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Champ Car Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Champ Car

Champ Car Media Conference

Joe Chrnelich
Dick Eidswick
October 28, 2004


MODERATOR: We have a lineup with thrilling racing that's delivered six different winners in 13 races along with an incredibly talented crop of rookies this year that will indeed be the future of our series. Our stands have spoken loud and clearly as they have turned out record numbers to attend our races this year. And our valued partners such as Ford and Bridgestone have continued their ongoing sport of the series while new series partners such as McDonalds and Roshfrans have joined the ranks. Champ Car has survived and indeed thrived in 2004 and now we're at a point where we can look ahead to 2005 and beyond. With that, I would like to introduce Dick Eidswick who is president of the Champ Car World Series, and Joe Chmelich who is the executive vice-president of the series who will now share with you some useful information about our 2005 schedule. Dick.

DICK EIDSWICK: Good afternoon. Thank you all for joining us today. It's a busy time of the year as Wendy said finishing off our 2004 season. We're looking forward to a very exciting race in Mexico City and the result will be the Champion of the series for the year. Exciting time. While we have been executing this year, we have also been planning for the 2005 series building on the momentum that we have established this year. We're pleased to announce today our 2005 race schedule. Many people have worked very hard on the schedule and it's important to understand the many elements that must be taken into consideration to put together a schedule that makes good business sense for the series, good sense for our promoters, our sponsors, our drivers and our fans. We took several things into account as we determined the venue selection for announcing today. First of all, we concentrated on those with long-term scheduling commitments; where we are not just doing one-off races, we're doing race that we can do year after year and build up each venue into a marquis event. We wanted to achieve a balance between domestic and international races, the excitement of the international races with all of our international drivers and yet the commitments of our sponsors for the domestic market. Our schedule also had to reflect a good variety of race courses; circuits that will challenge our versatile and talented drivers. And to create the Champ Car World Series as a true World Series of racing. Lastly, the new venues we have added have been selected on the basis of their long-term economic growth potential, thus creating the marquis events we mentioned earlier. While we are announcing 14 races today, our schedule is still a work-in-progress. This is the starting line that we're announcing today; not the finishing line. We're still continuing conversations with a number of potential venues for the 2005 season and expect further additions for a schedule in the near future. At this point I would like to introduce Joe Chmelich who has been instrumental in developing the 2005 schedule and he's going to review the individual races. Joe.

