Wow, what a day!
Yesterday I spoke with helpful representatives at Austin City Hall and discovered that the official United States Formula 1 press conference was being held this morning and organized by the Mayor's office. I planned on stopping by City Hall this morning with hopes of running into anyone that would chat with me about the major announcement. But things took a slightly different turn after speaking with Matt from the Mayor's office, who told me the meeting was being held at the AT&T Executive Conference Center on UT campus. We still had a solid ten minute chat and I got to hear more about their involvement with the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. It was awesome getting Matt's perspective and I'm grateful he took some time out to chat with me - thanks Matt!
I quickly made it back to the campus area and walked in and found the conference after it just completed and got a chance to rub shoulders with some of the key players in the event. I spoke with some media and news people as well as the PR director for Full Throttle Productions, LP and even Tavo's Mother and Sister-in-law, wow, what a small world!
After talking and spreading the word about The Austin Grand Prix website and our fan base, I got a chance to get a photo with Susan Combs as she was leaving and gave her a COME AND RACE IT t-shirt. (She absolutely loved it btw!) We also got to chat for a few minutes about her recent trip overseas to attend Silverstone GP; she was still giddy with excitement from the race and I could tell she genuinely enjoyed the entire experience - she couldn't stop praising it!
It did help a little bit to have the COME AND RACE IT shirt on, everyone wanted to know what it was all about and where to get one. I gave two shirts (for Red and Tavo) to their PR director who promised to personally hand it to them, I was quite excited about that, thanks Ali!
I waited around until after they finished lunch and finally got a chance to chat with Tavo. He spent some of his very limited and important time chatting about the track and the organization of the event. He is a really, really cool guy and has a great vision for the event. I feel very comfortable about how things are going to turn out now that I got a chance to chat with him. Furthemore, he wants to get connected with us to get more fans involved and work together in some way, so I am hopeful that this will continue to develop and give us a chance to meet and discuss things, hopefully soon.
While being surrounded by the key players in this event, I got the impression that everyone has the right perspective and a level head about the event and it's importance to Austin. I didn't feel unwelcome or out of place, it was quite the opposite in fact. I was afraid that I would be shrugged off since I wasn't a prominent media icon, but I felt right at home with this group and enjoyed talking with everyone there. I was expecting to have a hard time getting people to talk to me and felt that there would be some Big City or Deep Pockets arrogance, but this is Texas! Everyone I talked to, Tavo, Susan and many others, all were happy to take time to talk with me and answer my questions.
From my point of view, this is exactly the right team of people to make the US Grand Prix what we have been dreaming about. I am very confident this is going to change Austin in the right way and continue to be a good thing for the city as well as the rest of the country.
Thanks to everyone I talked to for your time, I had an amazing day today!
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