the same time, it's a unique year and we've proven that we can get an audience with SPEED. Can we build on it? You betcha. We are not happy with the numbers where they are at right now. We are going to continue to work with our partners at SPEED and get the numbers up. That's our obligation, not only to our sponsors but you as fans and make it available to you. Yeah, we will certainly take a look at expanding the network package. We have discussed different types of programming, maybe have a race program and maybe have a Monday night or ten o'clock recap show with a couple of characters like Roberto Marino sitting on a panel while Bob Barson moderates it. Those are wild ideas we've thrown out there, but we would love to hear some of your ideas, too. I'm not a big stock car fan but I'll tune in and watch Michael Water and Kenny Schrader on their program because I find it entertaining. God knows we have enough characters in the series that we can probably make that entertaining, as well. If at the end of the day you need good sporting coverage, we'll continue to work on it. We are in good company as far as numbers. It's not excuse-making; that's a reality. Every program short of NASCAR on SPEED has taken a double-digit decrease, and that just means people are tuning in to some 24-hour news cable station to keep an eye on large events in the world. You have to make sure that we don't overreact, but you'd better believe that we are hustling to try to get the numbers up there. Certainly an additional network is something we'll look at.
DAVID HOBBS: The numbers are very disappointing because since -- beginning of last year, gone from about 45 million to 60-odd million and in a couple years' time they want to have 80 million and practically every home in the nation is going to be interested in watching the races. As Adam has said, races have decreased this year, but obviously all this business in Iraq has decimated racing, no doubt about it, IRL they are on a major network and they have very, very, very poor ratings, as well, and with Mario Andretti jumping ship, it has not helped racing one bit. It's a very competitive world right now in TV.
ADAM SAAL: Even network news are scratching their heads. Old standbys are taking a back seat to 24 hour cable news, and it just speaks to changing universe in television and we are ready to react to it. We have in the past and we will again.
DAVID HOBBS: Let's move on to another question and hopefully not each denigrating SPEED Channel.
Q. Let me add my voice to the chorus of fans that are really happy to make such a strong return to the Midwest. Really appreciate it. And thanks for all of the hard work you're doing on many fronts. Last week Mario Andretti was quoted as saying he loves CART, he's not a fan of the IRL but he would like to see the two get together. He went on to say that he was very interested in doing whatever he could to make that happen, but realized it could only happen if other interested parties threw something up against the wall and made it worth the while. From each of your perspectives as a promoter, organizer, racers and commentator, I would like to get your views on what reunification would mean in the face of the strength of NASCAR and how quickly its drawing away vital dollars from open-wheel racing.
PAUL TRACY: I don't really see, at least from the end of my racing career, getting back together and I don't mean to sound negative or anything. But I've been involved with CART a long time and I've been involved with teams that have been on the inside, working for Penske, Newman/Haas, with Barry, both Barry and Penske since the split were very involved in trying to get the two to come back together. So I kind of know some of the things that have gone on behind closed doors, and I guess in my own opinion, I think CART is trying to take every step to get back together, to try to work something out with Tony George. And every time things would get close, he would move the ball somewhere else. You'd work at it, work at it, work at it for six, eight months and he would move the ball somewhere else. I think it just really goes to show, I mean, what this league was supposed to be for young American drivers, all American-based series, keeping the cost low. Now you've got races overseas and majority of the field is European and Brazilian drivers. It's very frustrating. I think for CART, I guess they have exhausted every avenue of trying to make things work and we just got to go on and do our own thing. Maybe it will all come together in the end, but right now I don't see it happening.
JOE CHRNELICH: Interesting question. I don't want to claim to be a racing expert by any stretch. There are experts here in the panel and all of you. But the one thing I could relate to is if you look back in the history of sports, whether it be racing or whether it be football, basketball, you have leagues. And throughout the history of a lot of sports there have been break-offs or branch-offs, if you will, where people have a difference of philosophy. So you know what, we think we should go in this direction. You have another group that wants to this direction. I don't think the IRL and CART situation is any different. A lot of very strong-willed and powerful people that want to see a certain direction go a certain way. And I think ultimately at the end of the day, it will be a business decision on both end of these parts whether they are stronger together or whether it is a better business decision to stay apart and actually provide additional product throughout the country for all the fans. I can't say over the years since the split has occurred, at least from my advantage point it seems that the two enemies are doing a lot more subtly together that is a lot less overtly competitive, if you will, as least from the promoters standpoint. If they do come together, I think what will really force them in that direction will be the fans, because actually you and racing fans around the country are what drive the sport so. That's what I'd watch as an indicator. But at the end of the day if the two leagues cannot get back together, I don't think that's going to hurt one bit. Both will find their way and both will stick to their philosophy and hopefully that will benefit the fan.