JOE CHMELICH: Thank you, Dick. Welcome, everybody. First of all, I'd like to say this is a very exciting day for us. As you may or may not know, I am very new at Champ Car. This is only my third month on-the-job. But I can tell you that putting together the schedule is a very daunting task. Much more complex once you get into it than you might look at from a distance. But I am excited to be here today and I could tell you a lot of people are going to be very happy we're announcing this. With that, why don't I just go through our dates as we have listed for today. First of all, no surprise, April 10th will be Long Beach. Long Beach, as you know, we have been there 30 years. It's a tremendous market for us. I'd actually like to quote the mayor when I visited it with her, she said, Joe, even though this is a Champ Car race, you have got to know this is Long Beach's race. The police, the firemen, the city workers, everybody views the race as their race. That's the kind of strength of the market we look for. So we're very pleased to be back there. We look forward to a long-term relationship with them, continuing way into the future. The next date on the calendar is May 22nd. Again, another strong market for us in Mexico. That's Monterey. We have a very, very good partner down there in CIE. They know their markets. They are in the entertainment business. They do a great job for us so we look forward to going back to Monterey and putting on a great show going into next year. The next date I am a little bit partial too and that's Milwaukee. Having come from there and being born and raised in Milwaukee, I am delighted to be able to say we're back there again at the oval. It's the oldest operating racetrack in the world, mind you. We have a strong relationship there for many years going backwards and we continue to look forward to that relationship growing in the future. One change you will notice is it won't be a night race. We had discussions with the Mile folks about continuing with the lights and at the end of the day, for two reasons primarily, one being the cost of lighting, but more importantly, the weather. We jointly decided that we would move it to an afternoon race. It's just -- if you are not from Milwaukee, you have got to know that that time of the year is always hit and miss in terms of warm weather, so, we both agreed it would be better on a Saturday afternoon rather than a Saturday evening. Next race, another long standing destination in our family, and that's Portland. June 19. Earlier in the year you saw they announced a new agreement with the city to be back there and we know the community is delighted about that announcement. We're delighted to be there. We look for that to be a good strong race leading into the future. Next date on here is Cleveland, and that's June 26th. You notice that is a switch from last year. Our promoter down there had talked to us about moving the date because the city and a lot of the stakeholders there said, look, we think we have got a better chance to grow the event on non-fourth of July because people tend to be in town and it's easier to schedule-wise so we agreed to move it back to that date and again that's a long-standing destination for us and venue and we look for great things coming out of Cleveland. Next date on the calendar is July 10th and that's Toronto. Now what I want to tell you about Toronto is we have agreement with Molson to be our promoter for that race and they are a great promoter as you know, but I will also tell you at this time that we have reserving our final award for that 'til tomorrow. We have been in discussions with Molson. They have requested that. We have agreed with that but we will tomorrow provide a final award approval but we're withholding that at this time. Stay tuned tomorrow for a release coming out of Molson. The next date on the calendar is a new one. As you know, we have been in discussions with the province of Alberta. We have been talking with multiple promoters and we are absolutely delighted to say that we have awarded a race to the city of Edmonton. What you need to know is the promoter group there is a formidable group. They have some very highly recognizable investors in the sports world. They have been working on trying to get an event for Edmonton close to two years now. Quite frankly, that's what impressed us - their thoroughness, the level of support behind the race between government officials, the business community, and it's just they were bound and determined to try and get a race for Edmonton and we're delighted to finally to be able to say officially they have succeeded in doing that. So you will see that race on July 17. The next race on the calendar, again as a new race, we have it listed as the Silicon Valley. You may or may not have seen this the other evening that we announced that we have signed an agreement with a new promoter for that area called the Canary Fund. At this time they will be our promoter. We will tell you we will have a race in the Silicon Valley in '05. But we're not prepared quite yet to tell you the exact location of Silicon Valley's race. Stay tuned for that. That should be forthcoming shortly. Moving further into the calendar, into the year, is August 14th. Again, that's a great great destination for us, one which we think holds great promise and that is the City of Denver. As a lot of people saw last year, they put on a great show there. We have a terrific partner in Centrix Financial. Bob Sutton and his promotions crew, Jim Hancock, Jim Freudenberg, they know how to put on a race. The Denver community really proved to us last year that they wanted to embrace this race for the long-term. So we're back in Denver again next year, we're happy to say that and look for great things coming out of that town. Next on the calendar, no surprise, August 28th, that's Montreal. Obviously racing in Canada and particularly in Montreal is very, very good for Champ Car and for the community. The community embraces our product. We have a lot of races from that area, so we're happy to say we're back in Montreal again next year and again we look for good things coming out of Montreal over the long haul. Next race on the schedule is Las Vegas, September 24th. As you know, we raced there last year or this year, not too far back at the motor speedway. What I can tell you is right now we're in the final stages of our deal discussions with the motor speedway. They have not been completed. But I can tell you with most certainty based on the progress, positive discussions we have had on Las Vegas we'll be in Las Vegas in 05. Also I would like to take a moment to tell you what a great partner Chris Powell and his team have been to us. We see a lot of good opportunities for us to forge ahead with that relationship in the Las Vegas market moving forward. Next on the calendar, this I think will be a surprise, that will be October 16th, that's in Ansan, Korea. As you know, we had that on the schedule for this year's season, but last minute ran into a problem with government approvals. Was not an issue from our perspective, but we just flat out ran out of time. Moving forward for this schedule I want to reassure people several things. One is we have a signed agreement with a new promoter, all the financial requirements have been met and satisfied; all the government approvals have been met and satisfied. So we're very confident and very excited about saying we will be in Korea in 2005. We look for great things on a growth basis out of that region whether it be from corporate sponsorships, or additional fan growth, it's a great market for us and we're delighted to be there. Right after that, this is going to be a bit of a road trip for us is obviously Australia. As everybody saw last weekend again, our last race, Australia is a tremendous, tremendous race destination for us. We have got a strong partner promoter down there, James O'Brien and his team continue to show us they know what they are doing and the market continues to respond favorably to us in terms of their attendance and the excitement in that area. It's a great destination and one we're going to be at for a long time to come. Last destination if you will, on next year's schedule, Mexico City, November 6th. Again, Mexico is a prime market for us. There are a long list of reasons why we want to be in Mexico and continue to be in Mexico and again we have got the right partner with us which is CIE. That right now in total is our schedule we're releasing. I would like to close with a couple of comments and I will turn it back to either Dick or Wendy here. One is at that I want to reinforce with everybody that this is I want people to look at this as the starting line; not the finish line. When you put together a schedule and I have learned this in a very short period of time - there are a lot of variables and considerations to put into account when you formulate a schedule. They are constantly in a state of motion. Our job is to make sure that we follow that path and continue to move the schedule toward the final resolution. Again, this is 90 days of work on my part. I could tell you that we are very excited about some of the destinations we have on here and furthermore I would like to say, by looking at the new destinations we put on the calendar, that should give a lot of reassurance to the racing community that Champ Car is back very strong. Our product is very appealing and has a lot of strength in the auto racing world. You don't get these new destinations in place because you have a weak product. We have a very strong product and that's a great signal for us moving forward in terms of our future. Lastly, I will tell you that again, even though this is the starting line; not the finish, there are ongoing discussions with other venues and promoters. Those will continue and you should not be surprised if you see some additional announcements coming down the pike, but again as I have stated, there are a lot of variables and things in motion that we have to keep addressing. At the point in time we finally work our way through that you will see the '05 schedule in total.

