(Photos Courtesy of Indycar)16th And Georgetown: For the first time since 2001 the Indycar Series will be entering the 2010 season with a title sponsor. The addition of IZOD is an obvious financial and marketing boost to the series, but what effect do you see it having on the teams?
Steve Sudler: The biggest impact IZOD will have for the teams is the increased exposure that they are going to give the Series through their retail promotions and activities. More importantly, IZOD is a lifestyle brand, and they will be able to showcase that IndyCar is a lifestyle sport. From our perspective, It opens
the door to consumer and lifestyle brands to use Teams as a way to reach the fans and market their products. Bottom line, I think it will ultimately help the teams with strong sales and marketing capabilities to secure additional sponsorship.
16th And Georgetown: 3G was scheduled to run Leilani Munter in the final two Firestone Indy Lights races of the
season, unfortunately the team was unable to complete the required tests in time. Does Team 3G have any plans to field an FIL car in 2010?
Steve Sudler: Leilani is a very good race car driver, and she is very passionate about environmental and sustainability issues as
well. We had been working on putting together a program for her to run an Indy Lights program with us in 2010, but I think that this year has really shown that we as a team need to stay focused on our long-term plan. We need to make sure we can take a step up in performance and continue to grow our partnership base in the IndyCar Series for 2010. Our plans are to create a solid IndyCar platform, and then add programs as sponsorship and funding becomes available.
16th And Georgetown: There were rumors heading into last season that the team was looking into running an additional car. What are the chances of Team 3G running either a 2nd car at the Indianapolis 500 or possibly a 2-car operation full-time in 2010?
Steve Sudler: Again, we feel the need to keep focused on developing our team and company for the long term, and that means adding a second car to the IndyCar program as budget and performance allows. We are working with a number of different potential partners for 2010 that would allow us to expand into a 2 car team, however we want to have controlled growth of the program and
only do so when it makes financial sense.
16th And Georgetown: It's been said that Team 3G was very impressed with Richard Antinucci last year,
do you see the talented American returning for a sophomore season?
Steve Sudler: Richard did a fantastic job for our team last year. He was able to show that a small, efficient team such as ours can be competitive in the hands of a young driver that is hungry to prove his abilities in a race car. There were a couple of races where he had lap times within the top 10 fastest laps of a race, which shows that he can be a competitive IndyCar driver. We are building our programs around Richard, and we look forward to having him as the Team 3G driver in 2010.
16th And Georgetown: Team 3G's freshman season in the IZOD Indycar Series was up and down. What are your goals and expectations for 2010?
Steve Sudler: Yes, our inaugural season was up and down for sure. Some of our ups were a 12th place finish at St. Petersburg to start the season, as well as the competitive showing of Richard Antinucci on the road courses. We had our share of not so good showings, especially at Indy, Milwaukee, and Richmond. But overall, I think we accomplished our goal, and that was to show up at every race and establish a foundation for long-term growth. We had the smallest budget of any team this year, which we knew we had to do in order to build for the future. Our goals for 2010 are to compete for top 10 finishes, and to increase our budget through additional partnerships.
16th And Georgetown: The month of May 2009 was one that I'm sure you'd like to forget. Do you feel like Team 3G has some unfinished business at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
Steve Sudler: For sure our May was not what we expected. We went to Indy with high hopes of being competitive, but we take the events of
Indy as motivation to come back in 2010 with a renewed determination to be successful. More than anything, it was a moral defeat that took a couple of races for us to get back in the saddle and get the motivation to continue to do our best. It is never easy being the "underdog" in the sport, but from Watkins Glen onwards, the team was pumped up and ready to give it their all. I can't say enough about the guys on our team, they worked twice as hard as most other teams since there were fewer of them to do the work, plus we only had 1 chassis to use the whole season. It made for a lot of hard work, but our guys stayed dedicated and focused on getting the job done.