ADAM SAAL: The CART Champ Car product works. It's a model that doesn't have history on its side the way the Indy 500 may portray it, but it's really not true because Champ Car races were run on these grounds one honey dread years ago, and we need to continue it with the international mix we have. Because, face it, everybody, this world is getting smaller and we embrace that. If we can take this package and take an American product and just bring it around the world, it may be viable everywhere. We're going to do it. This kind of position is what I would call a "world party," if you will, because we're ready for it. We embrace it and we don't apologize for it. As Paul said, there's a different look to the IRL now than what they originally professed it would be. Maybe people are there because it looked like a business decision for them, but I tell you, you've got to follow your part. If you just follow your business sense, you know, sometimes the common sense will go out the window and you've got to make sure that you stay -- I know when Mario speaks, he speaks with passion. Mario is passion about it. Paul is clearly passionate about it, and what we have is a passionate offering and we need to continue it and we are ready for the embrace that comes around. We don't think you should lower the mountain top like some other series have done that makes it easier for people to get to the top. We think we should keep Mt. Everest there. And face it, I mean, it should be -- this is a sporting competition. We want these cars to be faster than all of the best drivers so it means something and it's worth something. Do we think we can continue on our own? Absolutely. We just need to get to work like I've said about ten times around, promote it and make sure all the people around the world force it. A couple of weeks ago, we had a video on American Idols. I don't know if anybody watches that program, but we actually filmed one of the little gimmick videos they do between each session, the Visteon car and Michel Jourdain and Servia, but it took like six hours to put that entire 45-second spot together, so you had a lot of time to get to know people and they had never seen anything like what they saw in Long Beach. All they know is NASCAR and they don't know CART racing at all and they really got into it. There was a long standing -- at the end of the day we are driving back from our promotion and I was describing -- you could tell that they were starting to get into the whole urban festival atmosphere and so forth. I said to Lou Bennett (ph), it's kind of like a world party and he says "world party, baby, yeah," and you could tell they were getting into the concept and this was something that works, and it will work around the world, too. Kind of a long answer but I get fired up about it, too.
DAVID HOBBS: No doubt Champ Car World Series is a tremendous championship, but the fact remains at the same time they split up, it was absolutely appalling. Winston Cup taking Paul's -- I think if IRL and CART Champ Car did get together again, you have all the best drivers in open-wheel racing together, it would go a long way to addressing the problem of our sponsors and it would go a long way to addressing Joe's problem about TV ratings. It would fix both of those. It would certainly make a bigger chance -- like you went off the rail and down the road. We don't have any American drivers, no American cars, no engines and other than that, it's all American.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: For champ car, talking about not enough Americans being in there; for myself I think I have to speak, I hope one's coming in next year, and that would be me. (Applause). As a young driver coming out in the Toyota Atlantic Championship and with Chris Pook and all Champ Car and CART is doing, I'm really excited to be a part of it and I am a part of it. I'm in the ladder system, highest pinnacle in the ladder system of Champ Car and I know my Atlantic team, their heart and my heart is in open-wheel racing, especially road racing and that's something I want to be a part of, and I think with what they are building towards, I think camp car is going to have a bright future for me to come into. If Paul keeps winning all of these races, hopefully somebody is going to come in next year and try to take him down. Hopefully I'll be one of the guys to be able to do that.
DAVID HOBBS: Paul giving that slightly critical --
ADAM SAAL: If I could make one final comment, because it is obviously an important question. You've heard Chris Pook say many times if they want to call, to sit down we are open and ready for them, but in the meantime we are getting on about our business and I'm not going to give you a British accent as I say it, but I think you've heard him say it, this is a model we've proved can work in Long Beach and it can work all the way around the world and we are behind it and we'll make it go.
DAVID HOBBS: No doubt about it, Champ Car, Chris Pook has got the top operator in the United States.
Q. Paul, I was there when you landed on your head in turn one in Elkhart. I was there when you had your infamous -- with Dario in St. Louis, the amazing come-from-behind run in Elkhart and your win here last year. I've gone to a Champ Car race everywhere I've ever lived. Number one, what can you do to ensure your presence in the Midwest, which differentiates yourself from NASCAR? And number two, what are you doing to ensure that your continued subtle difference which I describe as subtle huddle technology .
ADAM SAAL: I think your question is for CART but I can't make out the questions.
Q. What are you doing to continue your Midwest presence and to differentiate yourself from NASCAR?
ADAM SAAL: So what will we do to ensure our presence in the Midwest and what we'll do to differentiate ourselves from NASCAR?
Q. I've heard rumors of a downtown New York City race and further extension throughout the country to increase the profile?
