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INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY MEDIA CONFERENCE
February 14, 2020
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: Good afternoon, everybody. Appreciate you all coming here on a beautiful, sunny day in Indianapolis. Five degrees outside.
We are officially a hundred days from the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. We can't wait. In 2016 we really started this tradition of celebrating a hundred days out. In 2016 was the hundredth running. Our fans enjoyed it so much, the community, we made it a new tradition. This is the fifth year we've used this day as an opportunity to remind people that the Indianapolis 500 is just around the corner.
Today we started out this morning with Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball at Riley Children's Hospital celebrating with the kids, trying to make their day spending some time with them.
We tried to do something in the mornings. We passed out bottles of milk. We felt like today was a really fun one having drivers out spending time with kids who unfortunately are in the hospital. Riley is a great partner of ours. We've had a great time doing that. The day started there.
We have a press conference today with some fun news that Roger and Mark are going to help share here. This evening, we have our fan party. Over in the pavilion we'll have two thousand fans in an absolute capacity-filled event.
We'll have five racecar drivers, three show cars, an entire program for folks to come out and help celebrate along with us as we get ready for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Today we really wanted to talk a little bit about what's been going on since November, certainly what's really been going on since a little while ago, early January.
Mark, I think maybe it's most appropriate for you to kick this off. Talk a little bit about what's been happening over the last few days and why today is important.
MARK MILES: The last few days seems like more than that. Hello, everybody. Thanks for being here.
It's not just a hundred days before the 104th running. It is almost exactly a hundred days since the announcement of the transaction with Penske Corp and the creation of Penske Entertainment. It's this really interesting point, a hundred days in the rearview mirror working very closely together, a hundred days out from the 104th running.
I can just tell you that we couldn't be more proud of the way that everything at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions, working with Roger and his team in Detroit, have really put the pedal to the metal. The amount of work that's been done in an effort to do everything possible to improve the fan experience, really a pretty short amount of time, is remarkable.
Our sole objective is to deliver an improved fan experience for all the people who will be out here in May and to deliver what we hope will be one of the most memorable Indianapolis 500 races and Mays in history.
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: We'll stop right there and, Roger, talk at a high level about some of the things we're going to talk about today, some of the things that have really been going on here since the turn of the 2020 calendar.
ROGER PENSKE: Let me say first, I've really been impressed with the entire team here in Indianapolis. I spent all my years on the inside, but really understand the team and what's taking place and can take place here over a short period of time. When you think January to May 1st, we've got to be done. The green flag drops at that point and we've got to be ready to go.
I just would say to you, Doug, your team and Mark, the whole IMSP team is really taking the extra time, extra minute. I think when you see some of the things we're going to accomplish before the race, believe me, this is really starting to write a new book from the standpoint of what we can do here as we go forward.
I think one of the things we wanted to do is announce that our purse will go up $2 million to $15 million. It will be the largest purse paid here as far as all the information I could get, I think that's correct. The winner will get at least $2 million, then you have the other winnings you might get for pole position, leading laps that can add to that. I think last year Simon Pagenaud got almost $2.6 million. We think that's important. We're investing in the track but also trying to provide additional monies to the teams that are successful here.
I think something else which there's been a lot of discussion, I even made a comment, should we have guaranteed starting spots. Quickly realizing that listening to the fans, looking at the information that flowed to my desk, the fans here, the history here, is having a Bump Day. I think that will take place at this year's Indy 500.
They're going to add an additional 15 minutes, there will be 75 minutes. You'll be able to have more than one attempt. I think that's going to make it really exciting based on obviously the entry level. We're seeing some real interest.
I think Jay Frye would say we saw almost 27 drivers taking a chance to go around the track at COTA here last week. Obviously there's some excitement.
I think that's going to make a big difference when you think about NBC also adding additional hours to our race weekend and our qualifying weekend. Certainly it will make a big difference.
We have number of new sponsors that we'll be able to talk about this morning. On top of that, I think we're very most proud that we're going to be able to show you for the first time what we're really going to do for fan experience and certainly guest enhancement.
Let me turn it back to you. Thanks all for coming.
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: I was thinking this morning on the way here that in February of 1909 Lem Trotter sold a piece of property that we're sitting on now to the first generations of owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Carl Fisher and his partners.
We are in February 111 years later with the fourth generation of ownership of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway talking about the investments that this ownership group is going to take to continue to be the most amazing racetrack in the world.
