What they're saying about the Red Bull Indianapolis GP
Quotes from selected motorsports competitors, celebrities, political figures and other dignitaries about the Red Bull Indianapolis GP coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sept. 12-14, 2008:
MARIO ANDRETTI (1969 Indianapolis 500 winner, 1978 Formula One World Champion): "To me, Indianapolis has hosted all the major disciplines of motorsports in the world. This completes the cycle - Indy Cars, Formula One, NASCAR - and now world champion motorcycles. There is no other single venue in the world that can make that claim. And in my opinion, MotoGP is the most exciting form of motorsports. It's totally awesome for me to see Indianapolis host this very prestigious formula."
BOB BEDELL (President and CEO, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association): "Adding MotoGP to the events calendar of Indianapolis will be a remarkable economic and promotional boost for Central Indiana. MotoGP racing will introduce Indianapolis to tens of thousands of visitors, many of whom will be making their first trip to our city. Our hospitality community looks forward to welcoming them. Additionally, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca reports an annual economic impact figure of $100 million for its MotoGP events. We would expect visitor spending for the Indianapolis MotoGP race next year to meet or exceed those numbers."
MITCH DANIELS (Governor, State of Indiana): "As a longtime motorcycle enthusiast, this is a great addition for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hoosiers can be proud that the Speedway is bringing fans another world-class event. This is another opportunity for a new group of racing fans to see what Indianapolis and Indiana have to offer."
ROB DINGMAN (President and CEO, American Motorcyclist Association): "This event will continue to help raise the awareness of professional motorcycle road racing in America, and that is good for the overall health of the sport. The AMA and IMS have enjoyed a productive dialogue about returning motorcycles to Indy dating back to 2003, when several top AMA teams tested at the track. We discussed the possibility of including selected AMA Superbike classes at this event but mutually agreed that it would not be conducive to the schedule. We are supportive of motorcycle racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will continue to explore options for AMA involvement in the future."
COLIN EDWARDS (MotoGP rider for Fiat Yamaha Team, native of Houston): "For the U.S. fans, it's definitely an exciting time. MotoGP is really starting to take off over there, and now with two races we'll get a lot more exposure. I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's the Brickyard, and it's got racing history for as far back as you can remember! It has so many famous car races there that it's definitely time we got two wheels on the track!"
DARIO FRANCHITTI (2007 Indianapolis 500 winner): "I think it is really exciting that MotoGP is going to be racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is going to be very exciting for the fans that attend. It is awesome that they are going to be racing there. I am looking forward to seeing the changes they are going to make to the course. It is going to be a historic race."
JEFF GORDON (Four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner, four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion): "I was extremely excited to hear that MotoGP was coming to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I was teammates with Colin Edwards at the Race of Champions in 2002, and I've become a big fan of his. Hopefully, it's scheduled on a weekend where I can attend the event."
NICKY HAYDEN (MotoGP rider for Repsol Honda Team, 2006 World Champion, native of Owensboro, Ky.): "I'm really excited about this race. It is great that Red Bull is committed to the growth of MotoGP in America, and coming to such an historic track like Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be really special to me. It's like my home race. I'm sure all of Owensboro will make the drive up north!"
JOHN HOPKINS (MotoGP rider for Rizla Suzuki MotoGP, native of Ramona, Calif.): "It's awesome that we will be having a second race in the U.S., and I can't wait for it to happen! Indianapolis is the home of motorsport in America, and the Brickyard is one of the most famous tracks in the world, and I'm sure it will be a monster event. Having a race on the East Coast will be great for all the bike fans that can't get to Laguna and will open a whole new group of spectators to MotoGP. I've never been to the circuit so I'll have to buy the latest video game so I can learn my way around before I get there!"
SAM HORNISH JR. (2006 Indianapolis 500 winner, three-time IndyCar Series champion): "I think it's awesome. First of all, the series has quite a bit of fanfare. It's very popular. I have a tremendous amount of respect for riders. I have a sport bike similar to what they race, and knowing how much more souped up theirs are than mine, it's unbelievable what these guys can do. Taking corners and laying the bikes down, that's a very difficult thing. It takes a lot of skill and courage." (About the significance of motorcycles returning to IMS): "Anybody that's a racer knows about the Indianapolis 500, how special it is to race there, the spectacle, the history. The stock car guys, they knew that when they came here. These guys (MotoGP riders) know about open-wheel racing and about the Indy 500, and they are going to be super-excited to go there. If there aren't any scheduling conflicts, I want to be there to see the first running of the race."
MATT LE BLANC (Actor, motorcycle enthusiast): "It's great that they're adding Indy to the 2008 MotoGP season. Why stop there? There should be MotoGP races in the other 48 states!"
JAY LENO (Host, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," motorsports enthusiast, 1999 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car driver): "I think it's really exciting. Motorcycle racing is a huge deal in the United States, and as far as from a technical point of view, it's all fascinating. Much like Formula One cars and Indy cars, they are the most technologically advanced motorcycles there are. They obviously attract world-class riders and bring them to the United States. I think it's really, really exciting. I mean, to me, if I owned the Speedway, there would be something happening there every day. I think it's a terrific opportunity. It's wonderful for the Indianapolis area and the local economy. It just brings home the fact that once again, Indianapolis is the home of all motor racing, not just automobiles."
BART PETERSON (Mayor, City of Indianapolis): "The City of Indianapolis is excited to be hosting a MotoGP event in 2008. Racing history buffs may know that motorcycles raced at IMS in 1909, even before automobiles started racing, so we are proud to have this tradition return to Indianapolis. The economic benefits and prestige this event will bring to the city are substantial."
BUDDY RICE (2004 Indianapolis 500 winner): "I think for MotoGP to come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a place that has hosted some of the greatest sporting events in the world with the Indy 500, the Brickyard 400 and the USGP, is awesome. Also, with Red Bull coming back to the Speedway with their support of the MotoGP event, it's going to be a huge deal. We have seen the success that Red Bull's involvement in the event at Laguna Seca has produced, and I think that they will be able to do the same at Indy. I think that interest in MotoGP is growing here in the U.S., and with having an American, Nicky Hayden, as the reigning World Champion, I think that it is perfect timing to bring this event to Indy. Hopefully the track is a good layout for them, and I think it will be exciting. I think it's a good spot. It's also centrally located, so I hope they pick a proper time for everybody to come there that likes to ride motorcycles, like they do in Europe. A lot of people ride their bikes to these events. I think to have MotoGP in Indy is going to be huge. I think it will be great."
KENNY ROBERTS (Owner, Team Roberts MotoGP team, three-time 500cc World Champion, native of Modesto, Calif.): "Great news. Who wouldn't want to be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Indy for a motorcyclist, I was quite shocked. I had raced there (in Indianapolis) when I was younger at the Fairgrounds mile." (About impact of racing at IMS on MotoGP): "This thing (MotoGP) is going straight up and has for a long time. In America, it means a lot. Just going to Indy is kind of exciting. Now to be a participant, because I grew up with people talking about the month of Indy, all the car guys we used to bump into. I ran around with Mario Andretti because he was in Europe around the same time I won the championship. Indy is a big part of history, as far as being a racer goes. MotoGP coming to Indy is a huge benefit. Now it's at Indy, it's going to be a big shot in the arm for getting us in the front door of where we need to be."