INDY NXT Presented by Firestone Champion Christian Rasmussen and Hy-Vee’s Anna Stoermer
PIT PASS INDY PRESENTED BY PENSKE TRUCK RENTAL– SEASON 3, EPISODE 40 – INDY NXT Presented by Firestone Champion Christian Rasmussen and Hy-Vee’s Anna Stoermer
October 3, 2023
Show host Bruce Martin has a special Borg-Warner Trophy edition of Pit Pass Indy Presented by Penske Truck Rental.
Martin has an exclusive, in-depth interview with 2023 INDY NXT Presented by Firestone Champion Christian Rasmussen of HMD Motorsports. Martin also has a special Hy-Vee segment to talk about the 2024 Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway with Hy-Vee Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President Anna Stoermer.
For more INDYCAR coverage, follow Bruce Martin at Twitter at @BruceMartin_500
"Penske" means performance ... and winning
For good reason. Since 1966, Team Penske has won 43 national championships, 17 IndyCar alone. Its 19 Indy 500 victories are a record. And last year, Penske was the first team in history to win both the IndyCar and NASCAR Cup Series championships in the same season. Those are results that are tough to top.
Speakers: Bruce Martin, Christian Rasmussen, & Anna Stoermer
This is Roger Penske, and you're listening to Pit Pass Indy sponsored by Penske Truck Rental.
IndyCar fans, it's time to start your engines. Welcome to Pit Pass Indy, a production of Evergreen Podcasts. I'm your host, Bruce Martin, a journalist who regularly covers the NTT IndyCar Series.
Our goal at Pit Pass Indy is to give racing fans an insider's view of the exciting world of the NTT IndyCar Series in a fast-paced podcast featuring interviews with the biggest names in the sport.
I bring nearly 40 years of experience covering IndyCar and NASCAR, working for such media brands as nbcsports.com, si.com, ESPN Sports Ticker, Sports Illustrated, Autoweek, and Speed Sport.
So, let's drop the green flag on this episode of Pit Pass Indy.
Welcome to this week's edition of Pit Pass Indy presented by Penske Truck Rental.
Today's podcast celebrates the 2023 INDY NXT champion. It's 23-year-old Christian Rasmussen of Copenhagen, Denmark, who won five races and claimed five poles in 2023 to win the INDY NXT Championship, the final rung of the ladder in IndyCar's Ladder system.
Rasmussen won the 2023 championship driving for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing. He battled with Hunter McElrea of Andretti Global and won the championship by 65 points.
Later in the show, our friends from Hy-Vee return for a special Hy-Vee segment to Pit Pass Indy featuring chief marketing officer and executive vice president, Anna Stoermer, as tickets went on sale to the general public on Monday, October 2nd for the 2024 Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway.
But first up is the 2023 INDY NXT champion, Christian Rasmussen, who joins me for this exclusive interview for Pit Pass Indy.
Joining us now, on Pit Pass Indy is the 2023 INDY NXT Series Champion. It's 23-year-old Christian Rasmussen of HMD Motorsports.
Christian, you won five races in 2023, and you saved the best for last when you won by over 10 seconds, the final race of the season at the Firestone Grand Prix Monterey. Great season, how do you begin to describe it?
Yeah, it's really hard to describe. We started off strong with a win already at Barber and have just been consistent all year.
This year has been very much about staying consistent, getting those top five finishes when you can and the wins when you can, and the top threes when you can.
So, it’s been all about being consistent all year. We've had the pace to be upfront almost every single weekend, but not every weekend works out that way. So, we've been able to take what we can get and that's really what have landed us here.
How important is it to be on a team like HMD because Henry Malukas and his wife are really committed to not only IndyCar, but INDY NXT. They've invested a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of effort. So, how valuable was that for you?
It's been amazing to have such committed team owners. I don't always see a lot of that side of it, but I know from talking to a lot of the mechanics that whatever they need, they get. And having that is super important as a race team.
So, there was a lot of talks about HMD Motorsports going into the season with nine cars in INDY NXT, how that was going to work out. People saying that was going to be way too much and they weren't going to be able to work out and stuff.