ADAM SAAL: To answer the first question, Milwaukee Mile, I mean, this qualifies as the Midwest perhaps, Joe. We are here. This track represents the history of our sport to the core and as you know we are going to be running under the lights which is no small commitment and we can only do it through the cooperation of a great promoter partner and it's going to take a lot of work but it only mirrors all of the work they have put into this facility. We definitely plan on having a huge presence here in the Midwest. I mean, really, the Midwest isn't an area that we are most concerned about. We probably need to get to the northeast before the east and certainly New York City would fill that bill but that would be a huge undertaking. It fits the model -- it doesn't matter what type of track it is, whether it's a great oval track or a street course or a permanent road course. It has to be in a major urban setting or the model as Paul said at the beginning where the fans can get out and attend. As far as NASCAR, I mean NASCAR is doing their own thing and they are doing an incredible job at it, no question about it. But I'm not sure we need to necessarily get NASCAR's audience to be successful. I think they are completely different products and we appeal to a completely different set. That doesn't mean you can't have people who also are NASCAR fans who are CART fans. But I don't know if we necessarily judge our success based on what happens at NASCAR. But they are doing fine and doing an incredible job, but I really believe that there's a different audience out there for CART.
DAVID HOBBS: Some references you've had over the years with various drivers, I'm not quite sure what the question was because unfortunately we couldn't hear it correctly. Do you have any comment about the people you've run into?
PAUL TRACY: I couldn't understand it. Selective memory, too. (Laughter).
DAVID HOBBS: On to the next question.
Q. Thanks for being here tonight. A.J., you've been pretty quiet tonight. Congratulations on your year last year -- very well spoken and you've got a heavy foot and I think you'll go very far in your career. A.J., being a good young driver, is there anybody you use as a mentor like Paul Tracy who has been there, done that, who you can go to who is just a welcome experience, who you can go to and say, hey, look, I'm struggling with this, I've got problems with that? And Paul, you were good close personal friends with Greg Moore and at the time of his death, he had signed on to drive with Penske Racing and you had driven for Roger Penske. My question to you is have you talked to him at all about that and what advice can you give? And Adam, it's been said in very many publications that Chris Pook and Bernie have had a lot of talk but nobody really knows what those talks are about or if they have even happened. My question to you is: Can you fill us in a little bit on the details of those talks and if CART is going to be an international series, how are they going to go head-to-head with Formula 1 or what is the plan to do that?
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: For my answer, it's been well documented how big of a help Paul has been to me, starting out with carting, helping me and sponsoring me full-time in carting and then through the ranks just having him there in a race has been a huge help because any problem I've had, I can go talk to him about the racetrack, car setup, anything general, just driving, what he would do and learning from his experiences. That's been a great deal of help to me. And just because of that, I think that it's great, even now, especially with the ladder system now with Barber Dodge and Toyota Atlantics, pretty much every Champ Car race in North America -- I can't think him enough and hopefully he knows how much that's helped my career and helped me further on. As the years go on he can still be there and help me whenever I need it. So, yeah, he's probably been the biggest mentor to me. Since I've gotten to know him the best out of any race car driver that's well known. So it's been a great deal of help to me.
PAUL TRACY: For the second question, if I had any advice for him, race drivers are pretty funny people when it comes to talking about their contracts or who they are talking to or what they are going to get paid. Everything is like triple secret so nobody really knew what was going on with Greg and at that time, I had a contract with Forsythe and Players and had a pretty good place there but I guess I was ready to make the move and all of a sudden he was signed with Penske. I think it was announced in Detroit; wasn't it?
ADAM SAAL: It was the Detroit Grand Prix race.
PAUL TRACY: Really early in the year making announcements -- normally everything happens in September, October and this was like June. I was happy for him. It was an opportunity for him to drive for one of the best teams in the world but ultimately it didn't happen which was sad. That's part of the sport, it's always there and that's what intrigues the fans to watch. There's so much uncertainly when you sit down to watch a race. Drivers go up there to race and we do it because we love it, because we also do it, because we're kind of thrill seekers and if it was boring, it wouldn't interest me psychologically or mentally to do it. I think that's why we all do it and why all of you sit down on Sunday and take time away from your family to say to your wife or husband, hey, don't bug me, I'm watching this race; because you want to see some excitement. That's why we all love the sport.
