This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," March 24, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, SpeedChannel is racing out of the gates and into what is expected to be the best year yet. From custom cars for high profile athletes to getting down and dirty in the racing pits, SpeedChannel is showing it all.
Joining me now is Jim Liberatore. He is the president of SpeedChannel, which is owned by NewsCorp, the parent company of this network.
Good to have you.
JIM LIBERATORE, PRESIDENT, SPEEDCHANNEL: Thank you very much for having me.
CAVUTO: To show you clueless I am, I never thought any of the NASCAR stuff would be as big as it is. Why is that?
LIBERATORE: Well it's amazing. I think NASCAR in particular has gotten really, really popular because I think really the basis for NASCAR's popularity is that the drivers, if they don't have the sponsorship and they don't have the fans, they don't drive. And that's the only sport like that.
So consequently in NASCAR, I think the drivers are very beholden to the fans. They treat them well. They understand how important they are.
CAVUTO: But it's even delineated among the fans. There are different types of racing events that draw different crowds.
LIBERATORE: Racing in general has completely different fans. The open wheel fan in general is not a NASCAR fan. The NASCAR fan generally doesn't care a whole lot about the open wheel circuit.
And you know, I was clueless, too. You know, when we first started with FOX when we took over, we thought a race fan was a race fan. But that is absolutely not the case.
CAVUTO: Yes, it's black or white.
LIBERATORE: That's right. But we carry it all.
CAVUTO: Where is it all going, though? I mean, you'd think that normally we'd get to these hot sports. They're hot for awhile, just like golf was huge like a couple of years ago, and I don't know whether it has anything to do with Tiger Woods slowing down, but it's not as big.
CAVUTO: What's happened?
LIBERATORE: Well I think in NASCAR, there is a certain element of general entertainment to it, they like their driver, they are a big Michael Waltrip fan or a Sterling Martin fan. I mean, that is where I think it's protected a little bit. As long as they keep having the Tony Stewarts and the Jeff Gordons and the Jimmy Johnsons coming up through the ranks, I think NASCAR is going to remain popular.
The other thing about NASCAR is there are still pockets of it where it's just growing.
CAVUTO: That's right. You know what I think is helping it too, Jim? And you are pretending to be the expert.
CAVUTO: You haven't had big scandals. You know, people are looking at the athletes with the steroids and everything else. And a lot of your drivers and everything, they're wholesome, fun, kidding figures. So far, no scandal with them.
LIBERATORE: Again, because in NASCAR, these guys are starting on dirt tracks driving hundreds of miles with no money in it, as opposed to other sports, where you're kind of, from the time you're in eighth grade now a celebrity.
CAVUTO: They sign these huge endorsement deals now.
LIBERATORE: Now they are. Yes, but you still have a long road to the top, where in baseball and basketball, you kind of can tell who's the guy who's got potential early on. He's starting to tell how great he is from the time he's in eighth grade.
CAVUTO: Right. They all have healthy egos.
LIBERATORE: That's right. But in NASCAR, the guys appreciate the race. They appreciate the fan. And that's what I really think is the difference between NASCAR and other sports.
CAVUTO: They strike me as regular guys. I've met, like, a lot of them.
LIBERATORE: And that's exactly it. They are regular guys, live in North Carolina, love to race.
CAVUTO: Who's the average SpeedChannel viewer?
LIBERATORE: There isn't one, really. I mean, there is no average, because when we took over in 2002, SpeedVision was a hyper niche network. It was rich, white race guy.
And now we've expanded that and that to include the consumer auto enthusiast. We've expanded it for 18 to 34 with some auto enthusiast programming and then we added NASCAR. And those are all different people. There's cross-section but not much. And so there isn't an average guy.
CAVUTO: We wish you will, Jim Liberatore.
LIBERATORE: Thank you.
CAVUTO: Cool name for what you're doing.
LIBERATORE: Yes, that's right.
CAVUTO: Perfectly designed. He is the SpeedChannel president.
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