We thank you, Roger, for that leadership and look forward to the Penske days here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Mark, Roger mentioned qualifying. One of the things that's been fun working with you, you've been bullish on the qualifying weekend. It's delivered some unbelievably exciting moments, not only the bumping with James Hinchcliffe and the Alonso drama over the last couple years, but James Hinchcliffe getting the pole after being injured.
Talk about qualifying and some of the other things that will take place that weekend that's going to make it even better this year.
MARK MILES: You're right. I personally believe that time trials for the Indianapolis 500 race is one of the most dramatic, exciting weekends in sport, any sport anywhere. I'm delighted there have been a few changes planned which I think will build on a really great year last year to make it even more so.
The first is, as Roger said, we expect bumping will continue. We'll see. I would be surprised if we don't have something like 36 cars trying to make their way into the field of 33.
Last year you will recall on Sunday we introduced the Last Row Shootout. We gave each car still trying to get in one attempt. This year on Sunday those cars still trying to get in to fill the last role will have 75 minutes. They'll be guaranteed one attempt, and they will have the opportunity to continue to try to get on the board and get into the race until time runs out after 75 minutes. We expect that's going to be very dramatic.
It's also going to be faster, we think, if the simulators are predictive, as we think they are. With the about 40 more horsepower for qualifying, I think we might see the times inch up a little bit more and get above where we were last year, which I know the fans like.
This will all be seen by a lot more people because NBC and NBCSN are going to do nine hours over the two days. NBC on broadcast will go from three hours to five. They'll be broadcasting on both days. Last year it was one of the two days.
We think it's going to be great sport, going to be great drama, maybe even more so than last year. We're delighted with our partners at NBC, more people will be able to take it in.
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: We talked a little bit about speed on the track. The last hundred days, especially after the new year here, there's been an awful lot of speed off the track with sponsors that want to be part of the Indianapolis 500. Talk a little bit about the new partnerships we have, what that means for this brand.
MARK MILES: I think this is extraordinary in sports marketing. In the short amount of time we've talked about, we can now say we're adding I would say at least six new sponsors no this May. Many of them are involved here at IMS and May, but also for the IndyCar Series.
We announced previously that Pennzoil was going to be involved as the title for the Xfinity Series race on the road course here in July. They're also going to be the official oil of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the NTT IndyCar Series, as well as a sponsor of the IndyCar technical inspection area at each race. Activating across the board at each series.
Verizon is going to continue to be a partner with us, invest. We may talk about this more later. They are really going to help us develop our network. We know the fans want it. Verizon with their 5G technology will be a key add for us.
Snap-on Tools will be named as the official tool for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. They will have a display in the infield area for the 500.
Road and Track Magazine will also invest in something that will be called Youth in Racing. They also will be in the fan zone and will activate and be really attractive for young people and families.
We've previously announced, but I want to emphasize, new to May is GMR, Global Medical Response. This is a fabulous company doing so much good work with first responders across the country, so relevant to our safety crew operation. Now they will be involved as the title sponsor for the Grand Prix itself. I expect they'll give us the opportunity to honor a lot of people who do great work for Americans everywhere.
Finally, relevant to this building in particular, is DEX Imaging. They will serve as the partner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media center. They are a world class provider of document solutions across the country.
I think it's terrific. It's great news. We believe this is not the end of the story between now and May. There may be additions. Yet we think we're really well served by this group of new partners.
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: With respect to media over the course of the next few weeks, we will have some announcements that are specifically targeted at the folks that are covering the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, when you spend a couple weeks here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, even better. Be looking for those in addition to DEX Imaging coming onboard as the title of the media center.
With that we'll transition into what has really consumed most of the time for those of us who are based here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, focused on the things that take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Those are the activities that we will be working on between now and May 1st to get ready for not only the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 but for all of the events that take place here.
One of the things, Mark alluded to it a little bit, is the connectivity piece of our facility. Along with Verizon now we are going to have 5G available here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first time 5G has ever been available in a racing facility. For those folks that have 5G-enabled devices, we'll have an opportunity to see what it's like to get that information on your phone.
We'll also use it for some operational benefits here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Just continuing to expand on what is a fantastic relationship with our friends at Verizon. That connectivity is so important to our customers.
