Indy Racing League Media Conference
Topics: Indy Racing League, Dale Coyne Racing
January 11, 2010
THE MODERATOR: My pleasure to host this teleconference today, and we have on the line representatives from the Boy Scouts of America and Dale Coyne Racing. And let me introduce formally the team owner of Dale Coyne racing, Dale Coyne and speaking for the Boy Scouts of America, the Chief Scout Executive, Bob Mazzuca.
Earlier today, many of you received a news release about the boy scouts of America and Dale Coyne Racing, how they have formed an alliance that will kick off with the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series. Today's discussion is going to provide an overview of that alliance and details about what the program is all about.
First of all, I would like to welcome the Boy Scouts of America to the IZOD IndyCar Series, and Bob, let's begin the questioning with you. It's great to have your organization on board. Tell us, first of all, a little bit about the state of scouting today.
BOB MAZZUCA: Thank you very much. First let me tell you that the Boy Scouts of America are very excited to be around this table today. This is a first for us, and we are just truly thrilled for this partnership.
It's a very exciting time for our organization. Our programs are going strong with over 2.8 million youth members and 1.2 million adults and we have over 50 million living alumni in communities all across America. And most of you probably aware that 2010 is our 100th anniversary, our centennial year, and over those 100 years we have created a strong foundation, leadership, service, and communities across America for millions of youth over 120 million.
During this celebration year, we are kind of reaffirming our commitment, and it's really all about the future, rather than just celebrating this glorious past. Our commitment is to the future, and we cannot think of a more exciting way to launch that than with this partnership.
THE MODERATOR: Specifically why did you choose the IZOD IndyCar Series.
BOB MAZZUCA: About 18 months ago I challenged our development team to kind of think outside the box. Anybody or anything 100 years old has earned the right to a little arthritis, and we were striving to come up with some unique programs for the organization to help sort of define ourselves in this second century. And during that time we realized that having an opportunity to leverage the exciting and cutting edge technology of IndyRacing, and to inspire some of today's youth in areas of math and science is a tremendous opportunity. And we are kind of committed to this whole concept of helping young people helping our country in the arena of math and science.
THE MODERATOR: What type of partners did the national development team look for?
BOB MAZZUCA: As you can imagine, it was important we search for partners who understand our organization from a national brand perspective, but equally importantly the local community nature of how we operate.
Even though we are a national organization in scope, the magic of scouting happens week-in and week-out in local communities across the country. So it was imperative that we create programs that inspired and engage local people and young parents and volunteers and funders, and Dale Coyne Racing is certainly that kind of partner.
THE MODERATOR: Specifically, what about Dale Coyne Racing makes this a good fit for you?
BOB MAZZUCA: Dale and Gail Coyne realize the need to expose youth to the excitement of racing in a more programmatic and relevant way. They are respected leaders in racing and have developed drivers and crewmen and engineers for than 27 years. And they realize the uniqueness of this opportunity, the magic of our audience and our market and their passion for the technical aspects of the sport.
And so through the discussions with the national development group and our strategic brand management people, it really became apparent that utilizing science, technology and math as an integrated education platform would directly enable young people to be exposed to these disciplines in a really fun and exciting way. We believe, also, that we have got a truly unique program that we have never ventured into before, but we think is absolutely important for us; and this will provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many years to come.
So the generosity and forward thinking and vision of Dale and Gail Coyne have made it possible for thousands, maybe even millions of young people, in our scouting family to think differently about the value of math and science in racing, and scouting; so it's a perfect fit.
THE MODERATOR: You mentioned this is the 100th anniversary, and of course, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is in the midst of its centennial era celebration. What are some of the things that you're going to be celebrating at some of the events that you have planned in regards to your 100th anniversary?
BOB MAZZUCA: As I said earlier, this is a year-long celebration. We had the option of baking a cake and singing happy birthday on February 8 and talking good the good old days, or actually seizing the day and using the entire year as a celebration, and that's what we are doing, culminating in our National Scout Jamboree in Goshen, Virginia and during the Jamboree, the No. 10 Boy Scouts of America car will be on display and over 40,000 youth and volunteers and 200,000 visitors will come through that culminating event at AP Hill.