Q. (Inaudible)?

JOE CHMELICH: We're in continuing discussions with each of those. One thing we have to do and Dick alluded to this earlier, we have got to make sure when we have an agreement that works for both sides, for both parties involved. It makes no sense for us to have a good agreement economically for ourselves or for other reasons and the promoter not have a good deal. It's got to be a balanced agreement. In those three instances we're still working towards that. I will tell you in Vancouver in particular is a little bit different scenario. We clearly understand the community is working and focused on the Olympics. It's no secret. It's been discussed publicly and that's certainly has added a little bit more pressure, if you will, or taken away some of the focus on the race. We think it's a great community. We receive great support. But we also know when the Olympics come to town, whether it's us or anybody else, you have got to tip your hat to the Olympics. We understand that's the case. So we're trying to work our way through it to see if we can still make it work between the promoter, ourselves and the city. I will tell you if we do not prevail on that, there is no reason to think that we can't be back in Vancouver once we have allowed the Olympics to take place. Again, we appreciate the support we receive there. It's a great market for us, but end of the day, the Olympics are a once in almost a lifetime type thing for cities so we understand that.

DICK EIDSWICK: The other two markets, Road America and Laguna Seca are both very interesting tracks. They are very popular with the fans and with the drivers and we're working together with the promoters on those races to come up with an economic solution that makes sense. We're still working with both of them.

Q. What is the ideal number of races?

DICK EIDSWICK: I think between 16 and 18 races is just about ideal for our series.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DICK EIDSWICK: I think starting about a month earlier than that makes sense to us we'd like to have the races staged evenly throughout the year so that we're constantly on TV and in the eyes of our fans.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DICK EIDSWICK: As you know the TV schedule and the race schedule are very closely linked together as we have been working on that. We think we have an exciting combination that we're going to talk about in two weeks from now.

Q. (Inaudible)?

DICK EIDSWICK: We're going to have different TV partners next year and we're going to be very excited about announcing that in about two weeks.

ERIC MAUK: Just a reminder to everyone on the teleconference in case you hadn't seen it yet the Toyota Atlantic Championship for 2005 today announced that Toyota and Yokohama have pledged their support and will be back as series sponsors in the Toyota Atlantic Championship for 2005. So that's certainly good news for everyone concerned there. I'd like to go ahead and start the questions now.

Q. Can you clarify what you were talking about Toronto and the delay in awarding or something until tomorrow, I wasn't sure what you were getting at there.

JOE CHMELICH: At this time what we're saying is we do have agreement with Molson to be our promoter. In our discussions they had asked that we reserve judgment on the award until tomorrow. There will be a meeting taking place tomorrow in Toronto. At that time Molson will have an official announcement.

Q. Is that just a date or is it awarding of the race all encompassing?

JOE CHMELICH: All encompassing.

Q. Can you tell me about the race in Edmonton, there has been a regional stock car race up in the airport area there. Are you going to be using the same course there or will you do something maybe Downtown on the street?

JOE CHMELICH: It's the airport, that's the track that has been mapped out by our promoter. That's where we'll be.

Q. First of all, a couple housekeeping things because unfortunately if you guys said them I missed the date for Long Beach and for Milwaukee. We're not hearing the questions that the people in your office asked. So we don't know what you guys were responding to there. But I also missed a couple of dates for Long Beach and for Milwaukee.

JOE CHMELICH: Long Beach April 10. Milwaukee is June 4.

Q. Perhaps you already addressed this, can you tell us anything about the other venues that are still on the table and you are still negotiating with?