Speaking of connectivity, one of the things we hear from our customers, they love the event, especially they love our video boards, but they still struggle to get the information they need in the seats through our timing and scoring as we put it on the video boards.
We are going to make an investment around the facility in over 30 new video boards that will help deliver that information to folks who are all over the racetrack. For some of our customers who still don't have access to a video board, when they walk into the Indy 500 this year, they will have access to that.
I thought I'd ask Roger a question. One of the things that we do post race every year is we have a post race survey, our fans fill it out. We ask specific questions. We've done this for over 10 years. We can compare year to year how we're doing. They also have an opportunity to write free responses. As you can imagine, passionate Indianapolis 500 fans offer amazing suggestions. We can tell when there are areas to focus on. One of the areas was delivering information.
Roger, you spent time reading through almost all of those comments. From those, you've talked about how important it is to focus on the customer experience. This is what we're going to talk about, our customer experience. Talk about why that focus for you around customer experience is so important.
ROGER PENSKE: I think we really have to think about what goes on inside the track today. The drivers and the teams, the information we have technically at our fingertips during the race is key.
As the industry grows, technology grows, obviously with iPhones, the ability to do anything you want really and have that information available, we obviously thought getting 5G here was going to be important and also having the ability to have people have connectivity with their phones. I think that's certainly something.
Also what's important, people have asked this, sitting in certain parts of this speedway and we don't know what's going on. I said to Doug and certainly to Mark, What can we do to make the connectivity immediate for our fans? Not only here in the media center, but I went out to certain people in the media and asked them how we can make this media center better.
I think we'll be announcing things to support the media as we go forward, again to try to connect with the people who really put out the news and the facts and specifics of the race weekend.
To me, I think you'll go through these in particular, but I think if you see the list and the expenditures we're going to make here, we're going to make this place entirely different than what it has been in the past from the standpoint of connectivity. It's for you, the fans, the drivers, the teams, and certainly the sponsors.
To me it's most important, we could talk about doing a lot of things that might raise some revenue, but we haven't talked about revenue. We really talked about what we do in this short period of time, less than eight weeks. When you see what we've bitten off here to try to get done, we will get it done. Someone said, What if there's bad weather? I said, I don't care, we're going to get it done.
I'll let you take us through some of the exciting things.
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: It's really a focus on customer experience. Three areas where the video boards are going to be important for us. We have seven massive boards around the facility. Underneath those boards, we will have these eight-foot deep, long boards that will be solely dedicated to getting the running order delivered to our fans so they know where the drivers are, see information.
It's also going to be a good board for us to basically do what the pylon does for the rest of the facility. When it goes green, they'll go green. When it goes yellow, they'll go yellow.
We also will be looking at 24 additional boards that will sit to your guys' right underneath the paddock penthouse and above the paddock. Those sold-out seats in those areas really don't have good access to the video boards. For the first time when they come to the facility, they will be able to watch replays and activities on the video boards at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
We're going to put up what we're calling the IMS media wall. That wall is going to be on the backside of the pagoda. The pagoda right now has two boards on either side of it. Now it will be one, long, continuous board, 100 feet wide by roughly 20 feet tall. We can deliver information and video to our customer in essentially what is our central park. It's our gathering area for our fans outside of their seats.
With our partners at NTT Data, we will be adding new, additional data, telemetry so we can make it an interactive wall for our customers. We're looking forward to what the video boards are going to do for our ability to connect the racing and the activities on the track even better for our customers.
The next place our customers will notice first is on the west side of our property between the first turn and the fourth turn. The image you are seeing right now is an image of one of those ribbon boards, how that would actually work as it relates to the seats when you're sitting around the grandstand. You can scroll the positioning or any other messaging we want to do.
Currently we squeeze that video back and try to run that ticker inside the same video. You lose video for your customer, the ticker isn't quite big enough to see. That should alleviate one of those problems that was a significant one for our fans.
Outside the racetrack on the west side of the facility, Georgetown Road has been an area where it's been difficult when you think that over 150,000 attendees of the Indianapolis 500 come through a gate on the west side of our facility. When they all come in, it gets awful crowded over there.
About two weeks ago the trucks you see up there on the image started removing jersey barriers, removing some asphalt. We will be relocating the western perimeter of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway basically halfway into Georgetown Road. There will be two lanes of traffic on the west side, one going northbound, one southbound, and then everything on the east side will be inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway property.
