CART appoints surprise president

Joseph Heitzler has emerged as the surprise choice to lead CART into the 21st Century

CART appoints surprise president

The 56-year old American was the unanimous choice of CART's nine-man Delaware Board. He signed a multi-year contract and will replace interim CEO Bobby Rahal immediately. Rahal accepted a post with the Jaguar F1 team which he started on Friday Dec 1.

"The opportunity to merge a passion for open wheel racing with my business experience fulfills a life-long dream," commented Heitzler, who most recently ran National Mobile Television Productions, which has helped provide remote broadcasting of over 8,500 sporting events. "I will strive to have all our key groups - from investors, team owners and drivers and sponsors, track promoters and management staff - to work as a team with the singular goal of providing an enhanced sports entertainment product to our dedicated fans."

Heitzler's name was one of the last submitted to CART s search committee, but he overcame stern opposition from Long Beach Grand Prix creator Chris Pook and former National Basketball Association marketing executive Rick Welts. Pook, who withdrew himself from contention for the position several weeks ago, reportedly backed Heitzler's candidacy and may assist the racing rookie in the transition to his new job.

Heitzler's career highlights include around 20 years in sports television, including a 5-year stint at major network CBS Sports in the 1970s. Heitzler helped Pook get the inaugural Long Beach Formula 5000 and Formula 1 races television exposure on CBS.

"The board performed a very extensive and thorough search in a professional manner to identify who would become CART s new President and Chief Executive Officer," noted CART Chairman James Hardymon, who led the search. "Mr. Heitzler's resume and presentations were outstanding and led to the unanimous decision from the board."

Aside from CART's slumping performance in the American sports marketplace, Heitzler will also grasp with several key sporting issues, in particular CART s unresolved 2003 engine formula.

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