But we went in knowing that we had a super good program together and we had great people around everyone, great engineers, great crew. Everything to put it all together, to put together nine very good programs.
So, we showed everyone that can happen, and I think we came out of it obviously great with the championship, but also, showing that a program like that can work.
Well, I am going to ask, how does that work out with nine drivers? Because in a lot of ways, it's how do you not … you're certainly not going to get lost in the shuffle, but somewhere if you're one of the nine drivers, how do they not feel like they're lost in the shuffle?
Well, the way it works is that everybody has their own engineer that they work with. So, there's nine individual engineers for nine cars, nine individual crews for each car. So, everybody has enough people. So, this would only become a problem if you didn't have people enough.
And I think HMD Motorsports, they felt it was very important to get that right crew to do it. And I know that they didn't want to do it if they didn't know that they could do it right.
So, therefore they found the right people, found enough people to get the job done and they did.
As far though as your season, like you said, you started off the season with a victory at Barber. You end the season with a victory at Monterey. In between, what were the highlights of the year for you?
I'll have to say the two oval wins and just in general, how dominant we have been on the ovals this year.
I think St. Louis stands out to me very much because I lost the lead therefore the middle of the race when Hunter got by me when we had to pass some lap traffic. And then I again used the next lap traffic to get back around him.
I think that was a very important time in the championship. Hunter was my main rival in the championship at the point, and being able to get past and then not panic and pass him back for the win of the race is I think was a very important development in the championship for me and a great confidence booster that we can do this.
When we were at Iowa in July, I asked you and the other Indy Lights drivers how much they wish they could do oval races more often.
Pretty good chance that IndyCar may be back to the Milwaukee Mile next year. So, I would think that would be an ideal venue for another Indy Lights race on an oval.
How important are oval races? If you're going to develop a driver to run in the Indianapolis 500, I would like to think that he would have to run some ovals.
I think it's super important, and I think that's also why INDY NXT is the best developmental series going into IndyCar. You don't get that oval experience anywhere else.
So, the whole oval racing is a part of the sport that I have really grown to love. Obviously, coming from Europe, you could know that you go left and you go fast and you go close to the walls, but other than that, you don't really know what is all about.
So, having to learn all of that new discipline and have mastered, I feel like I have, at least on the level that I'm at, has been a great accomplishment, and I think it's super important for the development going into IndyCar.
So, you're from Denmark, Christian Lundgaard is also from Denmark. Did your paths cross in lower forms of racing developmental series as you were teenagers?
Yeah, so, we grew up carting together very early on. We carted together back in like cadets, so when we were very, very young. And then again, he did a one-off race in F4, but that was really about it.
But where our path crossed the most was being part of Team Denmark, which is a government run program where they pick out some of the big talents early on and help them through training camps and with financial support and stuff like that.
So, we were both early on, picked up into that program and therefore have been on many training camps and stuff like that together.
So, that's where our friendship really developed was through all of that. And then obviously our path kind of split for a minute whenever he went to Europe and I went to the United States to race.
And now, they have come back together and crossed. And it's been really cool to see each other grow as race car drivers from a distance, but now, also very close to each other.
At 23, you're still very young, but how old were you when you moved to the United States?
It was in 2018, so I was 17 beginning of the year, turning 18 that year.
So, for somebody who's grown up in Denmark and is from Europe, what was it like … it's one thing to move to the United States, but to move to Middle America, Indianapolis. It's not New York, it's not LA, it's not Chicago, but it's where you need to be if you want to be a racer.
But what was the culture difference like for you?
It was definitely a change. And not only did I move to United States, and I have ended up in Carmel, Indiana, but I lived in the deep south with the Bogle family that I've been raising this year as well.
I started as teammates with him in ‘18 and ‘19 and through COVID their family took me in and I lived down in New Orleans area.
So, it was definitely quite the culture shock a little bit, but it's been amazing. Getting thrown out on the deep end has been a great experience for me. And I've met some great people that will be with me for the rest of my life, and I'll have experience that I will also remember for the rest of my life.