In addition to that, we have some exciting things, the Adventure Base 100 Program we launched in Pasadena at the Tournament of Roses Parade, which is an experiential 10,000-square-foot campus that will visit over 40,000 locations around the country throughout the course of the year. We launched in this in Pasadena, and we had 10,000 visitors in the first day it was open. It was one of the most attended attractions in the Rose Bowl Parade, incredible, and this will replicate itself over 40 times through the course of the year.
Speaking of technology, there are a number of national engagements. One we are excited about, going hand-in-hand with this adventure, we have a program called "Get in the Game," a national geocaching event. I couldn't spell geocaching six months ago, I had no idea what it was, but it's a big hot item out there. New emerging sport and Scouts and non-Scouts will participate in a fast-paced, high-tech treasure hunt and it's a great way to acquire scouting skills. They will go online and report what they have found and give clues and they use their GPS; instead of map and compass, we are using GPS, and will go out and find this stuff. It's the world's largest treasure hunt.
So that's a couple examples of the various engagements and opportunities we will have throughout the year, and every community in the country will have a 100th anniversary celebration, as well.
THE MODERATOR: How about your 100th-year celebration and the IndyCar program?
BOB MAZZUCA: Well, as a matter of fact, we are really excited about this possibility, and we are talking about the Indy race itself being the opportunity for us to have a special branded IndyCar.
And the Indy 500 race and we are looking at that as, we think about the magic of their 100 years as a track and our 100 years as an organization, and the synergies there, it's pretty exciting.
THE MODERATOR: Let's turn our attention to Dale Coyne, who, of course, has been involved in Motorsports for more than 27 years, recording his first win in the IZOD IndyCar Series last year at Watkins Glen.
Dale, an exciting announcement for you. Give me your thoughts about this alliance that you have made with the Boy Scouts of America.
DALE COYNE: Thanks, Bob. Let me start by saying this is really a monumental announcement. We could not be more grateful than to be aligned an organization as well respected at the Boy Scouts of America; their history of alumni really speaks to the quality of instilling Scout skills in America's youth.
A lot of people have worked hard to put this program together, and have to thank everybody who has worked hard at the national office in Dallas. It's been a large and successful team effort. We have spent 2009 working on all of the possibilities and opportunities for scouting, racing and all the technology that goes with it.
It's truly the ultimate engineering exercise what we do with these IndyCars, with the initiative that scouting and companies are pushing forward with their math and science program this will provide a cool way for kids to explore and expand their abilities in this field. There's a need in this country for future engineers, and we will have many initiatives to have kids to have fun, but explore the science of racing. We look forward to this being a very long relationship with many facets to explore and expand in the coming years.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously a very significant commitment. Why did you elect to go this route?
DALE COYNE: It's interesting. At the beginning, my wife, Gail, and I looked at this as a great cause, but an interesting marketing opportunity. We were transformed even more as the year kind of grew on.
Texas, the race in Texas in June was a real turning point for Gail and myself. There was a group of Boy Scouts on the outside of the garage area, and they could not get into the pits. So we noticed that and we inquired and were able to get them into the garage area where we were prepping the car for the night race there. And I have to tell you, the look on of excitement and joy on their faces as they got up close to the IndyCar and toured the transporter was as genuine as one could imagine. We had other guest Scouts there who had the same gleam in their eyes. One of the troop leaders said that "Today we wear our Scout uniforms. Good things happen when you wear your uniforms. I bet those kids still have them all on today."
THE MODERATOR: What type of impact do you think that you will have on the IZOD IndyCar Series?
DALE COYNE: Well, the numbers are large. There are 1.5 million Scouts who live within a hundred miles of all the races we run in this year. It's interesting that when you look at the numbers, there are more Scouts in this country than our entire Armed Forces combined. I think the loyal following of the entire scouting fraternity will have a great impact both at events and television and media. You can't deny how large these numbers are; it is America.
THE MODERATOR: In the news release that went out earlier today, the quote was, "The program is focused on education and the value of preparing for a rapidly advancing high-tech world." Can you kind of elaborate on that for us?
DALE COYNE: It's interesting, in this process that we have learned in the last few months, something I wasn't aware of, but Corporate America, as well as several initiatives from the Obama Administration are focused on math and science. I remember my first Pinewood derby car as a Cub Scout; these cars today are really the ultimate engineering exercise. And what better way to get kids to go down a road of a high educational standards than to show them that the big toys can be technical and fun, too.
