sportscarpros Off The GridRichard Dole

Time, Money, Life, Death

Take a minute or two to reflect upon the following from the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend:

ONE HOUR & TEN MINUTES:   The amount of

time between Gil de Ferran taking the checkered flag and arriving with teammate Simon Pagenaud in the media center for post race interviews.  Ė no, it wasnít their fault by the way.  By the time they arrived several writers from major news outlets had left the interview area, cranking out stories for quickly approaching deadlines.

24 SECONDS:  The amount of time the Patron

Highcroft Acura spent penalized in pit lane while leading the race.  While the penalty could easily be blamed on the IMSA pit marshal who enforced it, we must remember this gentleman was simply doing his job. Unfortunately for the past 30 months, IMSA tech inspectors have approved the equipment in question, including at the Long Beach race.  This inability to communicate within the IMSA organization cost the Patron Highcroft the victory, a loss of valuable points and the prestige of winning the race for their sponsor, which also was the title sponsor of the race.

EIGHT MINUTES, 30 SECONDS:  The amount

of time it would have taken someone in the upper management at the ALMS to write and distribute a memo that states:  a)  Long Beach is the largest and most important market we will race at in 2009.  b) More members of the national press will attend this race than any other including the Associated Press, Reuters, The Los Angeles Times and USA Today.  By the time the ALMS race ends east coast deadlines will be past, and west coast deadlines will be approaching quickly.  As a result we need to adjust our procedures to get the overall winning drivers to the media center as quickly as possible.  Thus giving the winning car, their sponsors, the winning manufacturer (Acura which is based just up the road) and the ALMS maximum exposure. c) The ALMS is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to broadcast the race on ABC, it is imperative that we have the very best race possible.  Spread the word.  This is our opportunity to showcase our racing on national television.  A good and close race is good for the series. Letís make sure everything is buttoned up.

TWO MINUTES, FIFTEEN SECONDS:  The

amount of time the de Ferran Acura and drivers were being interviewed on national television following the race.  What is the value, in real dollars, to a major sponsor to this sort of national exposure?  I donít know, but I imagine every sponsor and team owner does. What is the value of this type of national television exposure to any other organization having a decal on the winning car?

SIX MINUTES:  The amount of time it takes a

person to attach two Malaria No More decals to the front of the Patron Highcroft Acura.  Strategically placed for maximum exposure.

THIRTY SECONDS:  Every half a minute

another child dies of malaria in Africa.

THREE HOURS, FIFTY MINUTES:  On

Tuesday, April 21st at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the amount of time it took to raise $1 million dollars at the Malaria No More.  The benefit was attended by Tony Blair, Patron Highcroft driver David Brabham, one green and black Acura race car, and hundreds of very generous and enlightened folks of Los Angeles.

TWO SECONDS:  The amount of time it takes

us to realize TV exposure, pit lane penalties, and staging press conferences are important Ė but it isnít life or death.

FORTY-FIVE SECONDS:  The amount of time it

takes YOU to save a life and join the fight against malaria.  Letís all do something about it.  Please make a difference and go to: http://www.milestoendmalaria.org and pledge.


                                                          Rick Dole
                                                          May 2009



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