This time, the swiftest go to the race

When the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix in Nazareth, PA was snowed out on April 9, the PR pros at Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) had every reason to panic. After all, the race was rescheduled for the day before the granddaddy of auto-racing events, the Indianapolis 500.

When the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix in Nazareth, PA was snowed out on April 9, the PR pros at Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) had every reason to panic. After all, the race was rescheduled for the day before the granddaddy of auto-racing events, the Indianapolis 500.

When the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix in Nazareth, PA was snowed out

on April 9, the PR pros at Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) had

every reason to panic. After all, the race was rescheduled for the day

before the granddaddy of auto-racing events, the Indianapolis 500.



What this meant, of course, was that the CART race would have attracted

a minimal media presence. But Ron Richards, CART’s VP of communications,

wasn’t about to give up without a fight.



In order to accommodate writers hoping to attend both events, the

organization chartered a Midwest Express DC-9 from Indianapolis to

Nazareth and back again immediately after the race. Reporters from

Sports Illustrated, The Houston Chronicle, TNN and Reuters took the

group up on its offer.



’Would all of these people have covered us otherwise? Probably not,’

Richards admits.



Richards said the cost of chartering the jet was ’upwards of dollars

20,000,’ though many of the major engine manufacturers helped pick up

the tab.



The investment paid off, as Nazareth fourth-place finisher Juan Montoya

stunned the racing world by triumphing in the Indianapolis 500 one day

later.



Adding to the PR coup was the fact that CART teams hadn’t raced in the

Indy 500 since 1996. ’Were we lucky? Yeah, somewhat,’ Richards

concedes.



’I’m just happy that we have the ability to put things like this

together.’



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