That will alleviate a lot of the congestion that happens on race morning as people are getting in the gate, go north and south and travel to their seats.
If you were out there today, you will see the concrete wall has started to go in, the sidewalk has been removed, the top level of asphalt has been removed. That will all go back on once the weather gets good enough.
This will be a fantastic experience for our customers as they get in and out of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on race days. We were out looking at it this morning. It's going to be an amazing view to be inside the speedway and feel like you have that much room.
Around that you can see the black fence on top of the wall there. We are actually putting up about 15,000 linear feet of new fencing around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Essentially three miles of fencing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, not just on top of the wall there on Georgetown Road but throughout.
It will have a consistent look, a consistent feel, raising the level of what the Indianapolis Motor Speedway looks like and what our customers expect when they come to the speedway.
The next thing we've been working on, I've been in more restrooms than I've ever been in my. Life, we have over 160 fully public restrooms at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. By that I mean restrooms that you don't need a credential to get in. We almost have another 160 of them that are inside suites and other areas of the speedway. Our focus has been on approximately 125 restrooms that our customers use. We are trying to get those refreshed.
If you go in our restrooms coming in in May, there will be new sinks where they were needed, all brand-new lighting, LED lighting, the paint inside the restrooms throughout the facility will be a consistent paint. For those fans that come this evening to the party in the pavilion, the restrooms in the pavilion are painted in the same scheme so folks have a chance to see that.
You can also see one some of the exterior of those will be cleaned up. It will be clear to tell whether it's male or female restroom. As Roger said, that is not a revenue-producing investment, but it certainly does help us with the customer experience. We certainly want that to be one that people aren't worried about.
Another area that we're going to focus on is Victory Podium. Victory Podium here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we want to find a way to get the winner of the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 back up on the podium. We are in the process right now of working through that.
This May we will once again have the car rising above the ground that will allow for more of the folks in the grandstand to have an opportunity to see it, see the winner's celebration as they make it into Victory Lane.
We're also focused a little bit on the atmosphere of the speedway. It is the greatest racing facility in the world. Gate one, we renovated in 2016 for Project 100. Under tunnel two to head to the museum, we have the name of the speedway above it, but it's never been in lights. Starting this year the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be lit up at gate one and gate two when you drive by or in the facility giving folks certainly knowing they're at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but another great photo opportunity when we're here.
When you get off the interstate and you pass the restaurants, we want to make sure you know coming down Hulman Memorial Way that you are literally coming to the greatest racetrack in the world. We're working with the town to make sure that we are taking care of Hulman Memorial Way properly, so that will get cleaned up, you will feel, as Roger says, it's Augusta.
The exterior of the facility will have new branding throughout. What you see up there actually tunnel 10 on the north end of the racetrack between turns three and four so you know you're coming to the speedway. When you do, you're going to notice a lot more flags. It's going to be colorful, it's going to feel like you've come to someplace special.
Small details but something that definitely makes you feel you are at the world's greatest racing facility.
Inside of gate one and some other areas we're going to have some patio tables. Trying to find more places for our customers to sit, have an opportunity to do some concessions. That is a rendering of what it could look like inside of gate one once we get to May. Those will be throughout the facility as well.
Again, just small things that are investing in our atmosphere and the customer experience here at the speedway.
Roger, do you have a favorite project of any of these that you'd like to talk about?
ROGER PENSKE: I think when you look at the numbers, you think about three miles of fence, the amount of asphalt and concrete, I also think about the people who are doing it. I'm just amazed at the commitment.
These LED boards, we were here this morning, I think it was three degrees, we were looking at the absolute position for these LED boards. We were in Detroit last week looking at specifics. We can really have the best experience.
This is a multi-million dollar commitment when you think about this. This acre we're looking at, this is a thousand acres. I think when you really see the specs on this slide, you'll see the different areas we're committed to.
I think it's the right thing. The racing product, obviously Doug, has been terrific here when you think about the finishes over the last few years. The commitment by the teams. I think Jay and the teams at IndyCar have done a great job.
I happened to be at the test last week. To see the excitement, the aero screen, overall I think the teams are stronger. We have a great crop of new drivers.
Without IndyCar, we don't have the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Without the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we might not have IndyCar. We're really looking at it along with IMSP. This is one rooftop over all of these three entities. That's my goal.
I think the way we think in the office is we get together, how can we help each other. I think that's going to be key long-term.