ADAM SAAL: I think it's great we're spending all of this time remembering Greg. This is where he led it off, his first win and he was a racer's racer and a lot of us got the privilege of working with him from the very onset of his career. Those are true stories about him sneaking into the pits here. He was so young and it happened here at the Milwaukee Mile. True story. He wanted -- couldn't get into the pits to drive his race car and we had to escort him around to sign deals -- establish relationships, rather with the security personnel to let him in on the weekend to let him drive his car. That was back in '93, true story. As far as Chris Pook and Bernie, they are long friends. We may even see him in Monday at (Inaudible); you never know. It is just a friend relationship right now. As you heard Chris say over and over, and you won't hear me say much more tonight, that they maintain a close relationship. They are both in open-wheel racing and if they can bounce ideas off each other and continue to improve both their products, then so be it they are going to continue the relationship they have had for 30 years but beyond that, there's really not much to say. They are good friends. Will CART ever go head-to-head with Formula 1? Absolutely not. Formula 1 does and is the ultimate. We will never be in a position before we battle with Formula 1 at all. We are definitely a notch below. Certainly an alternative. There has been a lot of talk about a meter system as you've heard Chris say over and over, but we want to be complimentary which is why -- going to our own. A couple of tracks that used to run Formula 1 races or a couple of markets where they are no longer racing, so be it. Really can't come on it anymore.
DAVID HOBBS: Friends for 30 years -- previous 29 and a half years -- oh, well. There's no smoke without fire as my old mom used to say. But I think there's they should be complimented, we had a world Champ Car series and World Formula 1 no reason why one should be lower than the other and the other one -- I think we can have as many as is good for all of us. That way A.J. can race every weekend.
Q. Since Mr. Pook has come?
PAUL TRACY: What he has been able to do from a racing standpoint, just talking about getting around, the paddock, getting in and out of the track and what Chris has been able to do with just working with promoters and working with driver --
DAVID HOBBS: I drove into the first Grand Prix of Long -- right then you could tell that Chris Pook was a treasure, and he's not only a great leader, but he's also great promoter you get lots of people to promote very well and they are not very good marriages and Chris is one of those guys that got these two, he's a great leader great manager and he's a terrific promoter -- hope he's around for a long, long time, and Adam Saal.
Q. I'd like to ask A.J., I was at your race in Long Beach and (inaudible) was as easy as Long Beach?
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Fortunately enough Bruce gave me a great car and my crew all weekend did such a great job and the car was fantastic during the race. The transition between the Barber Dodge and the Atlantics it's tough, they are definitely two different cars, two different driving styles go into, so much more mechanical and technical aspects go into it so trying to set it up, I really had to learn a lot but the learning curve has been just such a big help with the team that I've had because there's a lot of experience with engineers and -- hired the coach from Barber Dodge last year -- gave me a car there I could win every race of the season because the car was just remarkable and hopefully they can. We carry on for the rest of the season and hopefully it all plays out into my favor like it did last season.
DAVID HOBBS: I just have a quick question for Paul, you were talking about Mario Adell being a driving coach and he's been around for years and he's been tremendously successful as a coach but just never won at the right sort of races at the right time. Have you ever been involved with a coach or have you done coaching?
PAUL TRACY: I've never had a coach other than my dad beating me over the head with a stick. After I'd crash a car he would look in his wallet and pulled a stick out of the back to whack me over the head with it, but I never had a coach and I don't try to -- I helped A.J. out in go-carts and he knows that I'm always there if he has any questions. But I don't try to push things on people because I don't like it when people push things on me and I think it's even better to sometimes learn on your own to figure things out through trial and error but it seems to be something that a lot of guys are doing now and sometimes having eyes and ears -- I have people I have always talked to, somebody if I had a problem, I could go and ask for some help and that would be Rick Mears when I was at Penske and later on, now, Tony Zeuchilli (ph). Who drove cars in the 70s. For me I don't like stuff getting forced on me so if I need to ask something, I'll ask, and that's kind of how I'm treating A.J. I don't say, go do this; go to that. If he asks me a question, I'm there.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: I think for me, what has made such a big deal for me is that he understands my driving style and he kind of talks the same language as I do. It makes it easy and he is remarkable with going out on the track to be able to watch all of the cars go by and watch the drivers put their hand in the car and see their characteristics and see what they are doing. It's not that -- I come into the pit and as Paul says he doesn't force anything on myself or my teammates, (inaudible). Just he's real calm, gives me an idea of what everybody else is doing and he knows when I'm getting frustrated, kind of just trying to make up for something that's wrong with the car and overhyping (ph) to really settle me down and I think that's the big deal, being able to speak the same language and understanding the driver that's in the car and how to work with him because myself and my teammate are two totally different driving styles and he knows how to work with both of us. To me I think that's what makes a great driving coach is he's real good with just taking the tendencies that we each have and working them into the best car that we can make it. For me, Barry has been a big help over the last two seasons and that's why Bruce Moore hired him and I think we are going to continue that success because of that relationship that we have built.
DAVID HOBBS: Interesting. I've never had a coach either. It showed in my results. Let's go on to the next question.
Q. I was talking about the topic with American Idol. This was also brought up -- 45-minute spot -- why wasn't there any, what was the reason there was no CART logo or anything on the screen?