The culture shock of New Orleans would be, because it's unlike anywhere else, I mean, it's a unique town, can't even begin to describe it, but did you pick up a taste for Cajun and Creole cuisine?
See, Kenny Bogle, Christian's dad, is an amazing cook, so loves to cook some Cajun food, and we love to eat some Cajun food. So, I've always been a fan of spicy food and stuff like that. So, I fit right in down there. And we had yeah, some great dinners down there.
Do people in Denmark even know of Cajun food?
It's something that I have learned about since I came to the United States, so I'm not sure. No, I don't think so.
If you brought them back a bushel of crawfish, would they probably turn green?
No. So, in Denmark, obviously we are around water a lot. So, we are big seafood eaters, so I think the crawfish would fly. But yeah, there's definitely some of all the other stuff that is special.
So, when's the first time you walked into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and what was your feeling like?
That would've been in 2018 when my team boss at the time, Jay Howard, was running the 500. It was wild, is the best way to describe it. You walk into this place and obviously coming from Europe, it was never really IndyCar that was the big thing. It was really F1.
So, I wasn't one of them that grew up watching IndyCar very much, but it's a sport that I have learned to love just being around it.
And then obviously the Indy 500 and IMS being the pinnacle of that was a crazy experience to get. I watched from the stands which was a super cool experience. You get to see how big everything is and yeah, it was an amazing opportunity.
So, how much do you follow Formula One?
So, for me, it's really been, I used to follow F1 every single race, and it's been kind of going a little bit downhill for me, and I didn't use to follow IndyCar, and obviously now, I'm around it all the time and follow IndyCar.
I think in many ways, I think IndyCar is so, so exciting when you compare it to F1. I love that it's not every weekend is the same guy that wins. I love that IndyCar is different in terms of that. I think the playing field is way more equal and I think that's great for the sporting aspect of it.
But in F1, it's an international TV show. In a lot of ways, they've turned it into an international reality TV show. But who's your favorite driver and what storylines do you like to follow on F1?
So, I'll have to say Kevin Magnussen, my countryman. I know Kevin from back in the day as well. And I grew up carting with his brother as well.
So, I know the family a little bit. I used to race when I did Danish F4, I raced for Magnussen racing experience, and that was a team that Kevin's dad started for that year.
So, obviously I like to follow him. I love Danny Rick. I think that everything he brings to the sport is super cool. But other than that, I don't follow it that much.
So, Denmark and Sweden may be part of Scandinavia, but they're separate countries. Is there a rivalry among Danes and Swedes, or do you guys coexist together or root for each other? How does that work?
No, I think we co-exist just fine. I think if we talk soccer, then yes, there's definitely some rivalry there. But in racing, I think we coexist very well. And I think we root for each other.
I love to see when Linus signed his deal for next year with Ganassi and the same thing with all the other Swedish and Danish drivers in the series.
So, I think there's some good friendship there. And I think there's a little bit of bonding about being a Scandinavian in the United States and I think that's really all there is to it.
Do you ski like there's no tomorrow?
So, in Denmark, we actually don't get a lot of snow at all. If we have a week of snow a year, then that's about it.
And the other part is that Denmark is a very flat country. So, there's not really anywhere to ski. So, no, I didn't ski a lot growing up.
So, it's more like the Netherlands than it is to Norway?
Yeah. Sweden is big for skiing. Norway is as well. If you go further south, Switzerland and stuff like that, you can ski. But Denmark is yeah, we missed out.
How about hockey?
Hockey, not very much either, actually. Soccer is really the big sport in Denmark. We have soccer and we have what's called handball which is basically soccer played with your hands on a smaller court.
But it's not anything like American football, which-
… you do use your hands in American football.
Back to INDY NXT. So, you're going to have a scholarship that you can take to an IndyCar team to run next year and an attempt to run at the Indianapolis 500.
What have you done with that so far? Have you talked to other teams and from this point forward, what do you do to use that scholarship money?
Yeah, we've initiated some talks with a few different teams, and I have had some great feedback from my races so far this year. So, hopefully, we can turn those talks into to something more.
There isn't anything on the table just yet. But we are working everything and doing everything we can to materialize that scholarship into a full-time ride in IndyCar next year. And yeah, we'll see where it takes us.
