Milwaukee IndyFest Ready For Round Two

New Berlin, WI – There may be snow and ice covering the historic Milwaukee Mile this winter, but Andretti Sports Marketing is getting ready for round two of Milwaukee IndyFest; the IZOD Indy Car race they promoted at the iconic West Allis oval.

Though IndyFest is not scheduled until June 14-15, Michael Andretti and a trio of his open-wheel drivers were in Milwaukee this week for a promotional push aimed at keeping their Father’s Day weekend event and its 2012 success in front of Midwest race fans.

“One of our main jobs is to get people to understand what an IndyFest is beyond a lot of cool cars going fast,” noted ASM Managing Director Kevin Healy. “With our infield excitement giving the event real character, including the midway, the concert and driver Q&A sessions, we hope for a double-digit (percentage) increase for 2013. Now they (the fans) have a better understanding of what the entertainment value is. It’s hard to beat that price for everything that you get. We had 25,000 unique visitors in 2012 and we hope to build on what we did then.”

Andretti, a five-time winner at the Mile during his racing days was also excited about last year’s results. “For our first time it was really a success. We have a great group of people who are responsible for this,” noted the name in front of the promotion. “I’m responsible for it all, but they do the hard work; the nitty-gritty.”

Healy also had good things to say about the help the group received from State Fair Park during their inaugural event that wasn’t put on the schedule until February of 2012. “We did what we did last year in 100 days. Without the enthusiasm and cooperation from the people at Wisconsin State Fair Park we couldn’t have done it. They really came through to help us do what we did in such a short time.”

Andretti also had good things to say about the Mile from his view as a former driver. “I’ve got great memories of competing here. One year I started way in the back and was in the lead by the first pit stop,” he remembered. “I also had my first taste of the wall during a Super Vee race in the early eighties- that hurt! This track is tough, but it’s fun when you get it right. You feel like you’re King Kong then.”

Beside the press get- together, Andretti appeared at The Majestic movie theater in Waukesha to introduce “Super Speedway” for a one-time showing. The 1997 racing documentary, starring his father Mario, was shown at Milwaukee’s IMAX Theater several years ago.

He was also interviewed on several local radio and TV stations.

Other press conference notes:

• Back in December, Andretti Autosport signed then 17-year-old Zach Veach to drive an entry in the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights series. Veach, a 5’2”, 105 lb. on-line high school senior, has written a book (99 Things Teens Wish They Knew Before Turning 16) , appeared on Oprah and CNN, hung with Justin Bieber and headed a national anti-bullying campaign. The Ohio native set an unofficial track record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last summer while testing his K12-sponsored Indy Lights ride at the fabled track. “He’s unbelievable isn’t he? We met him, I think, when he was thirteen. He’s really doing a great job in the car. He’s been quicker than some of our quickest guys ever,” said Zach’s happy car owner. Also attending the luncheon were 2012 IZOD IndyCar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and the team’s Pro Mazda pilot Shelby Blackstock.

• Andretti also gave his opinion of the often-delayed aero package for the now two-year-old Dallara Indy Car. “In my opinion we don’t need aero kits. They’re not going to put more people in the seats and it’s just going to cost people more money. That money could be more well spent doing other things to help the series. The last I heard they were still talking about it, but for any team it’s going to be a big drain (on resources) if we have to do it. It’s not the kits themselves,” Andretti opined, “it’s the R&D that will have to go into them. In our economy today I’ve got to spend (the money) somewhere else.”

• Last summer Andretti’s group was rumored to be in line to take over a Dodge team in NASCAR after the Penske organization announced their switch to Ford for 2013. Dodge later pulled out of that series, but Andretti still entertains thoughts of perhaps competing in the combined Grand Am/American LeMans sports car series in 2014. “I’m very excited about the consolidation of those two groups. We’re looking hard at other types of racing as well. We’re in the business of racing, not just Indy Car, but I don’t want to do it unless we can go in with an effort and win some races. But if an opportunity comes along in that series, or any other series, we’re definitely going to look at it.”

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