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March 19, 2014

DE LA BASTIDE: IndyCar's hot streak continues

Verizon is a nice fit as title sponsor.

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 IndyCar’s contract ended with Izod, the series faced an uncertain future. 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 & Co., the parent of IndyCar and IMS, called the announcement a real game changer for IndyCar and I doubt anyone would disagree with that assessment.

“Verizon is the perfect partner for us to showcase the high level of innovation and technology that is inherent in our sport,” Miles said. “IndyCar will provide a large audience of tech-savvy consumers who are eager for the latest technology to further enhance their experience.”

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

The news of the title sponsorship 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.

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