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An Interview With






THE MODERATOR: As you can see by
the signage, our title is Sports Car Racing in North
American future, and that’s what this is all abou

We have some VIPs in the house today I
want to acknowledge. I want to start with two of
our most important entitlement sponsors, Ed
Brown, president and CEO of Patron; Colette
Bennett, national sports marketing manager for
Rolex. We have the chairma
n and CEO of
NASCAR, Brian France. We have the CEO of the
International Speedway Corporation, Lisa France
Kennedy. NASCAR president, Mike Helton and
NASCAR board member, Gary Crotty. Mark
, president, North America, GM. Jim
Campbell, VP of motorsp
orts GM. John Doonan,
director of Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North
American operations. Beth Paretta, director of
marketing and operations, SRT Motorsports.
Andre Oosthuizen, VP marketing, Porsche Cars
North America. From the International Motorsports
sociation, chief operating officer, Scott Elkins.

We have several gentlemen who head up
our great facilities that are going to be involved in
this new organization: President and general
manager of Road Atlanta, Jeff Lee; president and
general manager a
t Sebring International
Raceway, Tres Stephenson.

And our host, really, is what you could call
Joie Chitwood III, president of Daytona
International Speedway.

A couple of good friends joining us on the
phone listening in, director of motorsports for For
Racing, Jamie Allison, and the marketing director
for Continental Tire, Travis Roffler.

We are going to be going live on SPEED
shortly which is going to be a big moment. Please
stand by, we will begin momentarily. I am going to
yield now to a very sp
ecial guest emcee we
brought in, Leigh Diffey.

: Good morning,
everybody, and we have just got the cue that we
are now live on SPEED so we welcome the
viewers on the network in North America and
around the world, those viewing and tuning in
logging in on, GRAND and, welcome to those folks, too, on the

I would like to start with just some raw
emotion. What a day. Did you ever think we
would see it? (Applause). It evokes so many
emotions and f
eelings, doesn’t it. And when there
were not many of us in the room early this
morning, there was no music, it was very quiet and
to see these four gentleman’s names, they were
not sitting in the chairs just then and it was truly a
special moment.

For a
ll of us in the room, we are sitting
here today because in various forms, we have had
something to do with either the GRAND

AM Rolex
sports car series or the American Le Mans Series
Presented by Tequila Patron some way. For some
of us we are very fortunat
e and we have got to
work on both series in various capacities and
enjoyed those signature moments that the series
offer over the years, for more than a decade now
for both series; whether that be right here in victory
lane out in the front and seeing thos
e exhausted
yet elated drivers when they complete the Rolex 24
and slip on that beautiful Rolex wristwatch or
watching the field be released. It was an

September 5
, 2012

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exhilarating moment at the Mobile One 12 Hours of
Sebring and watch them all pile into turn one.
‘s many magical moments we could list.

For me personally I’ve shared a lot with
both series and have the fortune of commentating
many key moments for GRAND

AM and ALMS,
like the very first Daytona prototype race in 2003;
Jim, seems like yesterday.

Don, how about that race in Australia,
in the streets of Adelaide, the Race of a Thousand
Years for the American LeMans Series. Truly
magical moments for us at motorsports fans and
sports car fans, we have sat back and been a part
of it, but also enjoyed

But the GRAND

AM and the American
LeMans Series they have impacted drivers lives
and careers. I was doing some numbers yesterday
and combined since their inception, the two
respective series have produce 80 individual
driving champions. Isn’t that
significant. That’s
worthy of a round of applause, as well.

Want to list some things here. Big events,
great racing, cool cars, diverse drivers from around
the globe and even from Hollywood, we have got
enthusiastic and involved and engaged
rs. We have just got the best,
awesome tracks, and we have got passionate fans.
And I’m not even talking about the future yet. I’m
talking about what we have already in sports car
racing here in the U.S. and it’s with thanks to these
four gentlemen.

oing to ask you to keep the applause
coming as we introduce the four special men
today. The advice chairman of NASCAR and the
founder of GRAND

AM, Mr.

Jim France. Next to
Jim, the founder of the American LeMans Series,

Don Panoz. To Don’s left, the
president and
CEO of the American LeMans Series, Mr.

Atherton. And to Scott’s left, the president, CEO of

AM Road Racing, Mr.

Ed Bennett.

We will hear from these four gentleman in
just a few moments but if I can steer you towards
the video s
creens, we are going to have a quick
clip about what these two amazing racing
organizations represent.

I think one of the amusing things is there’s
been so much said on telephones, Twitter, texting
and written on Twitter and website that is actually
hing formal has been said yet but it’s about to
be. Vice chairman of NASCAR and the founder of

AM, Mr.

Jim France.

: Thank you for the
introduction. On behalf of the France family,

AM and NASCAR, I want to thank
everyone for join
ing us here today for what is a real
milestone occasion, not only for sports car racing,
but for motor sports in North America.

It gives me great pleasure to announce
today officially that GRAND

AM Road Racing and
the American LeMans Series are merging i
n one
sports car racing organization. (Applause.)

I feel the same way. I know a lot of people have
been waiting many years for this day to come. I’m
really looking forward to the merger process.

For the 2013 season, our two
organizations will continue

to run the schedule as
has been in 2012. Beginning in 2014 with the
Daytona 24 Hour, we will have a combined
championship for North America.

This morning, I found myself thinking,
almost 65 years ago, just three miles away from
here at the old Streamli
ne Hotel, my father, Bill,
Senior, gathered a group of people who at the time
were the leaders of motorsports in North America.
Out of that meeting, NASCAR was formed.

Also out of that meeting, a great quote by
my dad merged regarding the future of stoc
k car
racing. A portion of that quote went something like
this: “Stock car racing has got distinct possibilities.
We do not know how big it can be if it’s handled
properly. We are all interested in one thing, and
that is improving the present condition
s. The
answer lies in our group right here today.”

Today, all these years later in front of
another gathering of leaders of motorsports, I want
to echo my Dads words with some editing.

I think sports car racing has a distinct
possibility, and I definit
ely feel like we are going to
improve present conditions. There is no doubt in
my mind that the answer lies with the two groups
who are combining forces starting today.

This is great day professionally and
personally for me. I’ve been a sports car raci
fan my entire life. I can thank my father, Bill,
Senior for that. He obviously loved stock car
racing but had a real affinity for sports car racing,
as well. So does the man sitting next to me, who
has graciously agreed to be vice chairman of the

organization’s board of directors. I would like
to turn it over to the founder of the American
LeMans Series, Dr.

Don Panoz.

: Thank you, Jim. Well, this
is an exciting time. Especially for the fans, and
especially for sports car racing. L
ike any form of
sports entertainment, we really have to realize that
the true value comes from the passion of the fans.

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