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: Mark, do you have any additional comments? One of the things I thought I'd ask you, it's been an awful lot of fun, a lot of 14- or 16-hour days since right after Christmas. You've seen a lot of parts of the facility that maybe we didn't know we were going to see. Maybe talk a little bit about the direction that we've received from Roger to really focus on the details.
MARK MILES: A couple things:
The way I think of it in a sense is that a lot of money was invested for the hundredth running in 2016. We were very proud of the improvements. I look across the way and see the green folding chairs, the card table chairs aren't there any more. A lot of great work has been done. But we didn't get to a lot of it either.
Roger has given us the opportunity to go through every part of the place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and to see how far we can improve it for the fan, with the fan in mind, really a precious little amount of time.
That isn't going to end. I'm sure with the 104th running, it will be a continuing process, which has been I think really invigorating for all of us that have been involved, to just be able to come in with ideas and to hear Roger's ideas, his team's ideas, that the folks come down from Detroit, Greg Penske is here. It's just a great, high-energy process that looks at how to wisely invest money to improve the place.
I have no doubt our fans will know it. I think the competitors will know it. We've already talked about the fact we expect the racing to be great, everything on track to be exciting.
Roger has a way of motivating you. He's always encouraging. He's always on it. I think everybody involved with us would tell you it's really inspirational. The results are going to speak for themselves.
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: That's a pretty good way to recap that.
As we start getting ready here for Q&A, just a couple things I don't want people to forget. We today are 30 days from the Firestone Grand Prix at St. Petersburg. We're talking a lot about the hundred days. Our season kicks off in 30 days. It is just right around the corner. That is the beginning really to the run-up to the Indianapolis 500 and the month of May. We're just 84 days from cars on track preparing for the GMR Grand Prix here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It's just right around the corner. May feel like winter outside, but that racing season is just around the corner from the NTT IndyCar Series side as well as activity here at the speedway. We're just 142 days from the Big Machine Vodka 400.
Roger, before I turn it over to Q&A, do you have any last thoughts?
ROGER PENSKE: You and Mark have covered it. Again, I'm really honored to have the opportunity to play a part in this iconic track, speedway, the history. Talked to Tony George this morning, we talked a little bit about what we're doing. Pretty nice to have him come by, add some support.
This is an amazing place. We come here today, walk out on the track, you can see what we have. To put it in perspective, we all saw the Super Bowl a week ago. They had 60 to 65,000 people. We're going to have four and a half times that here. That's the thing we got to realize on race day.
I said it before, this is a generational crowd. These are people that have tickets. They don't give those tickets up. In fact, Kelly who runs our ticket operations, says people apply every year to try to move a seat, to get a better seat. We're so lucky to have that interest as we go forward.
We'll continue to invest, to make it better. I think this big screen behind the pagoda, we think this will become really a plaza that we can have 10,000 or 15,000 people. We might repurpose that as we go into 2021 and have this midway that goes all the way up towards the north end of the track.
We're talking to people who might have other ideas that we can utilize, this thousand acres, as we know. Those are things we'll talk about certainly in the future.
Remember, the racing product here is not flawed. It's fast. I think new drivers that we have, the teams, I've never seen so much interest. I had the opportunity to sit with car owners here this last week. Lots of support. I think the next 10 years should be pretty exciting for Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: We'll start with questions.
Q. Can you specify exactly how much is being invested in this project, how much more you're willing to invest in the facility moving forward?
ROGER PENSKE: I think to give a number, this number really is changing every day. As we sat here this morning, we approved four or five other things we could get done.
It's a multi-million dollar investment in less than you could say a hundred days that we've committed to. We'll continue to do that. This is not about having a budget that ends. I think the maintenance cap that's required here is significant.
As we see new opportunities, whether it's technology, safety, other things that we want to do here, we're going to invest in that. We have the capital to do that and we expect to invest it.
Q. Roger, when I first saw you race in 1955, Meadowdale, outside Chicago, did you ever envision you would have to provide something that somebody can watch in their hands? I never dreamed of that. As big as this facility is, are you going to bring in more entertainment?
ROGER PENSKE: I think you might just talk a little bit about the concert plans we have for this year.
I guess I don't remember much that went on in Meadowdale in 1955, so I won't take a lot of time to talk about that.
