Later this week, the Indianapolis 500 will be celebrating its 100th running. Drivers are expected to reach speeds of up to 235 miles per hour at Indy Motor Speedway, making Indycar the fastest open wheel racing in the world.
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C.J. O’Donnell, the CMO of the Indy Motor Speedway and Indycar gets to represent the huge milestone race. As expected, he’s feeling the pressure of the much important event, “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,” says O’Donnell.
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To understand his pressure, one needs to understand the past problems in Indycar and the league’s fracture in the mid-1990s that drove fans and potential sponsors away from the sport. Something O’Donnell compared the strike Major League Baseball went through is now in the rear-view mirror for Indycar as they try to get back on track.
“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 towards the future”.

Episode Highlights:
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)