New programs from the likes of Acura, Mazda and BMW all are on display at Sebring.

A: Good question. As the presidential candidates often said during their campaigns - how about a little “straight talk”? We’re still going to provide world-class racing in an unmatched relevant, innovative and high-tech atmosphere, but we are not immune from the realities of the economy. The fact is we are going to have fewer cars on our grids than we had last season. However, I also expect we will see our entry counts consistently grow during the season. If people want to see the most sophisticated, progressively advanced and environmentally innovative race cars in the world race in head-to-head competition with constant passing and action, the American Le Mans Series will continue to be the only place where they can see that. And we are always working closely with our event promoters to bring new enhancements and value to the overall fan experience at the track. Certainly, this is an economic environment that has become more challenging, but I’ve been quite pleased with the innovation and creativity of many of our promoters. And if the advance sales at Sebring are any indication, we are going to have a very respectable season by every measure.Q: When the season winds down at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in October, what needs to have happened this year for the American Le Mans Series to say it has had a successful season?A: Another good question... I think four questions will have to be answered in the affirmative to confirm a successful season. One, did we deliver unprecedented value to all our stakeholders - fans, teams, manufacturers, sponsors, event promoters - all of them? Two, were we able to deliver a quality product of great, competitive racing that led to exciting championship battles in multiple classes? Three, did we obtain new, high-quality partners, ones who reflect our commitment to excellence, the environment and are ready to activate alongside us? And finally, did we move to the next level of automotive relevance and innovation within motorsports, and did we maintain our leadership position in this area? That means embracing even further the development of next-generation technology that not only enhances the performance of a race car, but more importantly translates to automotive innovation that impacts consumers in positive ways.Before we end, I’d like to say this...This sport was originally created by people who believed that the best way to get to a better tomorrow was to face the challenges of today head-on. It is evident that the manufacturers, teams, sponsors and event promoters who are with us during these very challenging times believe this too. Clearly our fans understand and believe this as well.I am heartened by the fact that we all share the belief that the future belongs to those who innovate, regardless of the obstacles. We all know this approach depends on embracing change rather than resisting it - that’s what we’ve always been about.So, despite all the negative economic news of the past six months, I still believe the best is yet to come for the American Le Mans Series and for those companies and corporate partners far-sighted enough to face the challenges that surround us all. Together we will innovate and we will prosper.The American Le Mans Series will open its 11th season with the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 21. SPEED will televise the race live from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-11 p.m. EDT. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com. Sebring also will mark the debut of the MICHELIN® Green X® Challenge for 2009.Tickets are available at americanlemans.com or by calling (800) 626-RACE. A limited number of hotel rooms and rental condos are still available. Accommodations and general information are available by contacting the Sebring Chamber of Commerce at (863) 385-8448.

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