Interview with Adam Friedman, Producer of Champ Car Garage
by Mark Cipolloni

 September 14, 2005

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Adam Friedman

Adam Friedman is the President of Traveling Light Media and the producer of the new show Champ Car Garage to air next week for the first time.

AutoRacing1.com: Adam, what does the term 'garage' mean with regard to this show?
Friedman: The term and title came form the notion to have a place where a lot of different segments and ideas could flourish, it's not just a show filmed in a garage where cars are serviced.

AutoRacing1.com: How did this show come about?
Friedman: Like many things there was a need to fill an hour space on Speed. Frankly, I would much rather have done Champ Car Garage as a half-hour show. That being said, there are some segments that made the hour show that wouldn't have made the half-hour show that needed to be on. Let me tell you what I mean. The Redline Roundtable is really a show unto itself. But I'm so sick and tired of the happy faces that predominate IRL and NASCAR. I needed to hear some real people - some intelligent people - discuss some real issues.

AutoRacing1.com: How many episodes will be produced and how long is each?
Friedman: Like I said it's planned as a half-hour show. How many is up to Champ Car and whoever buys the show. This first show is a one-off pilot.

AutoRacing1.com: Will the show be based around one team? What will keep the fans interest? How will you connect with them?
Friedman: It'll be about the entire Champ Car experience, which to me is comprised of incredible personalities, and that doesn't just mean the drivers. I think Kevin Kalkhoven, Forsythe, and Gentilozzi are all interesting people in their own right. I think Dick Eidswick is the unsung hero of the whole Champ Car revival. Make sure to watch the A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson interview on our show to see some real interesting drivers. And not only is the 2-seater ride the best racing piece I've ever seen, I think the Jimmy Vasser interview is the best interview he's ever given. Biased? Not me. But even watch our fan footage segment, which has actual regular folks sending us footage that is just wonderful. When the show gets picked up, we hope this will be a regular feature.

AutoRacing1.com: Where will the show be filmed and who will be the host?
Friedman: The show has been filmed all over the Champ Car circuit from San Jose to Toronto and from Long Beach to Montreal. Ralph Sheheen hosts the show, and we're very excited about that.

AutoRacing1.com: Will the show also include Champ Car Atlantics, or will it primarily focus on the big cars?
Friedman: Atlantics are a big part of the show. We have an interview with Katherine Legge that features some phenomenal Atlantics footage. Even the Redline Roundtable features an interesting discussion on the new Atlantic car and the $2 million that Kevin Kalkhoven put up for the winner.

AutoRacing1.com: New Champ Cars are coming in 2007. Will any shows focus on what the future holds with them vs. the current cars?
Friedman: We discuss it in the Roundtable, but as we finished our cut, the deal for the 07 car was not finalized. We desperately wanted to show it, but we couldn't.

AutoRacing1.com: Any special guest stars planned?
Friedman: We have a very special section on the 2006 Camp Car Calendar called Champ Car Angels, and as you can imagine, Champ Car angels take on a lot of different forms. Dan Pettit and Dick Eidswick are good angels, but Becky Gordon and Bronte Tagliani are good-looking angels. And of course, Paul Newman is an amazing angel. There's a cameo by Mad Max Papis; he shows up with a diaper for Robin Miller, and that alone is worth the price of admission.

AutoRacing1.com: What station will air the show? Any repeats planned?
Friedman: Speed will show it Monday September 19th at 9PM, which is a great prime time slot - thank you Speed. Check the listings for repeats.

AutoRacing1.com: NASCAR is dominating motorsports in the USA and landing most of the corporate sponsors. Is there any difficulty selling to advertisers for this show?
Friedman: Hell yes, although that's really a Champ Car question. Frankly it shouldn't be difficult. The technology in a Champ Car is so high tech, especially compared to the IRL and I'm so taken with the people that I don't understand why we don't have more sponsors. We will after this show airs, I guarantee it.

AutoRacing1.com: Have you met Mark Reilly, VP of Broadcast Sales and Distribution for Champ Car? Is he involved with this show at all?
Friedman: No I haven't, and I sure do wonder why. You would think he'd be calling me all the time. Maybe after he sees the show.

Ryan Briscoe's accident at Chicagoland.  Who in their right mind wants to risk that?
Phil Rider LAT/USA

AutoRacing1.com: The IRL has some pretty spectacular crashes and finishes. Does that make for good TV?
Friedman: The IRL is kind of a sad pathetic joke by people who don't understand what neither auto racing nor popular television are about. Look at their ratings, and look at their ratings considering all the crashes, the close finishes, and even the Danica Patrick factor.

The sacrificial lambs that pass for drivers in the IRL is sad. Did you see Ryan Briscoe's crash? Jesus Christ, I thought for sure he was gone. How the hell does Dario Franchitti stay in the IRL when sees a crash like that? How does Mrs. Franchitti let him stay in the IRL? I mean it was unbelievable; there was this horrific crash - really horrific - and Scott Goodyear goes, "Oh yeah. Look there. Looks just like Kenny Brack's crash." And that's a good thing? Where's Kenny Brack? He's no longer racing.

When you look at the deliberate moves that Kalkhoven, Gentilozzi, Forsythe, and Eidswick have done, I would imagine that fans and sponsors alike should feel very comfortable with the future of Champ Car. The IRL smacks of knee jerk populism.

AutoRacing1.com: Danica Patrick is the IRL's star right now. Some are predicting she will land a lot of endorsements, more than Michael Jordan. Is that even remotely possible?
Friedman: Negative. See, she's what I mean.......she's never won a race. Stand by! NEVER WON A RACE. When we asked AJ Allmendinger about her, he cocked his head like a dog that sees something it can't comprehend and said, "Danica? Danica who?" It was beautiful, because while he buried her in Formula Atlantic, he only saw her when he was lapping her. As a matter of fact, let's go visit Mr. and Mrs. Franchitti again and see how they feel about that. Here's Dario Franchitti, a really good driver who's forced to suck wind to a driver who has NEVER WON A RACE and because of the weight advantage, or the lack thereof, can out qualify the heavier male drivers. That would never happen in Champ Car.

AutoRacing1.com: Given she has not even won a race yet, is Danica's popularity proof that sex sells over talent? If so, does Champ Car need a 'sex kitten' too?
Friedman: You need to see our Katherine Legge interview to know that that will never happen. Remember, Katherine Legge 3, Danica Patrick 0. Unlike Ms. Patrick, Ms. Legge has won 3 hard-fought clean victories from her very talented male counterparts. Hey, if we were still on Spike, we could have a steel cage match.

AutoRacing1.com: How did you get involved with Champ Car, was it through previous work you had done?
Friedman: We have a great relationship with Champ Car. My company did the Champ Car promos from Times Square last year and the Paul Tracy Champ Car Experience as well as all the promo commercials for this year's races. Traveling Light loves Champ Car and we're pretty sure they love us, and if they didn't before, they will after this show.

Did I mention we just did the 2006 Calendar too? The making of which is featured prominently on Champ Car Garage.

By the way, Mark, we love AutoRacing1.com too. Your website is the only place we go to find out Champ Car news and information. And your spicy attitude reminds us of our own.

Onward! Please watch the show, because if you don't watch the show and get everyone you know to watch show, there won't be another show, and then no one can bitch that there's no Champ Car programming on TV.

The author can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

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