ADAM SAAL: That's all it was intended to be was a video. Did we want it to be more? Of course you want it to be more but I don't know if you notice or if anyone watches the show. It's something they will do right when they go to commercial or right when they come back to the commercial but they are not even allowed to mention Ford and Ford has its logo on there. It's all placement. It's all logo placement and so forth. So that's why we had the banners up in the background involved. We didn't get as much placement as we wanted. This show alone, each episode they have about 20 million people just making phone calls.
Q. Was it maybe time for CART to run a commercial? It seems like a wasted opportunity for CART; you talk about PR opportunity, time to get it done --
ADAM SAAL: We'll take it. I mean, you have to take every opportunity that presents itself and while of course we would have loved to have a feature in there, it just wasn't what was out there. But we are not going to say no when a show like that calls. It was very important to Ford and I know that the people from Visteon Packard Racing, they were very happy as well. Would we want more? Sure, we'll want more and we'll keep working on getting more. You'll see some of what I call additional accent programming throughout the year. There's a National Geographic special coming out that focuses on safety that has all of the sanctioned bodies mentioned in it but as we should, our guys feature most prominently and so we'll get more out there. I don't think you can call it a wasted opportunity when you get that much exposure out there. Did I want it to be more? Sure, you bet. But we have one every week, we would certainly take it.
Q. I was referring more to commercials for maybe the next race.
ADAM SAAL: I see what you're saying. A apologize. You're saying if we buy a commercial to support it. Yeah, exactly. But should we have a commercial on American Idol every week? Absolutely, but it comes down to cash flow and we have a responsibility to make sure that we keep this company afloat. Right now we don't have that type of revenue but as we continue to build, hopefully some day we can do a national consumer programming ad campaign. I'm afraid the dollars are not there. We have to focus on what we can do and that would be very difficult to do anything beyond that right now. I hear your point. Thanks for clarifying.
DAVID HOBBS: Does anybody have a question for Mr. Chrnelich? He's sitting there nodding off at the end of the table. I think somebody should ask him about his investment in the mile. Maybe I can ask him about the investment in the mile.
JOE CHRNELICH: In case all of you wondering, this does feel like the dating game. If you want more commentary -- I think all of the fans here know over time that we put in over 20 million into the track and that's predominantly the grandstand and into the bleachers and I'm sure everybody misses the old wooden bleachers with the printers but it's a lot of money. Prior to making that investment we did a lot of due diligence. We had to do a little soul searching because not everybody wanted to do this but at the end of the day we asked ourselves if we want to be in the business of racing or not. When you look at the long-storied history here of the Milwaukee Mile, you talk to the people on the circuit, especially the drivers they come back and tell you how important the mile is, they told us that in and of itself is a good investment and we told Paul if he would support that decision by coming out to support people -- it's a big investment, to be sure, but we think it's a proper one and personally I think it puts Wisconsin on the map, keeps us on the map, and when you talk about racing hot beds around the country, this stays one of them. We've got 26 dirt tracks out across the state, best oval around and it's coming back strong. We are a little bullish about our feelings on it and at the end of the day, I make my payoff.
DAVID HOBBS: Well, 20 million is a lot of money but it's pretty small compared to just down the road from the fabled basketball park which has as many as 500 people there tonight.
ADAM SAAL: I'm not going to touch that one but on behalf of Chris and the board of directors, we want to thank Joe and it's been an incredible investment and property and we are going to be delighted to come here in a month and light it up. It's going to be great. Thank you very much for all of the improvements; it's been great. It will be incredible.
Q. My friend is asking questions about increasing the wing size for the ovals like they used to have in the early 90s, on the road racing; does today's CART car not generate as much downforce as let's say a '95 CART car; Emerson, Mario, Al, Junior, Rick Mears, so forth; or is it the tracking configuration and it doesn't seem like it's easy or race wheel, it's familiarity, because the track changed?
PAUL TRACY: There's a lot of them. I think what you're asking is why is there more capacity than there was maybe ten years ago, maybe because drivers, their driving style, I think it's a combination of things. The cars now I would say are fairly similar road course because of the wing size that we run and the template that they have to manufacture the car under -- they are actually fairly similar at downforce level. They have not really changed a lot over the years. Granted, right now, the under wings is much smaller than it was five to seven years ago but -- been able to make substantial gains in the body (inaudible) the pieces that go on the car, winglet's, side winglet's and little pieces here and there. I think what you see, really, now, it's because it's so much more difficult to pass, during that time period, the tires got better. The tires are more consistent than they were. Back when I first started running, we had tremendous amount of grip loss over the duration of a run and you really had to be good at managing your tires to get through a run without going substantially slower by the end of the run. The tires have improved dramatically in the last ten years. During that time period, with the manufacturer involved in different companies; whether it be Toyota, Honda, Ford, Chevy; up until they legalized traction control, since about 1994 everybody -- that's why it was legalized it would all be done -- unpolicible, there was no way a car could catch the manufacturers doing it and that's ultimately why they have legal-sized traction control -- and I think it was probably Formula 1. It's not something that you can't control. You can't control electronics; there's only so many codes you can get around trying to find it. So that I think made it easier for the drivers throughout the -- less tire wear, car was easier to drive and now I think this year, more passing this year in CART because now we have -- Formula eliminated traction control -- we have a one-tire manufacturer of Bridgestone, great tire very; durable but with the power that we had, we still have to conserve your tire. Like I said, forms of traction control since 1994 when I was with Penske, so this year, even though people say we didn't have traction control we actually had it but we were not allowed to say or else you would have your arm cut off by your engine supplier. I think this year you'll see a lot of passing. You'll see a lot of action on the track. I think that's probably one reason why I've been more successful.