JOE CHMELICH: Probably the best way to describe it is in a general blanket statement, there are international races and domestic races that we're continuing to have discussions with. I think if anybody looks at the schedule we have before us right now you will see some gaps in the schedule. Some wide open areas, that will probably be a signal that maybe those remain to be filled. So that's probably the best comment I can make in general in terms of the ongoing discussions with potential new venues, either existing or new venues.

Q. You guys mentioned, Road America, Laguna, and Vancouver in a previous question. Are those three venues among those that you continue negotiating with?

JOE CHMELICH: Correct.

Q. So I understand, is Vancouver off the schedule this year or is there a chance there still could be a Vancouver race this year?

JOE CHMELICH: To answer your question it's currently not on the schedule that we have physically standing here before everybody. The discussions are ongoing, however.

Q. Can you give any light what the discussions are centered around? As you well know this is a very popular race, draws a very large crowd. What seems to be the problem?

JOE CHMELICH: The thing we may have touched on earlier with the Olympics coming down the pike, it clearly has taken a lot of the focus away, and rightfully so, not only us but from other things in town, to start working in preparation for the Olympics. That's a massive effort and a massive event. Obviously the city has to remain focused on it and to start looking at direction in terms of making sure ends meet and that they put on a great show. Consequently that's created a little bit of -- some problems for us in terms of the event or attention towards the event, and at the end of the day when we do an agreement with a promoter we have got to make sure it makes sense for everybody involved and unfortunately the added element of the Olympics here has created a little bit more -- put a little bit more pressure on that agreement between all three of the parties here. So we're trying to work our way through it but at the end of the day what I did comment on is if for some reason it does not happen, we think Vancouver is a great market, been very supportive and there's no reason to think that we couldn't after the Olympics come back to the table again and talk about returning to the market.

Q. Are you optimistic that there will be a race there this year?

JOE CHMELICH: Right now it's probably a 50/50 proposition at best.

Q. When will you guys allow a sneak preview and where?

DICK EIDSWICK: Talking about having the spring training and the preview of the season probably the end of February out in the Western part of the United States somewhere.

Q. What is the current situation with title sponsors/presenting sponsors as of today?

DICK EIDSWICK: Sponsorship of the series is -- we have been focusing of course on the partners that we have on Ford and Bridgestone and the rest of our valued sponsors and we have been working with a number of new ones, interesting sponsors like McDonalds, and we're hopeful that we'll have a title sponsor in the very near future.

Q. Two questions. First, regarding Laguna Seca they have reached a schedule with a tentative date of September 11. Is that what is being discussed? Second question, is nothing in the southeast or east are there any discussions ongoing about those areas?

JOE CHMELICH: First of all, you are correct the date is September 11 with Laguna Seca. Consistent with their posting of the schedule we are, as we have said, in negotiations. In terms of southeastern destinations, I wouldn't look for anything in 2005. We have one that might possibly pop on which we can't comment any further on. What I would tell you though is even though '05 may or may not be likely, '06 you will see some very intense focus on getting us back on the map in that region.

Q. Following up, on the spring training, a site for that, is that contingent on what you accomplish with Laguna Seca?

DICK EIDSWICK: Not necessarily. We're going to pick a site out in the Western part of the United States that works for the teams and works for us and particularly as a good location for the press, but it has no connection to the race in Laguna Seca.

Q. When you say Silicon Valley, that means like San Jose, they talk so much about San Jose?

DICK EIDSWICK: The site in Silicon Valley is not firm yet. San Jose is certainly one of the alternatives. We will announce that whenever it's clear.

Q. Las Vegas would be during the night?

JOE CHMELICH: Currently, that's the discussions we're having with the promoter. So if things work out according to the deal that we have on the table right now that would be the situation, yes.

Q. You don't know exactly the day or night?

JOE CHMELICH: It would be day. It would be the same approach as we had this year.

Q. There is 42 days from Long Beach to Monterey. Anyway you can fill her or you just leave empty in that way?

DICK EIDSWICK: We agree with you there's a big gap in there and of course, the races that we're looking at right now, we would like very much to fill that gap.

Q. Anyway that you can just give us some hint about Brazil, Argentina, in Europe, England and Germany?

DICK EIDSWICK: South America is a very good market for us because we have a lot of interest in Champ Car Racing down there and we have a large TV audience and we have a number of drivers from South America so we're working very hard to have a race in South America next year. It is unlikely that in 2005 we'll have a race in Europe.