We haven't really been able to initiate the talks before now too much because we didn't know what we're going to end up with.
So, now, having the scholarship is really now, where we can initiate the hard negotiations and see what we can figure out for next year.
So, how much do you end up with?
I think it's valued at 850,000, the scholarship.
Well, that's pretty good chunk of money. Not enough to run a full season, obviously, but it's a head start.
But the prospects of making the next step, obviously INDY NXT is a rung of the Ladder series to get into IndyCar. How big a jump is it from INDY NXT up to IndyCar?
I think INDY NXT is a super good platform to learn for IndyCar because the cars are so hard to drive. I got the experience of driving in IndyCar last year, and I was actually amazed of how easy they were to drive compared to the INDY NXT cars.
So, obviously, it's going to be no easy task to step up. Obviously, the competitiveness of Indy cars these days is super high. And the depth of the field is amazing, really.
So, it's going to be no easy test to step up, but I feel like I'm ready for it. With two years of INDY NXT under my belt, multiple championships in the last four years, I feel like I'm ready to make that step into IndyCar.
Maybe this is a view of somebody who's not as deep in the INDY NXT as they are IndyCar, I'm speaking of myself, but it seems like there's a lot of camaraderie among the drivers in INDY NXT, that even though you go out and you fiercely compete against each other, when you're out of the car, it looks like you're all hanging out with each other. How do you describe that aspect?
Yeah, no, I think for me personally, I always try to get along with everyone. Obviously, there'll always be people where you just don't get along and you'll have those.
But for me, I've always tried to be kind and try to get along with all the people that I can. And I think if we have to raise each other, and especially as teammates, we'll have to coexist.
So, I think it makes the journey much more enjoyable if you get along with people. And that's really why I try to do that.
But here we have a collection of young drivers who are all fighting for one or two possible IndyCar rides. So, that has to be a lot of, I don't want to say pressure, but there's got to be a lot of demands in terms of not all 16 drivers are going to end up in IndyCar.
Yeah. It's a special dynamic for sure. And we also, know that once we go on track, then it's a different story. All the friendship is gone.
And there's also, obviously you can call it a friend, but you are competitors, and you are always going to value your own career over your rival's career.
So, it's a little bit of yeah, like I say, I think coexist is a good word for it, get along and whatever. But friends is also, I think, a big, big word.
Also, in Carmel, there's a lot of IndyCar drivers and INDY NXT drivers that all live in the same community. If you could describe how that works.
No, it works out great. We are a bunch of drivers in the same apartment complex, me included in that. I live almost right next door to Christian Lundgaard. Obviously, him being Danish and like we talked about, we grew up carting together and all of that stuff.
So, it's good to have yeah, what I can call a friend in terms of that close to you, especially coming all the way from Europe and coming over to a new country. I think it's good to have people that you get along with. So, it works out great.
I feel like later years everyone has just started to kind of find out where they want to be and that just happens to be in Carmel.
And then who are some of the other drivers that are also part of that apartment community?
So, I mean, the same complex as Linus, Kirkwood, Armstrong, Ericsson just moved out, but he was there as well. Toby Sowery, Hunter McElrea, James Roe. So, yeah, we're a good little group.
So, who has the coolest toys?
The coolest toys, so, I will have to say, I think the little car that Marcus won a little while ago at a race called Indy 500. I think that's a pretty cool toy.
Does he ever take it out for a spin?
Yeah. So, every once in a while we go play pickleball together, a bunch of us drivers. And yeah, a few times, he'll take that and yeah, it's pretty cool.
Well, it is eye catching when you see a winner of the Indianapolis 500 driving on the highway in an Indianapolis 500 pace car, so.
Oh, it's special for sure.
Yeah, that is definitely something. Maybe one day you'll get to have that same experience. But Christian Rasmussen, congratulations on the 2023 INDY NXT Championship. Good luck in your endeavor to find an IndyCar Series ride for 2024. And thank you for joining us today on Pit Pass Indy.
Thank you very much for having me.
We will be right back to Pit Pass Indy after this short break.
