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February 22, 2016

Mark Miles

Jay Frye

Bill Pappas

THE MODERATOR: Welcome, everyone, to today's IndyCar media conference call. We are joined today by Mark Miles, the CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Jay Frye, the president of competition and operations for IndyCar; and Bill Pappas, the vice president of competition, race engineering for IndyCar.

Each of the gentlemen will have an opening statement and then we'll open it for questions.

Mark, we'll start with you.

MARK MILES: Thank you, all, for dialing in and participating. This is an important day and an important announcement for us as we move out smartly to strengthen the team at IndyCar and do everything possible to take IndyCar racing to the next level.

Jay Frye has been in his current assignment as president of - the shorthand is - comp and ops for not more than 10 weeks and has been hard at it. We took our time in putting Jay in this job so he and I would have plenty of opportunity to make sure we had a pretty shared view of what our opportunities were and what our philosophy needed to be.

One of those conclusions is all about having the strongest possible team, the right people in the right places, empowered to lead us forward.

In the whole technical area, we thought we had a unique opportunity to make a change that would do just that as Bill Pappas became available to us. Forget the fact that we have the same high school alma mater here in Indianapolis, that's a joke, but it's true. But Bill has obviously earned his stripes over the years, winning the 500 in 2000 and serving ably in technical leadership for a number of teams.

So for us, as we think about where we are, the need to do better as we implement changes to the car that we have, the need to think in earnest about what the future of the car will be, when there will be a new car, what that could involve.

To have somebody who comes to us straight from the paddock with all his team experience who is totally current is important.

We hope to harness the experience and the engineering and the expertise of our teams as we move forward. We are the sanctioning body. We are the people charged with the responsibility to ultimately make the decisions, but we believe that tapping into the expertise in the paddock will make all of our decisions better. I think Bill is remarkably well-positioned to help us do that.

This is a big step for us. Other steps will be announced soon as we strengthen the IndyCar administration. I'm just very pleased that Bill was up for the challenge of joining us.

With that I'll turn it over to Jay.

JAY FRYE: Thank you, Mark.

Bill is certainly a racer. We saw an immediate opportunity to make a personal move that would make things stronger. We jumped on it. We couldn't be more excited about this.

Bill and I have met and talked extensively over the last two or three weeks. I think the philosophy and direction and processes and procedures we discussed were very much in line.

Again, we're very excited about it. Couldn't look forward more to getting the whole process started. Actually we're starting today. So here we go.


BILL PAPPAS: I'd like to thank Mark and Jay for this opportunity. I'm very proud and honored to join the staff. I think the series as a whole has a tremendous opportunity going forward. I'm looking forward to, you know, being part of those decisions and moving the series forward.

As Jay said, this is day one, so we're just kind of diving in with both hands and both feet. I'm very excited about that and about being here.

MARK MILES: We're glad you showed up and can find your desk. We're ready to rock and roll.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions at this time.

Q. Bill, considering you've been with a number of different teams in the paddock in recent years, KV, Coyne before that, how do you see this as a long-term move as there's been quite a few personnel changes for you in the last few years?
BILL PAPPAS: I look at it as I have had a great opportunity to be part of teams that have both been Honda and Chevy powered, so I think I have experience in understanding the needs of both sides.

As far as me personally, I've been doing this close to 32 years. I've experienced a lot of success with some really great teams.

At this point in my career, it is a long-term commitment. I'd like to be part of the future of IndyCar racing. There's no better way than getting your feet in the trenches with the series to move it forward. Rather than pulling fingers, I want to be part of the solution.

Q. Bill, what is on your immediate docket? Mark mentioned future cars and technology, et cetera. I imagine you're not solely focused on the future. What do you anticipate your 2016 being like from an in-season aspect?
BILL PAPPAS: Immediately we're going to Phoenix in about four days. That's going to be priority number one, to ensure what development has been done over the course of the winter translates on the racetrack.

Q. How about continuing some of what Will Phillips had been spearheading, working with Tino Belli and the rest of the team?
BILL PAPPAS: Again, first day, reading through Will's briefs, trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible. I've already met with Tino, spent some time with him.

Again, it's not like you come in and turn the boat over. It's about trying to look at what makes sense in the immediate future, then start to create a plan for long-term. That's where I'm at.

Q. Bill, do you have any sense of when you'd like to see a new racecar? Have you been in the door long enough to give it any thought as far as maybe a timeframe year-wise, what kind of car you'd like to see, less downforce, more power? Anything at all that's crossed your mind yet?
BILL PAPPAS: Honestly, I haven't even gotten to that point. Like I was saying, I'm just going through the existing projects and processes that Will had laid out for this season. As we go forward, there will be a considerable amount of talk and energy put into that.

Today, at this point in the day, it hasn't been done.

MARK MILES: Bill has a long list right in front of him of changes for this year, from tethers to rear flaps to dome skids to strakes to 'push to pass', power increases, fuel sensors. That's a partial list.

I think for all of us, him being here as these things first hit the track, it's great. I think the aero changes that Honda and Chevy were able to make under the normal rules, 9.2, to see what that's going to look like in Scottsdale, is going to be interesting and exciting. Then to see those changes that Honda will have made under 9.3 are part of the mix as well.

There's a lot going on right now. If I were Bill, my head would be a little spinning trying to absorb all the things he's going to be confronted with at the end of the week.

Q. Wild Bill, obviously Justin was one of your closest, dearest friends. Any thoughts of where to go as far as possible canopies, protection for the drivers? Will that be one of your priorities the first couple months?
BILL PAPPAS: Again, there's a lot of priorities. That's definitely on the list of things to discuss, to try to come to some solution.

Again, there's many other things before that that need to be addressed.

Q. Bill, guys that have come from the paddock side into a series role, sometimes that kind of changes them. How do you avoid getting caught up in the trap of where a series role could be but help strengthen the sanctioning body?
BILL PAPPAS: I'm just the same guy yesterday, the day before, a year ago. I'm just a racer. I'm just looking at it now from how do we make it better, more consistent for everybody.

Q. Jay, have you made any progress on race control? Do you know when those announcements will be? And will Bill be a part of that?
JAY FRYE: Yes, we made a lot of progress on that. We should have an announcement on it soon. We're very excited about the direction it's going. So stay tuned on that. There should be some news on that coming shortly.

MARK MILES: When you finished asking your question, Bill was shaking his head no.

For clarification, race control, both as race director, Brian and his responsibilities, and then the stewards program will report directly to Jay.

THE MODERATOR: Seeing as we have no further questions, we will thank Mark, Jay and Bill for their time this afternoon and wrap-up today's call.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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