Q. Are you talking with Europe?

DICK EIDSWICK: We have preliminary discussions with a few venues in Europe, yes, but not for the 2005 season.

Q. What about the great northeastern part of the U.S.A., new York, Philadelphia, anything in that area?

JOE CHMELICH: Any in all of the above. We think that area, whether it be New York, Philadelphia, could be a Washington D.C., i mean, that whole sector is very, very important to us rounding out our schedule ultimately over time. We're having discussions with -- in some of those markets already but that will be '06. It's safe to say that it's clearly in our sights. We think we need to be there. Provided discussions go well and we find the right partners, that can occur.

Q. Was there any negotiations going on in China or other countries in Asia that you can talk about?

DICK EIDSWICK: There have been negotiations with other countries in Asia, yes. We would like very much to have a race in China and we have an agent over there and even though the process takes time, we would like to have one in 2006. It's unlikely that we'll have one in 2005.

Q. You talk about how the negotiations are continuing and with the idea that it does take a while for these races. I am calling kind of asking you about Vancouver in particular, at what point do you stop negotiations with them and say, listen, we just can't get it done this year and we'll maybe try after the Olympics, how long do you negotiate with them?

JOE CHMELICH: I would say we will know going into November. The discussions are pretty much down to the fine point, either we're going to be able to make it work or not. Clearly we need to respect our fans in Vancouver, we need to arrive at a decision between all the parties. I wouldn't look at that lingering too much longer.

Q. There's a couple of dates that I didn't hear. Dates for Silicon Valley and date for Surfer's Paradise?

JOE CHMELICH: Surfer's Paradise October 23rd. Silicon Valley July 31.

Q. You talk about making this a complete World Series. What seems to be the problem with you guys getting something locked down for Europe?

JOE CHMELICH: I think first and for most, what you have got to do is make sure (A) you have a good solid partner, meaning a promoter; somebody that wants to put the event on; make sure they have the proper venue; make sure the demographics of the market match our product. I mean, there are a lot of considerations that go on into play here. Relative to Europe, we know we want to be in Europe some day again. But the last thing we want to do - and this is a bit of a new philosophy, I believe, for our company - and that is we want to make the decisions on markets where we know we have long-term potential for success. Whether it's us or any other league, you have always got to be careful to avoid just popping into a market and then leaving. That's not how we're going to operate moving forward. So the point in time we find a solid partner and location in Europe - and believe me in the course of my day, I get a lot of calls from around the world saying, we're interested - we keep those discussions going, but there are high water marks that have to be met where we actually get serious in discussions. So the best thing we can do internally is to structure different regions around the world where we think our product will be strongest; where we think the market has a lot of openness to it, if you will. We don't want -- if possible, avoid crowded markets. Because that's not good for anybody. And it doesn't happen in a year, it doesn't happen in 90 days, you start to see the makings of a schedule that really makes sense from a logistics standpoint, from a World Series standpoint, and pretty soon over time - and that's probably another year, maybe two years - you are going to start to see every market we're in makes sense for everybody involved; whether it be the city, the promoter, fans, the organization and our team owners. As I said, there's a lot of variables to take into consideration, but that's the kind of thought process we need to put into it and I think it's unfair for us just to declare an area and say, oh, yeah, we're going to be there when in fact we're not convinced we have got the right partner there. It's just not fair to the community. That's a long-winded answer to your question but that's our firm belief in how we're going to operate moving forward.

Q. Dick, when you get your title sponsorship, is that going to be stuck in between the Bridgestone presents, the so an so Champ Car World Series powered by Ford or are you going to make it short enough that you can do it in one breath?

DICK EIDSWICK: I like your thinking on that point. Yes, we are going to make it so that we can say it in one breath.

Q. You seem to be heavily weighted toward out of U.S. market. Do you have some kind of weighting that you use to say that our fan base is here or here and that we set our races up in those areas?

DICK EIDSWICK: We do have a very strong fan base in the United States, but we also have a big one in other parts of the world. We're looking for a balance, looking for a balance of exciting international venues where our international drivers can show off their skills. At the same time, we know that we need at least half of our races in the United States because many of our sponsors are domiciled in the United States so it's a balance that we have and we want to put on a good show for all of our fans and we think that a 50/50 balance is about right.

Q. Is your television going to be set up to be more internationally based this time?

DICK EIDSWICK: We're working on an international distribution that's much better next year than it was this year, yes.

Q. So it would be a different company than who was doing it this year?

DICK EIDSWICK: That's right.

