Topic 1:Verizon and IndyCar are now partners! What is your honest assessment?
TonyD: I like it. Indy Car needed a title sponsor badly and I think the opportunities and interactions verizon brings are endless. Millions have Verizon phones and can access Indy Car at anytime.
Lauren: This is excellent news. The series needs a title sponsor. Hopefully with Verizon, a company that already has an established relationship with IndyCar (with Penske), they have found a partnership that will last.
Rick: $10 million a year is about what a primary sponsorship for a single car has been running. I am happy and excited to have a title sponsor as it would have been sad if not embarrassing to start the season without one, but it feels like a really nice deal for Verizon.
Nancy: I think Verizon will do a great job at sponsor activation. If they can bring us to the forefront in advertising that is an added bonus. Just like fans buy sponsors items as a thank you for sponsoring their favorite team, I think that people who have Verizon may take a look at IndyCar.
Topic 2: Verizon wants to be known as a technology company and IndyCar has a history of technological innovation. Do you think we will see multiple chassis, teams manufacturing their own parts and an open rule book in the near future? Please explain.
TonyD: Doubtful. It’s all been about keeping costs down. Will having an open rule book bring 34-35 cars to grid? I’m not quite sure.
Lauren: Unfortunately, I don’t think so. The cost is just too high for most of the teams to afford manufacturing their own parts. And without more than just a couple of teams being able to do so, I doubt the rule book will be opening up anytime soon
Rick: No. Teams are under more and more pressure. Everyone is looking for cost containment and all these things are the opposite of cost containment.
Nancy: I’m not sure of a new rule book but do know the fans want a “bring what you brung” vs. spec. series, will this happen I am not so sure. It would be great to see what teams could come up with and see new winners not the same dominant teams. Verizon can offer many new enhancements through technology, but I don’t think multiple chassis, mfg. parts and opening the rulebook are one of them.
Topic 3: The majority of motorsports fans are 55+ and only 20% of 18-29 year old’s are considered IndyCar fans. What can Verizon and IndyCar do to reach the younger generation? How do they make it relevant?
TonyD: Honestly Verizon needs to get some type of video game going that kids can play. Also get people to the track by offering Verizon users special privileges .. Along the lines of Marlboro in the 90s.
Lauren: I think this simply comes down to exposure. Maybe it’s my bias talking, but I think IndyCar is plenty relevant and “cool” for any age demo. They simply must find a way to get more eyes on it. It has to be seen as more mainstream popular.
Rick: The answer to this question, if anyone knows, would require volumes and probably an equal stack of $100 bills. There is no magic solution.
Nancy: I have been saying this for years! Every year when I go on the trams at Indy, I see grandparents with their grandkids. People with kids cannot afford or don’t want to take the time off for the races. Grandparents have time and money and I believe this is their way of being able to communicate with the kids. I love sitting in the stands and listening to the Grandpa’s with the boys talk about the old days and the new designs etc…
I think a countrywide college run in the offseason or ticket giveaways at schools as awards for either getting good grades or doing some service hours might bring people to the track. 20 somethings, having a chance to meet drivers is a plus, have reunion weekend packages, staycation package deals with hotels and other scheduled events in the town call it a staycation ticket make it easy for people to come watch a race.
Topic 4:IndyCar drivers were impressive at both Daytona and Sebring of the Tudor Sports Car Series. Why are IndyCar drivers so good at multiple disciplines?
TonyD: I think running in that Series is very similar to running an Indy Car therefore it’s easier to adjust to.
Lauren:This is a tough question and a bit hard to answer. Yes there is a lot of talent in IndyCar, but there are a lot of talented drivers elsewhere, also. IndyCar had an excellent showing in Daytona and Sebring. Look at what Kyle Larson has recently done in NASCAR. This kid came up through sprint car, had aspirations with IndyCar and just ended up winning his first Nationwide race and came in 2nd in Sprint Cup all in the same weekend. To define what makes every racer good at what they do, that’s just hard to pinpoint to one or two common aspects.
Rick:Because they compete on multiple disciplined venues regularly. They are smart, knowing how to communicate their needs for the car to be competitive at venues like Daytona and Sebring.
Nancy:They have to be able to change with the conditions in the IC races and it helps them to adapt to the sports cars better.
Topic 5:Who is your pick to win St. Pete and who do you have as a darkhorse pick?
TonyD: Winner at St. Pete will be James Hinchcliffe and my dark horse is Mile Conway
Lauren: Tony Kanaan for the win. JPM is my dark horse pick. Of course, depending on how his first few weekends go, he may not be a dark horse for long.
Rick: Will Power with Oriel Servia as my dark horse.
Nancy: Scott Dixon, darkhorse pick is Juan Montoya.