THE MODERATOR: What are some of the programs you expect to put into this market?
DALE COYNE: This is still evolving and this will be the first year for the program. So 2010 is about getting the car on the track, running the full season, starting initiatives with all of the things that are different today than the older days: Web program, social media, Twitter, Facebook, all of the things that are there. Getting the show car out, and the merchandise trailer and things that we'll be doing as the thing goes on. But get some partners involved and grow this program so that we can expand upon that as we go into the future and really work hard on recruiting and getting more Scouts into the program and grow all of us as we go forward.
THE MODERATOR: What would be the best thing for you that the kids get out of this effort?
DALE COYNE: Millions of smiles. I tell you, there's nothing like seeing that face light up when they see the car, they meet the driver, they get behind the scenes. We are building fans for the future of our sport, but more importantly, giving new goals to the youth of America during their most formative years.
THE MODERATOR: Earlier Bob talked about the Indy 500, the program that you'll have at the Speedway; what does this mean to you to be a part of this 100th year celebration of the Boy Scouts of America and of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
DALE COYNE: I'm very humbled because the timing could not be better. Obviously they are two of the most recognizable brands in the entire world, the Boy Scouts and the Indianapolis 500. It makes me feel very good to be an American when you can bring these two historic American icons together to celebrate a very large milestone birthday.
THE MODERATOR: Dale, you had a good year last year, recording, as I said, your first year win at Watkins Glen with Justin Wilson. You finished 9th in the series; what about your goals for the upcoming racing season?
DALE COYNE: Obviously it's to improve upon that performance. We had a strong year last year and had a strong commitment in 2009. We worked hard to improve every facet of our team. I think that that dedication paid off because we were only one of three select teams to win a race in 2009. Our commitment for 2010 is even stronger with more plans to go forward.
THE MODERATOR: What specifically are you working on hearing during the winter months?
DALE COYNE: It's been a busy off-season, probably the busiest off-season we've ever had with the new personnel and new directions we've had. We have had a busy winter. Even when we had new cars in 2007 and again in 2008; this year is about being better prepared and more competitive for the future.
We have got a great deal of work at the race shop to improve productivities and car capabilities there. We worked on the cars to make improvements on areas we know we need to improve prove on. We have a winter fitness program for all of our guys that everyone has strongly embraced and participates in. I'm really impressed with the effort that all of our guys have put in to be ready for an even stronger 2010. That win in '09 got them motivated.
THE MODERATOR: Somebody will ask, so I will: Who is going to be driving the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America in the IZOD IndyCar Series?
DALE COYNE: Well, I thought you might ask that. Obviously we had a great year last year with Justin Wilson, but today's announcement is about the Boy Scouts and the driver announcements will be coming out at the end of the month.
THE MODERATOR: An "S" on announcements; maybe more than one car?
DALE COYNE: You are just like everyone else on this line! You are very observant on that. Yes, I did say "S" on that, plural. Z-Line has been a great sponsor over the last two years and plan to continue in 2010.
For you savvy reporters out there, you probably figured out the Boy Scout car is now No. 19, which leaves the 18 car open number for the second car, which has traditionally been Z-Line's number. So I will let you all speculate from there. So we are working to have everything firmed up by the end of the month with more announcements on the entire program.
THE MODERATOR: Before we open it up for questions, a couple more questions for you, Bob, are we going to see you at some races this year?
BOB MAZZUCA: I sure hope so. I'm definitely planning to make the Indy race. I think that's going to be huge for scouting. I've never been to one. I've never been to an IndyCar race and really looking forward that. I'm looking over the schedule and matching up my travels to see if I can't make at least a couple others, as well.
THE MODERATOR: Do you have any desire whatsoever to get into the 19 car and go 240 miles an hour at Indianapolis?
BOB MAZZUCA: Well, there's a lot of desire but probably not a lot of capability. You've never seen me, have you? I'm not sure I can fit in the cockpit.
Q. How will you incorporate the area councils into these races over the next year?
DALE COYNE: This year has been interesting because we have had many councils that have come. We have had regional executives come to several of our races throughout the year, and I think what we are looking at next year is to have a venue on that but a more integrated process as the season goes on. We will be putting out a pamphlet to local councils at races we are going to.