Hey everybody, this is Josef Newgarden, winner of the 107th Indianapolis 500, and you're listening to Pit Pass Indy presented by Penske Truck Rental.
Welcome back to Pit Pass Indy.
Our friends at Hy-Vee always have big things planned for the annual Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway. In 2024, the race moves up a week with the doubleheader scheduled for July 13th to the 14th.
The first race of the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend on July 13th will be under the lights, a Saturday night race on primetime television on NBC. It will be a quick turnaround for race number two on Sunday afternoon, July 14th.
Of course, Hy-Vee promises to have four of the biggest names in entertainment performing a pre-race and post-race concert on both days at a doubleheader, making it the biggest IndyCar race weekend during the summer months.
Ticket renewals for 2024 began last week, and general sales began on Monday, October the 2nd.
Anna Stoermer is Hy-Vee's chief marketing officer and executive vice president and joins me on this special Pit Pass Indy presented by Hy-Vee segment to talk about the exciting plans for the 2024 Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway.
It's always a good time of the season to catch up with our friends over at Hy-Vee. And today, we have Anna Stoermer, the chief marketing officer and executive vice president at Hy-Vee join us.
Earlier this week, Hy-Vee announced the IndyCar schedule for next year's highly anticipated Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway.
It'll be a weekend earlier this year, but there's going to be a night race. And I know a lot of people in Iowa have been asking for a night race to return to the IndyCar action at Iowa Speedway.
So, if you could just explain to us the decision to go with a night race as part of the doubleheader in 2024.
Yeah, so, I think every year we try to outdo ourselves from one year to the next.
And so, one of the things that we thought we could do this year that would really add a new level of fan excitement and engagement was to move that to a race that occurs under the lights.
And so, if you've ever been at the Iowa Speedway under the lights, it's a pretty special feeling and it just is a really cool thing to be able to say, “We're going to have a race out there this year under the lights.”
To be able to do that it's going to be a little bit logistically different. There's a lot of people, Hy-Vee volunteers and people that help run the race and help orchestrate things.
And logistically, how big of a challenge will it be to go from a Saturday night race as race one of the doubleheader to the next day, which will be a Sunday afternoon race?
I think it'll be a little bit interesting to see how it goes. But overall, the hours of the gate are open, they're just going to be a little bit longer on Saturday and they'll stay the same on Sunday.
And so, really, that quick turn won't be something that should be an issue for our teams, but we're excited to really make sure the action is all tied together.
So, when you think about people out there camping and you think about the people who are out there staying in the Newton area, it really helps to condense the schedule and just make it Saturday late into the night, get up on Sunday and come out and have a couple more concerts and another big race.
Well, the concerts are a big part of the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend at Iowa Speedway. I know you're not ready to make the announcement yet, who those will be.
That's usually a very highly anticipated time because a lot of people that may not be IndyCar fans want to find out who the concerts are at Iowa Speedway.
How far down the road are we from having that part of this weekend schedule finalized?
Yeah. So, we're probably a couple weeks away from having that done. We're really close on several people that are going to join us that weekend and provide some really great concerts for us. And so, it's an exciting thing to be able to announce.
We like to have everybody locked in before we announce any of them. And so, while we may have a couple that are already on their way to Iowa next July, we'll hold that announcement until we're fully ready with all of the artists.
The last week of September, Hy-Vee and Iowa Speedway issued the announcement that of the race date, the changes IndyCar announced its schedule, Iowa Speedway and Hy-Vee also, announced that tickets are going on sale now.
If you could bring us up to speed on ticket sales and when general public can buy and what your ticket status will be for the upcoming race in 2024.
Yeah, so, we went on sale with ticket renewals. So, anybody who has attended a race in 2022 or 2023, they're eligible now, to go on and to register to buy tickets for 2024. And so, that just went live yesterday in the mid-morning. And so, that's exciting.
And then starting on Monday, it'll be open and on sale to the rest of the public.
And so, we're starting earlier than this year than we have in the past with getting these tickets out and getting them on sale. Just to really make sure that anyone who came the first two years has first right at their seats that they had last year. And we're just excited to get this going.
