The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Columns

March 19, 2014

Ken de la Bastide: Deal moves IndyCar to next level

It has been an exceptional few weeks for IndyCar with the biggest news coming last week with the signing of Verizon as the title sponsor.

After the contract ended with IZOD, the future of IndyCar was unknown. Without a sponsor the direction of the series, which has been moving forward of late, could have come to a screeching halt.

Back in the heyday of the former American Speed Association, once the sponsorship dollars evaporated, the legendary short-track series struggled and eventually went bankrupt in 2005.

Reports are the title sponsorship with Verizon is for 10 years at a cool $10 million per year. It should take IndyCar to the next level for the upcoming decade with lots of exposure for both the series and the drivers.

Verizon, which has been a corporate sponsor for the past four years, will continue to sponsor the Penske Racing team cars for Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman Motorsports, called the announcement a real game-changer for IndyCar, and I doubt that anyone wouldn’t agree with that assessment.

Fans should be able to get more access to IndyCar races, statistics and news through the Verizon Wireless network than previously was available.

The title sponsorship news comes on the heels of announcements that Montoya was returning to IndyCar, Kurt Busch would be attempting to race in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup race on the same day in May, former Indy 500 champion Jacques Villeneuve was returning to Indy and changes in the qualifying format.

It’s a significant move for IndyCar that Verizon made the decision to step up their level of participation at a time when NASCAR continues to look for a title sponsor to replace Nationwide at the end of this season for its second-tier touring series.

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