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: With respect to concerts, obviously that has been a big piece around our race weekends. The concerts help us create and elevate the events to bigger events. As you saw with the Rolling Stones, we're always in the market to find the right act and place. It's more complicated than saying, Hey, we want that band to come.
Roger has been supportive as we've been exploring those opportunities. Just has to be the right fit for this brand.
Q. Lately fan experience, corporate entertainment has become a huge part of the racing business. Any plans to improve on those facilities and that experience?
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: One of the first things we did when Roger arrived here after the announcement in November, we spent 36 hours almost non-stop walking around the facility. We spent quite a bit of time in our corporate hospitality areas. I think there's definitely an opportunity going forward for us to invest in those.
The focus really between that point and today was take advantage of the time we had to really impact the most customers. That's our guy that buys a ticket to the race. When you think about the announcement being made in November, winter in Indiana, we're still in the middle of winter, we only have a small window to get some things done.
It really made sense to focus on the projects we're focused on right now. Those are definitely things that are on the radar to continue.
ROGER PENSKE: One of the things we're looking at are what type of events do we want to have here year-round. Specifically I think from a corporate perspective, we might go to Nashville or someplace else with our corporation where we have big meetings. We bring people in from around the world.
We want to have a destination where people can have a business meeting, breakout rooms, then be able to maybe have a driving experience, maybe have dinner in the pagoda. There's so many things.
Certainly I think it was Ivanka Trump and the workforce development people came here and had a meeting. I think more of that will give us better stature and might be able to give you opportunities to connect with corporations which are not involved. We think that's an opportunity.
Certainly as we look at racing experiences for OEMs, might want to use this certain times of the year for really a experience for their consumer.
Q. Would you consider selling the title sponsorship? A third of the field made $200,000 to start the race. With your connections and marketing people, will you try to sell a title sponsorship for the Indy 500?
ROGER PENSKE: I think I said it to the car owners. We need to support the 22 people who go race to race to race. When you look at the opportunity to add additional cars, this year I would assume that eight or nine additional cars will probably come from that group. So our focus is as we add to the purse, those 22 people have the opportunity to get that additional compensation.
On the other hand, you can be a non-leader circle team that comes in for just the one race and still the purse is going to be $2 million. $100,000 would be the minimum you would get plus anything you would do from the standpoint of being in the top 15.
I think it's well-balanced. I think everyone at our meeting felt it was the right way. We need to build this leaders circle commitment to support these teams, and they can go out and invest in equipment and people, which will make the series much better.
Q. Is the apron coming back?
ROGER PENSKE: As far as I'm concerned, we have no budget to change the apron (laughter). I'm not into that discussion today, okay?
Q. I know of one team that may get the go ahead today. I understand there's a number of teams that are trying to come and join the series.
ROGER PENSKE: That's exactly what we want. One of the things that Jay Frye and the folks at IndyCar are doing to keep the costs at such a position where we have the ability to compete on a full-time basis.
We have two great partners from an engine perspective, Honda and Chevrolet. We're working hard with them today to try to have them extend their contracts out so we don't have to be changing cars. That would give us a key chance to get a third manufacturer.
I want to make sure that Honda and Chevy are in for the long-term, then we can approach other OEMs to get a third manufacturer. That would be a great opportunity for us.
Q. Mr. Penske, the additional money going into the purse, how much of that will be top loaded for the winner and how much would you say percentage-wise would go through the field?
ROGER PENSKE: I think I said it earlier, that probably $125,000 of the purse will probably go directly to the winner's circle. As I said earlier, if you win the race non-leader circle, the minimum would be $2 million to the winner.
Q. How important was it for the Last Row Shootout to have more than one attempt? The last couple of years they've had one shot only.
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think this came from the fans. Jay and Doug and Mark had lots of communication on that. That wasn't something that I made a decision on. I listened to it.
We felt and certainly thought there should be more time. Obviously we have weather that could change that. I think the days when I was here early on, you would have 10 cars trying to get the last two spots. I don't think we'll have that opportunity.
Overall having the bumping is key, then we have the Fast Nine that same day. There will be lots of interest. Plus we have the national television which will make it a worldwide viewing for our fans and spectators.
J. DOUGLAS BOLES: Thank you, guys, for being here. We look forward to continuing to make little announcements between now and May of this year. A lot of stuff going on out here. The team will keep you posted to the extent there are any great photo ops as we start to install and pave and get ready to host the world's largest single day sporting event here in just a hundred days. Thank you so much.
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