And so, we'll be looking at ticket sales here closely. I think it's always interesting to see how many tickets we sell when the entertainment is not announced. It seems to grow from year over year.
People just know and they trust, hey, it's going to be great, great music, great entertainment, great festival. And so, they've started to purchase tickets earlier and earlier from year to year.
Well, there'll be a difference in the price structure?
Yeah, so we do. So, we still have really great entertainment, really great racing, but we lowered the entry level price. And so, we had a little bit of feedback last year and we wanted to make sure that everybody who wanted to attend the race, will be able to do so.
And so, I think the lowest ticket price that we have on sale is on Sunday. And so, that's for a $55 ticket and then the lowest ticket price for the Saturday race will be $65.
And so, the entry point to get a ticket is a lot lower than it was last year. And we still have really great experiences that are available for a little bit more.
So, whether that's why if somebody wants to buy a concert pit pass, we have those for sale. And if somebody wants to upgrade, then have food and drink included in their ticket, we have those for sale as well.
So, really trying to appease to several different groups of people to make sure that anybody who wants to come is able to do so.
In terms of the response of being able to do that, there are some people that come from all over the country that may go there to see a big name acts such as an Ed Sheeran who performed this past July.
Bud Denker told me a story about how he met a couple from Houston, Texas who came up for the entertainment portion, stayed for the race, they loved the race, and they actually were able to buy like a VIP package.
How many of those VIP packages are available and what are some of the things that they would get to be able to see those?
So, one of the VIP packages that we have available is called the Chairman's Club. And so, it's a really great ticket. It includes all your food, all your drinks for the weekend, also includes access down for the concerts or into pit lane.
And so, we have about 1,100 of those available this year to have that chairman's experience. And so, I think that's a really great opportunity.
So, if somebody comes for the concert but they want to take part in all of those festivities going on that weekend and get close to all of the actions, then it's a really great option for them.
And what type of store engagement will you start rolling out to promote next year's race?
Yeah, so, whenever we start to announce the concerts, we will make sure that we have lots of materials in store that are promoting the event and promoting the acts that are coming.
And so, we like to do a lot of signage that has a QR code. The QR code takes them right to be able to purchase a ticket or a concert pit pass for that weekend. And so, that's exciting. So, once we announce that concert, we'll really start to bring this to life on our stores.
And then of course when the IndyCar season starts March 10th of next year, we'll be in full fledge IndyCar racing all throughout every store that we have.
And so, it's always an exciting time when that season kicks off and really, we can bring racing to life in our trade area.
When you get ready to announce race dates, entertainment, do you start seeing an uptick in interest from people to say — whether it be customers, whether it be suppliers or vendors that want to know, “Hey, we really liked what you did out at Iowa Speedway, what's next?”
Yeah, absolutely. So, actually I think those kind of questions started the Monday after our race this year. I think I had three or four dozen emails that said, “Hey, have you looked at this artist?” “Hey, have you thought about this person for next year?”
And so, I think we get a lot of excitement and I think people like to feel like they're a part of the planning and a part of the event itself.
And so, from our suppliers all the way down to our customers and especially our employees, they're highly engaged in what we're doing from year to year out of the Iowa Speedway.
And so, entertainment being a really big piece of that. But then the exciting thing this year was we've had lots of people ask us, “Hey, have you ever thought about doing a night race out there?”
And so, to be able to say, “Hey, we got that deal done in year three of our partnership with IndyCar,” is pretty exciting. And so, all of our suppliers, and our race fans, and our employees are also very excited about that opportunity.
The reason why you've moved the race dates, you've actually swapped race days with Toronto. Your race is going to be Saturday, July 13th, which will be the night race, and then Sunday, July 14th, race two will be the day race.
What was the reason for flip-flopping those two weekends?
Yeah. So, we have a big event here in the state of Iowa and it's called RAGBRAI. And so, a lot of people love to do RAGBRAI.
And so, we really wanted to make sure that as we're doing this event, the primary reason we do it is to really support the state of Iowa. We wanted to make sure that because we have lots of really great things happening in Iowa all the time that we didn't overlap if we didn't have to.
