Of course, featured prominently on all the screens outside is the new IndyCar logo.
|Definitely a lot of this around!|
3:30: Driver interviews about to start, so need to make this quick. Vitor Meira was a late arrival. Randy Bernard seems to have a nonstop motor, in and out of meetings! Conor Daly is here, will try to get some words with him.Will upload more pics in a bit--internet very slow just now.
|Nard Dog In Action|
4:00PM: Showtime! They are starting with a retrospective of AJ Foyt's 4 Indy 500 victories.
We only had about 15 minutes with the drivers, but I got a good Q&A with Ed Carpenter. The lights are dimmed, and the show is on!
4:05PM: MAde the announcement in regards to Starwood Hotels taking over IndyCar stays. 9 different brands, to include the Westin (hint hint).
4:10: Intro video. 14 new partners for IndyCar in last 12 months.
4:15 Big intro for Connor Daly. Fog machine. JK Vernay.
Heeeere come the 2011 drivers!
Helio Castroneves. (the crowd cheers harder)
Tony Kanaan (TK, too)
JR Hildebrand (and they play Born In The USA)
Interesting how they did international drivers, then America...
HOLY CRAP BAGPIPES
Dario had an awesome intro, played in by the Gordon Pipers.
4:20 I have been hit with confetti and serenaded with bagpipes. Danica is sitting in front of me. RB on stage...must...focus...
Bernard talking about keeping the drivers accessible and making sure they are billed as the best multi-skilled drivers.
Talks about providing stats and stories for the press.
4:26 Brian Barnhart on stage now. Talking about the new partners for equipment. Cotman will cover more.
Uh oh...just said "probably" going to Las Vegas. No confirmation?
Qualification results will determine pit box selection for next like event. Road/street will count for road/street, oval for oval...
No averaging team position for pit selection.
105% as cutoff for participation! Sorry, Milka!
4:33 Talking about moving the restart closer to start/finish. Also will be adding double-file restarts "sometime during season". No moving due to lead lap status.
4:35 Barnhart done at 4:35. Introducing Tony Cotman.
4:39 "At least 4 different aero kits in 2011". Cotman also mentions the engine reduction from 2.4L to 2.2L. I am so not a gearhead.
4:40 Cotman talks about using cell technology, in-car cameras, etc. for the fan experience. Two show cars for 2012 design should be at Indy in May.
4:42 Roger Bailey on to talk about the Road to Indy.
Karting>Skip Barber>USF2000>Star Mazda>Lights>IndyCar. Mention USAC as a side entryway of sorts for the National USAC Champion.
Connor Daly doing all the road/street courses for Lights that Clauson won't be doing.
4:47 Jeff Green of IMS Productions on to talk about TV.
ABC: Opener in St. Pete, 500, Milwaukee, Loudon, and Finale.
Versus: All else.
Talking about the NBC/Universal merger. The merger is on as of the end of the month.
Indy Lights on for Wednesday at 6pm after each VERSUS race.
Terry Angstadt just confirmed the Edmonton race is on!
4:56: Talking about marketing with Kasey Coler. The newly-relaunced IndyCar Nation will have both paid and free levels.
Talking about marketing to short-track fans. Scholarships for USAC for Indy Lights will continue. Full marketing partnership with USAC to ensure their fan base returns to IndyCar fans.
Also targeting NASCAR fans. And karting.
Wow, this guy is flying through stuff. Can't keep up.
5:01PM Here are the PR people!
Sorry, these last folks are really pushing through quickly.
Introducing Denise Abbott, who is going to take on Mainstream/Business PR.
5:04: Steve Shunck talking about combining the record books back to 1905. Nice!
5:07: OK, now talking about sales.
5:11 PM Here comes Jeff Belskus! Talking about the Centennial 500: "The Most Important Race In History"
Every living Indy 500 veteran--all 269--are invited back for World's Largest Autograph Session in May.
Along with Mattel, some mind-boggling stunt planned for the 500, plus the most unique flyover ever.
5:16 Greatest33.com website in March, when you can vote for the greatest 33 drivers in 500 history.
70 of 74 winning 500 cars on display at museum during this May!
Oh my goodness guys, this Month of May is going to be amazing.
Sports Illustrated doing issues DEDICATED to Indy 500.
They will be debuting print-at-home tickets, and a new 500 Fans Program.
5:24 OK, showing sneak of new commercial for the Indy 500. Talks about bricks. I likes it.
Belskus and Bernard on stage together to highlight teamwork, etc.
Wrapping things up in a minute, guys. I'll have to run here in a minute. Expect more in a bit, if I can.
Later: Well, it was a great day, and a great day for IndyCar. I think the IndyCar blogosphere has plenty to discuss, so I'll just wrap up with a few last minute notes:
-To new readers of this site, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you decide to subscribe or check back with us every now and then. To regular readers of this site, as always, your comments and emails are really and sincerely enjoyed.
-I went up to Connor Daly after the closing and asked him about his new Indy Lights ride. He quite honestly told me as far as he knew, there was no deal in place for him to run Lights next year yet. So that was sort of a head-scratcher.
-Grabbed audio bites with Martin Plowman and Ed Carpenter. There are a lot of genuinely nice folks in IndyCar, but those guys are at the top of my list.
-Spoke to Pippa Mann. Still nothing to announce, and it seems like she's working closely with someone, but there's just nothing there yet. She mentioned we could see a partial schedule of 5 or so races, but she didn't really have much else for us at this point. The #HirePippa Twitter hashtag will remain strong until such time as there is news.
-Ana Beatriz was in attendance, but I didn't get a chance to chat with her. When I saw her, she had a continual parade of Lights and IndyCar drivers coming and up talking with her.
-Dan Wheldon still doesn't have anything yet, but is feeling good he'll have an announcement. Someone brought up Dreyer & Reinbold, which I hadn't heard before. I'm still leaning Andretti, mainly because I don't think there are a lot of seats Wheldon would consider solid drives left. The guy's a champion, and has the pride of one.
-It was a happy, positive crowd that adjourned from the State of IndyCar Address. PR folks, drivers, press, bloggers, and team members all.
-Do whatever physically possible to attend the 2011 Indianapolis 500 and the Month of May festivities. It's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Tomorrow will be an all-picture review of the State of IndyCar Address! Thanks again for stopping by!