Q. I am getting a little conflicting information here. I wanted to clear up the Vegas date if I could. I believe on the schedule you have posted on your web site you have September 25th. Which would be a Sunday. Joe said September 24. He also said it would be a day race. So is it going to be a Saturday night doubleheader with the trucks or a Sunday stand-alone?

JOE CHMELICH: First of all, let my say, the calendar, it was my mistake. It's the 24th, and I also owe Chris Powell an apology on that, we talked last night, but the 24th is the date. It is a night race. My earlier reference to a day race was Milwaukee.

Q. With IRL competing now in the street races, how important is this year for Champ Car and how much are you looking forward to it?

JOE CHMELICH: Answer the second question first, we're really looking forward to next year. I mean, obviously with the new ownership group, racing right out of the (inaudible) into a series, it's been a sprint, to say the least. What's exciting about next year - we actually had the luxury of planning - some advanced thought and getting a lot of the agreements and things in place ahead of time. So it will be much more of a relaxed year, if you will. Could never be relaxed in this business, but -- so we're very excited as an organization about it. As to the IRL, I can tell you that our approach here as a new company is to focus on our business. We have a business model we believe works. The numbers show it. We're going to grow that business model. The IRL and Tony, in particular, has a business model in mind which is significantly -- it's all domestic based even though there's some discussion about breaking outside that model. The fact that they are stretch into some of our either former destinations or want to look at street or road courses, I think speaks to the strength of our business model. We believe in our model. We believe it can work as a business. And the IRL, they have got to make decisions on their own. We wish them well. And a lot of respect for Tony, but at the end of the day we need to focus our attention on Champ Car. And where we're headed as an organization and our product and I think if we do that, that will bode well for all our stakeholders and also I think it will start to clear the open-wheel market a little bit so people understand clearly who we are and clearly what we want to do and IRL, if they need to evolve, again, that's their decision and we wish them well with it.

Q. Go back to the Laguna issue. I don't know why Laguna is not on the schedule. I don't know what the issues are whether or not they are coming back. But if it has to do with the market, and the dwindling crowds, what makes the Silicon Valley race any better when it's only 50 miles away and Laguna is an internationally known road circuit that's loved by everybody and Silicon Valley would be a street race?

JOE CHMELICH: Obviously Laguna Seca has been a long -- has had a long relationship with us, as one of our destinations. It's very unique in that it's tucked up in the hills. It's clearly a different setting and a feel to it than a street course in an urban setting. So when you talk about the two, there are very clear distinctions between the two. And from our position we have got to look at all the variables on it. (A) is that -- can it work moving forward, can it work for everybody involved. Again I keep stressing balance when we do agreements with our markets. It has to work both ways for everybody. If it's slanted or tilted too hard one way and not the other, it just doesn't work. That doesn't lend stability for -- stability is the perfect word for our company in moving forward. So it's our responsibility to try and work through those things. And ultimately at the end of the day does it make for some tough decisions? Yes. There are going to be some tough decisions we have to make, but at the end of the day, that's why we're here. We are a business, we need to grow and if we're healthy we can make sure our partners are healthy as well.

Q. I guess what I don't understand it's the same geographic area. They are only 45 minutes apart. Are the markets for a street race and market for a road circuit in the same area that different?

DICK EIDSWICK: The two are quite different. One of them is, as you say, 50 miles away. It's not near a populated area. If you look at Champ Car's most successful events, they are three-day festivals. They are marquis events that include a number of things besides the star of the show which is the Champ Car race, by stretching the race into three action-packed days, the venues attract hundreds of thousands of people. And one of the issues with Laguna Seca is that I agree with you it's a beautiful world-class road circuit that everyone likes and we would like very much to be there. But it's much different than an urban setting. Silicon Valley race is designed to be an urban festival.

Q. I want clarification with the Long Beach Grand Prix. Is that going to be the start of the Champ Car World Series season?

JOE CHMELICH: The answer is yes.

Q. You made a statement before that the ideal schedule would be between 16 and 18 races. When do you see yourself getting there? Could that happen in 2005?

DICK EIDSWICK: I think 16 races is a worthy Target for 2005. Probably takes longer than that to get to 18.

ERIC MAUK: That's all we have from the phone. Turn it back over to Wendy.

MODERATOR: Any other questions from Indianapolis here? I think this will conclude today's teleconference and press conference. We thank all the members of the media for joining us today. We appreciate your ongoing support. We look forward to seeing you in Mexico City and in 2005 and beyond. Thank you very much for joining us today.



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