And so, we had after the first couple of years thought about are we on the right weekend or is there a different weekend that we should consider? The opportunity came up for the weekend of July 13th and 14th and we thought, “Hey, maybe it'll be a good time to try it.”
And so, we're going to try this weekend a little bit earlier in the summer and see how it goes. But we're hoping that it really just allows more people, especially from the state of Iowa or people that typically would travel in for RAGBRAI to be able to come out and to enjoy our festival like event.
Both races will be on NBC, the network. And how valuable is that to have a night race on a Saturday night on NBC, which is a network that everybody can get, whether it's cable or over the air to be on the main network for a Saturday night race?
How valuable is that not only for the race, but also for Hy-Vee's exposure?
Yeah, it's always great for us. We love to have the national exposure that we get with an NBC partnership. But what's really key about this year is that that Saturday night TV window we have is prime programming.
And so, a lot of people are tuned in on Saturday nights to the network of NBC. And so, we're very excited to have this primetime race that's going to occur next summer.
And so, it should be really exciting to see the ratings and to see how people tune in and they really get a feel for what we're doing with IndyCar at the Iowa Speedway.
And wrapping up here with Anna Stoermer, the chief marketing officer and executive vice president for Hy-Vee, how much has this entire project grown?
Hy-Vee is very active supporting a lot of the colleges, the universities, other sports programs, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Minnesota Vikings. IndyCar is a very long promotion that you do throughout the season.
But just how valuable have you seen the IndyCar project grow within Hy-Vee and its partner stores? Because there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm behind the program.
Yeah, I think it picks up engagement, especially from our employees and from our customers year over year.
And so, I think part of it feels really great for our employees base to be a part of something that's a really big event in Iowa, but also in the Midwest. And so, they really love the opportunity to be a part of that.
And then I think the second part is we are exposing a lot of new people to the sport. We bring them in for the entertainment, they stay for the race, and they really start to get engaged with IndyCar as a sport.
And so, it's been really exciting to be a part of IndyCar being on the rise and it's really been great for our employees, and it's been great for our customers as well.
And also, IndyCar announced a return to the Milwaukee Mile, which will be Labor Day weekend in 2024.
There's Hy-Vee stores in Wisconsin. Is that something that you could foresee Hy-Vee possibly playing a role in?
Yeah, it's not something that we would rule out. We haven't signed up for anything quite yet, but we like to make sure that we're a part of the promotion in areas that we plan to go with our business someday.
And so, when you look at Nashville, we have a sponsorship at that IndyCar race. We have a sponsorship of activation at the Indianapolis 500 with our intentions to move to Indianapolis. And so, I wouldn't write out the possibility of us hopping in on that Milwaukee race.
Anna Stoermer, chief marketing officer and executive vice president Hy-Vee, congratulations on another exciting Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend in 2023. We look for bigger things coming up in 2024. And thank you for joining us today, on Pit Pass Indy.
Thank you, Bruce.
We'll be right back to Pit Pass Indy after this short break.
Hi, I'm Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Team Penske Chevy, and you're listening to Pit Pass Indy presented by Penske Truck Rental.
And that puts a checkered flag on this edition of Pit Pass Indy presented by Penske Truck Rental and our friends at Hy-Vee where there's a helpful smile in every aisle.
We want to thank our guests, 2023 INDY NXT champion, Christian Rasmussen, and Hy-Vee chief marketing officer and executive vice president, Anna Stoermer, for joining us on today's podcast.
Along with loyal listeners like you, our guests help make Pit Pass Indy presented by Penske Truck Rental, your path to victory lane for all things IndyCar.
And because of our guest and listeners, Pit Pass Indy is proud to be the winner of The Best Podcast by the National Motorsports Press Association.
For more IndyCar coverage, follow me at Twitter @BruceMartin (one-word, uppercase B, uppercase M) _500.
This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thanks to our production team. Executive producers are Brigid Coyne and Gerardo Orlando. Recordings and edits were done by me, Bruce Martin and final mixing was done by Dave Douglas. Learn more at evergreenpodcasts.com.
Until next time, be sure to keep it out of the wall.