George Pyne, COO of NASCAR

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, June 19, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: NASCAR hopes that it’s going to be rolling in the dough by trading its Winstons in for wireless. It’s not just your southern-bumpkin, confederate flag-waving, spectator sport anymore, if it ever was, and the folks that run NASCAR know it. A new sponsorship with Nextel Communications means a whole new way to promote racing.

Joining me now to talk about the details, NASCAR’s Chief Operating Officer George Pyne.

Mr. Pyne, thanks for coming.

GEORGE PYNE, COO, NASCAR: It’s great to be here. Thank you for having me.

CAVUTO: This is some big stuff, isn’t it?

PYNE: Yes, it’s a big deal. It’s probably the single biggest sports sponsorship in U.S. history. So it’s a big deal for NASCAR, a big deal for Nextel, and great for the fans because we’re embracing technology and we’re going to give fans with wireless communication an opportunity to interact with the sport that they didn’t have before.

CAVUTO: How would they interact with the sport?

PYNE: Well, you know, if you were painting your house or working on your lawn or throwing a Frisbee around and you want to check in on qualifying or practice or get the latest information, you know, this is another extension of allowing those people to get up-to-date information.

CAVUTO: What, are you sending it to them? You’re wirelessly sending it to them.

PYNE: Well you know, it’s part of your phone. You’ll be able to get the update of what goes on at the racetrack, so we see technology as an opportunity to grow the franchise.

CAVUTO: So the Winston folks -- they’re history?

PYNE: Well, they are, and we’re sad in a way because we wouldn’t be here without them, but they’ve got some...

CAVUTO: Yes, but you dropped them like a hot potato.

PYNE: Well, actually, they came to us and asked to step aside because of the changing dynamics of the tobacco industry, and, in less than 120 days, during the middle of a war, in the most challenging economy in the decade, we had four or five people very interested, narrowed it down to Nextel.

CAVUTO: But why is that? I mean I know people were banging your door down to be part of this, and I guess -- I’ve got to admit to you I’m not obsessed with this sport -- but I know many, many people are. I don’t quite get it. What happened? What became so good?

PYNE: Well, people love racing, and we’ve got 75-million Americans. The whole deal from a corporate standpoint is we impact buying behavior, and there’s an emotional connection to NASCAR that compels people to do things, and that’s why we have more Fortune 500 companies in NASCAR than any other sport.

CAVUTO: OK. We’ll see what happens this weekend.

PYNE: Well, they’ve got a race in Stewarts Point, in the wine country. I’ll send you a bottle of wine.

CAVUTO: OK. There we go. That’s the big event to look forward to.

George Pyne, NASCAR CEO. Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

PYNE: Good to be here.

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