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INDYCAR To Open California Office

INDYCAR soon will have a presence in Hollywood.

The sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights, in conjunction with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will open an office in Santa Monica, Calif., in an effort to make further inroads into media and entertainment industries.

“If we want to grow the sport, we need to be fully vested in relationships with the entertainment community that can tell the storylines of our sport,” INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard said. “This will be a one-stop shop to pursue opportunities and make deals across multiple business lines and entertainment outlets.”

Sarah Nettinga will manage the new office and become Senior Vice President of Media and Entertainment for INDYCAR Entertainment. Nettinga brings extensive experience to the initiative from her time building similar relationships with Hollywood in her previous role with NASCAR.

“Sarah has a substantial set of relationships that will get us off to a running start,” Bernard said. “She has a detailed understanding of this landscape that blends sports and entertainment.”

INDYCAR is in a unique position for growth that makes opportunities for integration into film, television, music and emerging media properties exciting. From the announcements of the 2012 new car project that includes engine manufacturers Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus to 14 new sponsors – including Fortune 500 companies Verizon, Sunoco and Philips – being added in 2010, INDYCAR has considerable momentum.

Its storylines of speed, innovation, technology, the most diverse driver roster in motorsports and green are a treasure box of content opportunities that will drive interest from the Hollywood community. Similarly, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has more than 100 years of history as a leader in innovation and auto racing. The 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 will be contested on May 29.

“Having an INDYCAR office in Los Angeles will provide our sport and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a strong presence in an important global community,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and CEO Jeff Belskus said. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a great story to tell in 2011 as we prepare for the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. In addition to the business reasons to have an office in Los Angeles, it is a very fitting location because many of the celebrated stories and personalities associated with the Indianapolis 500 over the last century have deep roots in Southern California.”

Nettinga has a proven track record in bringing a sport to mainstream entertainment with NASCAR, where she developed and produced film and television shows with third-party producers, managing production for NASCAR for three motion pictures NASCAR 3D: The Imax Experience for Warner Bros., Herbie: Fully Loaded for Disney and, as an Executive Producer on Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby for Sony. For television, she was responsible for six series, with the most groundbreaking being NASCAR DRIVER: 360 for FX.

Before getting involved in auto racing, Nettinga was a production executive at Warner Bros. International Television Production. She also has worked for Columbia Tristar Television, CBS, Petry Television, Westinghouse International and Sony International Television in roles that involved development, sales, production, branding and marketing in the entertainment industry.

“I’m honored to join Randy Bernard and Jeff Belskus’ team and contribute to the goals of INDYCAR, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500 on this important initiative,” Nettinga said. “This is an extremely exciting opportunity to work with the well-regarded INDYCAR brand, its drivers and teams and bring the sport to its rightful position in the marketplace.”

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