This Sunday, the Indianapolis 500 will be celebrating its 100th race. Drivers are expected to reach speeds of up to 235 miles per hour at the Indy Motor Speedway, making IndyCar the fastest open wheel race in the world.
C.J. O’Donnell, CMO of parent company Hulman Motorsports, is charged with building momentum for the brand and this milestone race. “There’s a lot of weight on our shoulders to make sure that it’s every bit as good as the 99 that came before it, and it sets us up for the next century of racing,” O’Donnell said.
To understand his pressure, one needs to understand IndyCar’s past problems and the league’s fracture in the mid-1990s that drove fans and potential sponsors away from the sport.
“Because of the issues we faced in the last couple of years and because of history is so rich, we wanted to make sure that we were able to celebrate our heritage, our traditions, but also keep a strong view toward the future,” O’Donnell said.
Podcast highlights include:
- The challenges of putting on the event (4:10)
- Making the Indy 500 a national event (8:00)
- Mapping growth through demographics (13:00)
- Working on emerging markets (16:05)
- Reaching fans through online platforms (17:45)