Back to the Homestead issue. How much did the attendance play a factor? They were not exactly running in front of huge crowds there. Was that a factor, as well?
RANDY BERNARD: A significant factor. I think that that's one of the primary factors we have to look at in going somewhere is the attendance, and if you can't deliver attendance, I'm not sure why any series would want to continue to go back.
You know, I think Homestead... I've never been there, so this will be my first time, but I've had a lot of people tell me it's a great race. Again, we don't want to close doors. If we can figure out a way to make and put that back on the series, I would not want to say it would be a final event if we could work out a deal with Vegas, but I think that it definitely is going on our series again. Could you talk at all about your travels in Europe?
I can discuss some of it. My primary objective in going to Europe was meeting with auto manufacturers, press and F1 teams and just letting them know the direction of IndyCar, that we are alive and well and have great momentum. I think we accomplished that.
Also, we want to make sure that we tried to invite as many manufacturers to participate for either engines or aero kits as possible for 2012 in the new car. So it was a whirlwind of a tour, and I think it will be very rewarding for us.
Some of our meetings that were supposed to be two hours ended up over five hours. I think we had a great response, and everybody was very welcoming to us, and very genuine in their interest in IndyCar. I think it speaks big volumes for the series and our momentum, I think. The last time the IndyCars were in New England, it didn't get a very good crowd at all, and even with the NASCAR stop in New Hampshire, auto racing is down the food chain as far as New England sports are concerned. How important is it in having SMI and marketing muscle behind them to solidify open-wheel racing in New Hampshire?
First, I think [track president] Jerry Gappens is very interested in bringing modifieds, and I think there's some technical questions that have to be asked regarding tires, to make sure they are most comparable on the same track. I know that Richmond several years back, we had a problem with modifieds. They just wanted to make sure, if that's possible, which I'm sure it is, just get together.
And then second, on your question in regard to marketing, first I think Bruton Smith and SMI are absolutely fantastic marketers. They understand IndyCar. And I think that with the power and the momentum that IndyCar and the IZOD IndyCar Series currently have, I think that will play a positive.
I think the third point on that would be our sponsorship participation and activation. We have signed 14 new sponsors in the past 12 months, and then we have this year, first year having IZOD as our title sponsor, I think the amount of activation that they can work the market, especially IZOD wants to work Boston, I think that you'll see great crowds. You have mentioned the name of Bruton Smith a couple of times already and SMI, do you sense an improved level of comfort with dealing with that group, and do you think that they can take the sport in a different direction, a better direction than ISC could have?
RANDY BERNARD: I don't want to play an SMI-better-than-ISC game, because I think, again, I'm trying to keep both doors open, because I think it's very important. But I will say I feel very comfortable with SMI. Bruton and I talked extensively, and Bruton has great ideas, and he wants to see IndyCar grow.
I think, you know, when you're dealing with the top and you know that the top all the way down to all of the track presidents are fully working toward building IndyCar, that's very important to us as a series. Great to see Milwaukee back on the schedule. How long has this been in the works?
Well, I tell you, when I first came on March 1, probably by March 15, if I had not heard from, I don't know how many fans said that was some of the best racing and how it was such an important legacy and tradition of the sport and what a crying shame that it wasn't on there, that's when it really began.
We flew up here and met a couple of months back and started trying to figure out a way to do it. And when came up there, it created interest some several different promoters, and so we started negotiating with two separate promoters, and both of them are outstanding type of promoters you want to deal with. And when we finally chose the direction we wanted to go, it just made all the sense in the world. We are very optimistic about Milwaukee. We think it's going to be a great event.