Andretti Autosport may expand into NASCAR

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

One of the biggest names in open-wheel racing is considering launching a NASCAR team.

Sources close to Indianapolis-based Andretti Autosport say officials for the IndyCar Series team are talking to Dodge executives about putting a team in NASCAR next year.

An announcement, sources said, could come as early as the weekend of June 15 at the NASCAR event at Michigan International Speedway.

“I’ve heard this from enough people in the industry to know where there’s smoke there’s fire,” said Zak Brown, a Zionsville-based motorsports marketing consultant who represents some of the biggest sponsors in NASCAR and Formula One. “I think Andretti and Dodge have a serious interest in pursuing this.”

Andretti Autosport has three full-time cars in the IndyCar Series and is owned by former IndyCar driver Michael Andretti, son of 1967 Daytona 500 winner and open-wheel legend Mario Andretti.

Andretti officials preparing for the Indianapolis 500 this week have downplayed the possibility of joining NASCAR, but have not denied it.

“We don't have any comments or details on the NASCAR rumors. I can assure you we’re 100-percent focused on winning the Indy 500 with Chevrolet this weekend,” said Jade Gurss, Andretti Autosport director of corporate communications, on Wednesday morning.

But earlier this month, when asked about NASCAR, Gurss told reporters “Andretti Autosport is a business designed to always be open to new opportunities as a race team and as a sports marketing company.”

Sources close to the Andretti team don't think the leap to NASCAR would lead to a downsizing or otherwise affect its IndyCar Series team.

Dodge has confirmed that it is looking for a Sprint Cup team for 2013. A Dodge spokesman told IBJ this week that the auto manufacturer is still in the process of evaluating opportunities for next season and could not comment.

Dodge was sent searching for a NASCAR partner earlier this year when another IndyCar Series team, Team Penske, which also has a NASCAR team, announced it would be dropping Dodge after this season for Ford. Penske wanted a five-year deal and Dodge officials wanted a shorter commitment.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing is the other IndyCar Series team with a major presence in NASCAR.

Ganassi and Penske have had mixed results in NASCAR, and neither has managed to duplicate the success they’ve had in the IndyCar Series.

“It’s a difficult transition to NASCAR and some of the biggest and best teams in IndyCar and Formula One have found that out,” Brown said. “One thing Andretti has to realize is that making the transition to NASCAR will take time.”

But Brown doesn’t think Andretti will have much difficulty luring sponsors and raising money for a NASCAR initiative. It costs $17 million to $20 million annually to run a single car in NASCAR.

“Andretti Autosport is very good at marketing and sponsorship sales, and the Andretti name is very well known,” Brown said. “So I don’t think sponsorship money will be their biggest challenge.”



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim