Reactions pour in as IndyCar’s Road America return gets announced


ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – There’s been a bevy of quotes and reactions to IndyCar’s announcement it is coming back to Road America in 2016.

Here are a mix of quotes from those on site, those issued by IndyCar, and those posted on Twitter. Note this is merely a sampling.


Derrick Walker, INDYCAR president of competition and operations: “There’s been a great amount of effort and great total package to go into this. It’s not down to me. There’s a lot of people that have been here to help make this happen.”

George Bruggenthies, Road America track president: “Yep, this has been years in the making. Derrick and I and INDYCAR have been talking about a date for literally years. I met with Mark Miles two years at Long Beach. Bobby Rahal put us together. We were introduced. Before that, Randy Bernard. I’ve been working to get an event for a long time, because our fans want to see this product here. I work for our fans, and that’s why they’re coming.”

Conor Daly, IndyCar part-time driver, current Performance Tech Motorsports driver: “I came to these races in the early 2000s. This is where IndyCar belongs. This is a road course IndyCars should be at. I really want to be involved. The heritage of IndyCar is such a great part of Road America. Our cars are without a doubt the best racing in the world right now and this produces really good racing.”


SCOTT DIXON (Driver, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams): “Road America is one of the classic tracks in North America. Its long and challenging layout is built for speed and the Indy cars this year have been shattering a lot of track records with the new aero kits. I can’t wait to get back and am glad INDYCAR is expanding the schedule and adding races to the calendar.”

MIKE HULL (Managing Director, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams): “INDYCAR’s return to Road America is terrific for the fans, Road America and INDYCAR. Road America is an amazing natural terrain and historic four-mile track. It’s a true driver’s racetrack with a large engineering challenge to match the setup to the diversity of very high speed, combined with tight cornering forces. INDYCAR’s innovation and technology will be showcased fully. This is an exciting and genuinely positive partnership announcement.”

TONY KANAAN (Driver, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams): “I’m extremely happy to know that Road America will be back on our schedule. It’s one of my favorite road courses in the U.S. – a long, technical and beautiful track. I had a couple of top-five finishes there back in the day, so I’d be happy to race there again and make it to the podium.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (Driver, Team Penske): “I have said several times that Road America is the one track in this country that needs to be added to the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule immediately. Elkhart Lake is a racing town. The people there love what we do and they really supported the series when we ran there in the past. It is exciting to see the schedule fill out a bit for 2016. This has been a great year for our series and I am confident that the 2016 season will be as well.”

ROGER PENSKE (Owner, Team Penske): “Road America will be a terrific addition to the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. We raced there for many years through the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s, and enjoyed great support from the people of Elkhart Lake. The expansion of the schedule is important to building on the successes and growth we have seen in 2015. Road America is a world-class facility that will allow our cars to display the speed and excitement that has come to define this series.”

WILL POWER (Driver, Team Penske): “I am really looking forward to going back to Road America. It’s a phenomenal racetrack, especially for the cars in the Verizon IndyCar Series with all of the downforce we have now. I think it will create really good racing because the draft effect is pretty big. Road America is just one of those traditional tracks that has been around for years and it has so much history with our cars. I can’t say enough how happy I am that it will be back on the schedule in 2016.”





Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”