ADAM SAAL: This might be a good time to introduce our new retroactive director -- (applause).
Q. The design of the car really has not changed --
PAUL TRACY: I think by stabilizing chassis, the configuration that you are running, it's still expensive to go racing nowadays. For a company like Lola or Reynard which is kind of disbanded right now to develop a new car every year takes massive amounts of money -- at this stage of the game, be it in Formula 1 or in CART, you know, it's a cash business and without the sponsors, there's just not the cash there to do that kind of development. So what CART is trying to do -- they are in under a crunch right now and they are trying to lower the cost of racing, stabilize the cost of racing. There's nothing wrong with what we had so I think maybe Adam can elaborate more but what we need do is make the cost of racing cheaper so that we can have new teams come in to support us. If you look over the last ten years there's really been no new involvement in open-wheel racing for the team owners and now is a time when we need to bring new people in to make it affordable.
ADAM SAAL: Paul is right. We have to stabilize what we have and after going through a volume of having a common tub with the IRL and realize that was not going to be embraced, what we have works, I think if the fans like it, I think you all do like our turbo-charged cars right now. Again we had to get these cars back to what they are supposed to be but right now the aim is 2005 and as we speak there's a talented group of people and we are very fortunate to have some of the best people in the business in our competition department right now who are working on -- they focus on our 2005 package. We will go to Europe and talk to some manufacturers from a variety of competition-related engines and passenger cars and see what we want to have out there. You have heard a lot good gasoline -- at the end of the day if it comes down to helping cars sell dealerships -- sure enough CART with our current package was definitely the way to go. I think the last thing you said will drivers have input; no way.
DAVID HOBBS: Absolutely.
ADAM SAAL: Paul was working on me, even on something tonight. You could not prevent the drivers from having input -- Jimmy is the driver representative and he told on us about something already. A.J. how but -- what do you see for the future I wouldn't say that is definitely the most important thing out there, but no, I have to do the right thing about just keeping the same package because as Paul said the money is not out there right now to keep changing the car and bringing new teams in and with my team it's the same plan; the owner of the car, Russo, he wants to move up into the pressure open-wheel divisions and we keep the cost down, it's going to give us young drivers a chance for the team to move up that are in the lower ranks and as he said and I've said that we both believe when it's the right time for both of us and that's what the plan is, it's for myself and the team to move up together and when it's the right time -- that's next year, 2005 -- our heart is in open-wheel racing and what CART is doing it's going in the right direction and if we keep doing it, it will allow teams like mine and to move up into Champ Car and it's going to make racing that much better.
DAVID HOBBS: Chris Caminiti (ph) said to me years ago, he said, "When I started racing in 1999, Jimmy Smilliville drove the same car for ten seasons. He said now they have a new car every year, it's insane." I told him, you're not going to get a new car until 2005. Stability is very important but consumers, people like Lola and Reynard basically can't survive on spare tires but if A.J. is going to be driving like he did at Mexico -- next question.
Q. Two questions, one for Adam. If you can settle a bet for me, there's a lot of talk about all of these new street races or whatever, and there have been people that have said they are going to fade out other races in CART. I specifically remember hearing Chris Pook saying that street races in the profile or whatever you call it is to build a fan base; it's not to replace anything. It's just a style; it's not to replace. A few comments on that. My question is for Paul. Just curious; is that a new watch up on your arm?
PAUL TRACY: No, this watch I've had for five years so I'm hopeful that I'm going to win driver of the year but that's up to you guys, the fans. We've got to keep doing well, winning races and stay in that floating category and then it's up to you guys, but I hope that I'll be able to follow Cristiano and win that on SpeedTV.com.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Everybody is joking about me having no spare parts and I get booed for that.
ADAM SAAL: I think we need to clarify that basically the Urban Concepts and maybe I've confused it earlier, Urban Concepts is a marketing concept but you don't need a street course to do it. Certainly the street festivals built our fan base, no question about it, races like Toronto, even St. Petersberg, Brands -- which was a great -- New York says out of the box, and of course Long Beach -- but you have a venue -- the Milwaukee Mile fits our urban model. The road course in Portland fits the urban model. Key is location, make sure you can easily get out, have public transportation, get out, do whatever you can and make it be part of the fabric of a major urban setting. So it isn't just -- it isn't just street courses.