We have been in contact with the tracks. There's a lot of things that happen locally already. There's volunteer groups that work at different tracks throughout the country, and I think to expand on that, to get troops in, we had 300 Scouts at the Homestead race at the end of the season. So I just think that will all grow as we get into it with all of the councils, and we will have a forward package that will go to them so that we can look at several ways to get involved.
BOB MAZZUCA: Piggybacking on what Dale said, we have a fairly large and systematic organization through regions and areas that looks like the Adventure Base 100 that's traveling around the country this year. We have the schedule. We have notified councils that are in proximity to each of the locations that we have assigned tasks and encouraged them to get involved and we will do the same with this.
We have the schedule. We know where the races will be well in advance. We will let the local councils know and we will offer support nationally for getting materials and flyers and promotion out. We anticipate that the Scouts and scouters are going to rally pretty strongly around this.
THE MODERATOR: Have we moved to the point where we know what the car is going to look like, what colors?
DALE COYNE: Well, I think in this press release we put out a rendering that we started with, and it's the traditional modern logo of the boy Scouts. They have come up with a different logo for the future. It's similar in the red, white and blue colors. So the car will be similar to that.
I think you will see a couple different themes throughout the year. Obviously we will start the season with that, which you've seen. There will be another design for the Indy 500 for the 100th anniversary car. We have even discussed doing a popcorn car for the fall when all of the Scouts across the country are selling popcorn to raise funds. We may even do a popcorn car later on. Different things that have come around. And like some of the other companies have done with theming their car a little different at each race, we may do an interactive one where we allow the Scouts to design a car.
So there's lots of ideas. It's interesting, this whole thing, this whole process this year, just creates creativity. And when people get together, you start thinking about this, and you don't realize how many people were Scouts. Everybody sits down and, oh, yeah, I was a Boy Scout; I was an Eagle Scout, and they are a troop leader now. It's amazing how many people it touches, and when you start thinking about all of the things you can do, a lot of great ideas come out of all that.
Q. What kind of elements will be involved with this collaboration? Will we see stuff like workbooks with IndyCar-based exercises, show cars at scouting meetings, or will we see things or something even bigger?
BOB MAZZUCA: Well, we have several mechanisms in place that will allow us to communicate very clearly to local councils.
But the potential around supporting these races, the things that the Coyne partnership offers are access that they would not have any other way, things they could not do, if they weren't Scouts; access to the pits, to the car. So those sorts of things which will be very appealing and very attractive.
We also understand there will be opportunities for kiosks at the raceways where they can pass out local information about joining opportunities to encourage other people to get involved in scouting. That's very important for us. Those are all in development. We will explore and ramp up and learn best methods as we learn how to communicate with local councils.
STEVE EMRICH: This is Steven Emrich. In addition to the at-track activation possibilities, we are also looking at show car possibilities in and around our Scout shops around the country.
There's going to be a lot of brainstorming ahead of time leading up to a race. So it's not just about race weekend. It's also about the week or two leading up to the race; so councils can take advantage of that to not only promote people to come to the races. But also promote scouting in events they are already doing.
So we will have jamborees and different things going on in communities where we can include the Indy relationship and whether to show some other type of exhibit. Those are all in the works.
BOB MAZZUCA: When you think about having a youth base of almost 3 million and their attendant families and others that are involved to now have a car to root for, to watch a race on TV and root for their car; and if we can find ways to interactively get them engaged in a Web presence to send encouraging messages to their driver and that sort of thing; the potential is only limited by our imagination and our ability to be creative and use the current technology to reach out to these young people.
ERIC MOORE: This is Eric Moore, strategic brand manager. In the middle of all of that, let's not lose sight of the fact that the educational component, the one thing that attracted us to this relationship early on was Gail and Dale's position to integrate educational aspects of the program.
So we will be looking at down the road curriculum-type-based opportunities that the youth can access via the Dale Coyne Web site to provide other ways to extend the math and science aspect of what we do. Those, along with what Bob said earlier, we have a pretty integrated group of members and volunteers and Scouts, and our instincts tell us our group is going to take this thing virally and come up with a lot of ideas to own it. And at the end of the day we just want to be positioned as a car that our group, our 50 million alumni and current members, can get behind.
THE MODERATOR: We thank you all for participating.
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