DAVID HOBBS: Obviously some road races tracks are better situated -- Road America, there's only about 150 miles for 10 million people so it's going to be pretty good, no doubt about it. Chicago, people drive 110 miles to go to work every say. So certainly --
ADAM SAAL: I hope it wasn't the urban question. It was the watch question, right? Paul stabilized his watch for five years.
Q. First of all I wanted to congratulate Paul and A.J. on their good starts this year. I'm one of many who make the trip up to Road America every year.
ADAM SAAL: I think I can't wait to get up to Road America this year.
Q. One of many Chicago people who make the trip up but I was one of the few who was at the White Sox this weekend. Can you talk about the current relationship with Motor Speedway and any possibility of racing down Lake Michigan or downtown somewhere --
ADAM SAAL: Maybe if you restate it.
DAVID HOBBS: I think your question is should we have a downtown street circuit here in Milwaukee racing up and down Lake Michigan. Just so happens --
ADAM SAAL: We certainly don't need one here, but Chicago -- so contemplate a return to Chicago Motor Speedway -- Chicago remains an important market for us, absolutely. We are not sure that Sissero (ph) qualified at Chicago. They kind of have the same problem that the Meadowlands faced where everybody thought they would do a New York event when we were over in East Rutherford in a parking lot at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. Never really was embraced as a New York event. We had the same problem at Cicero. Cicero has made some improvements over the years but it still has a negative connotation: People didn't want to go there, we had about three months to bring an event back from the dead. We gave it a shot. I think 23 we returned we could definitely deal with a different type of format.
DAVID HOBBS: Have you ever done any site surveys of Chicago, New York, L.A.?
ADAM SAAL: L.A., no, we are covered there. But New York and Chicago, certainly.
PAUL TRACY: Well, I know that there was a lot of effort that went into Chicago. I know myself I went up there last year three times to do three different promotions to try to promote the race and go around downtown Chicago and do interviews and just when it came to race weekend, just didn't really happen. So it wasn't for a lack of effort on CART's part or the teams and the sponsors involved because, you know, for me last year, for KOOL, Chicago was one of their prime markets where they wanted to promote. Both myself and Dario went three times each to try to promote the race. Just one of those things that just can't happen.
ADAM SAAL: That was definitely a case where the crowd reports by some of our critics were actually lower than what we had there. It was a very hot day and we had thousands of people actually down below the grand stands watching the race on the same video system they used for the horse races. It was actually pretty nice. The crowd was good. Again we gave it a fair shake and if we go back to Chicago you'll definitely see a different format.
DAVID HOBBS: Tough to take on those big urban areas. So much going on in those big cities, it's very difficult to get the interest up no doubt about it, despite the fact that Paul and Dario went down there and really promoted hard. Another question.
Q. I had a comment on the Chicago venue, how about Nicks Field right on the Chicago lakefront. I hate to say this, but the IRL race, when you watch them, there are so many of them that are just very exciting. To race the last 20, 30 laps, you've got two, three, four guys vying for the lead.
DAVID HOBBS: For Winston Cup is one thing, those tracks like Rockingham, to me it seems highly dangerous. You get lazy because they are side by side --
PAUL TRACY: For me, I've raced at all sorts of tracks. It's not a race, you go around, you come out of the pits, you put your foot on the floor wide open, you just sit there and go around and around and around. It doesn't matter if you have a good car or a bad car; you're not going to go anywhere. It's basically turns into a crapshoot on the last lap who is going to win. It's basically pot luck whoever is going to win, and to answer your question on the road and street courses I kind of went into that a little bit before. That said, I mean, there are a lot of things that make it a lot easier for the drivers to negotiate around the track and I think what CART has done this year with Ford, they have eliminated a lot of the cheating that goes on and the cars are much more difficult to drive this year and much harder to keep control of and much harder to keep the tires underneath. I think there's been a lot of passing on the track this year and there's been a lot of objection going on in Mexico with guys coming through the field and making passes. So I think just keep watching.
ADAM SAAL: We have definitely taken steps to address that. Are you definitely going to see much passing for the lead on a tight street circuit? Probably not but you have to take into account the fact that, look, these cars again, we're kind of getting repetitive here, they got too high-tech, they are too tweaked out and now we have got them to where they are and we'll put them back in and I know I've seen some great passes already. And as Paul says, stay tuned. A point about the IRL. If we wanted to basically put some down force on these cars and make them be skateboards, we could do it by tomorrow and we could get it out there and running like that and people said, well, why don't you, to have close racing. Again, that's not what we are about. We're about building a good format. Again, we don't want to lower the mountain top to make it easier for everybody to achieve. That's contradictory to what motor sports is all about. While it is perhaps racing, it seems to be racing that sifted through the NASCAR model, we want to have rules-based competition; not managed competition where you make it racing for everybody. Racing should be easy for the competitors and we'll continue to do that. But I appreciate your question, sir, and you definitely have a right to ask it.
PAUL TRACY: I remember when we did our first Hanford Race at Michigan and it was like 150 passes for the lead and everybody thought that was the greatest thing since sliced bread and then we went to Fontana and everybody said, hey, wait a minute here, this isn't -- it doesn't make sense. It became boring because there wasn't a real race. It's just people just filing around in a draft and it became -- I read the Internet and I read everybody on seventh gear and all of these other sights, people saying after the first race it was great and the race later at Fontana, hey, wait a minute here and we went back to Michigan and everybody hated it. They didn't like the way it was. So, you know, I prefer being able to go out and race and go hard and go flat out and if you have a good car, you have the best car in the field, you could win the race. With those type of wings that we were running on the Super Speedways and what the running in the IRL, you are not going to drive away from anybody. You basically just have to wait until the very last lap and hopefully you are in the right position and you've got a shot at it. Really during a 500-mile race it comes down to the last mile and that doesn't seem like a race to me.
DAVID HOBBS: You do get 45 if you are standing at Road America or Milwaukee Mile and you see some guy come into turn one there side by side at 185 miles an hour and take the lead going into turn one at Milwaukee without any help from banking, now that's a real pass. (Applause) Tires smoking, you get it wrong -- and then you have to do it all over again and it takes them 20 laps to set it up and you have to do it all over again. That's real passing for me. I think we have time for one more question.
Q. I have a question regarding the Milwaukee Mile itself. Obviously the grandstands have been greatly improved. They are even taller and chair backs at 400 level. But I also heard about a scoreboard. Apparently they are going to have a new scoreboard. I'd like you to comment on the scoreboard, also the concessions, rest rooms, looks a lot higher in the stands. But the scoreboard, where is it going to be located; is it going to be multiple, digital? Will they be able to see lap tiles and speed? Can you talk more about it?
JOE CHRNELICH: I would tell you that ultimately we will see a new scoreboard. I don't think we will see it this year for a couple reasons. One is budget but the second is we've run out of time. In terms of next year what you'll find, new scoreboard, new media center, leaderboards, you'll see a lot more amenities this year in terms of additional concession stands. Obviously it will be a lot easier to get to a concession stands from wherever you are sitting in the complex. The infield there will be new restrooms next year as part of the media center. I think you'll see a lot more amenities for the drivers as well. So every year, this is just probably the biggest piece you will see in terms of change, but every year moving forward here we'll keep adding one more piece or several pieces to ultimately get to the point where we can be viewed as a top-notch facility top to bottom no matter what aspect of the track you want to talk about. And that includes a road course, bringing the road course back and possibly a mini-oval. So all of those things are on the drawing board and those are things we are planning for in terms of budgeting dollars and bonding. I hope that answers your question. I told everybody, be a little more patient with us as the dollars become available given our larger budget situation at Madison. That's obviously slowing us down a little bit but it wouldn't stop us; we'll get it done in good time.
Q. Are you looking to have an idea of just one; is it going to be -- obviously it's not in the budget this year but when you do it's just going to be one in the center. It's going to have more than a top-five car positions or can you tell me a little bit about what your insights and thoughts are on what you will have?
JOE CHRNELICH: The details I know at this point in terms of the type of scoreboard we would have is you'd be able to see it from anywhere and wherever you're sitting you'll be able to see the scoreboard. How elaborate we get with it in terms of the Fan-A-Gram and things of that nature. We have not made that decision yet. I think we're going to want to probably -- and I would defer probably more to our new general manager, Mark Ferroni, (ph) and his staff in terms of some of the things that they want to see, that they feel will make it a very, very good addition, especially for the fans, for the people watching to be able to see the information where it's meaningful. Those are things we have to incorporate. We don't have the answer for you yet in terms of exactly what it will look like but at the end of the day it will be very, very big scoreboard, large and visual from anywhere on the track.
DAVID HOBBS: Will you be able to see it from the lakefront? (Laughter).
JOE CHRNELICH: You bet.
DAVID HOBBS: Well, I think that wraps up tonight. Some of our panelists have had a long travel day today. They will stick around for a few moments afterwards and if you want to ask more questions feel free at that time and also like most racing drivers they will be scuffling out the back if you don't nail them before they move out of the room. We really do appreciate all of you fans coming out tonight because you are the guys that make racing what it is and we appreciate you coming. Some great questions and obviously we want to thank our panel for answering so well.
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