Jeff Simmons speaks

Posted by Iannucci | 7/21/2007 | 7 comments »
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Earlier today Jeff Simmons released the following statement.

I want to thank everyone involved in the Team Ethanol program for all of their support and friendship. I was honored to be a part of the program and to have the opportunity to carry on Paul Dana's vision.

I truly believe in ethanol's importance to the world's energy needs and environmental future. The demand for ethanol will continue to grow and prosper through the important work of the dedicated people at the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. They are tireless in their efforts and I will miss working with them.

Additionally, I want to thank Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and all of my friends at Rahal Letterman Racing -- not just for "the ride" but for the opportunity to be a part of something so ground-breaking. It was a real honor, and I wish them the very best.

As for me, I look forward to being back in the IndyCar Series soon.

Say what you want about his driving ability, but Simmons definitely showed extraordinary maturity by being gracious about his unceremonious dumping.

He could have pointed out how RLR has turned into a revolving door of drivers, or how he pumped like a zillion gallons of promotional Ethanol, or how he should have been given the respect of being fired before he hauled his RV into Mid Ohio.

Instead Simmons simply did the thing we all would like to do but often don't when we get canned. Just. Be. Classy. Even to the point of talking up the former sponsor. Excuse me while I say "wow" yet again.

For further reading, Pressdog has a solid take on this statement.


  1. Anonymous // July 21, 2007 4:10 AM  

    It will be very interesting to see if RLR's proposed solution, Ryan Hunter-Reay, is better than Jeff. If not, Ethanol might start questioning RLR's ability to attract and hire quality drivers and start questioning where their sponsorship dollars might be more effective. And yes, it was a totally unclassy move to do this at the track. Totally. And I really admire Jeff Simmons as a person for his public response. He certainly rose far, far above Bobby Rahal on this one.

  2. AGRfan // July 21, 2007 7:25 AM  

    Here's a questions that goes along with the last comment. For those of you who know more about the workings of sponsorships than myself... If Jeff Simmons gets a new ride, Do you think that next year Ethanol will move to his new team because he has done such a great job as a spokesman for all thinks Ethanol ?

  3. Dale Nixon & Ms. Kitty Killy // July 21, 2007 7:47 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  4. Dale Nixon & Ms. Kitty Killy // July 21, 2007 8:00 AM  

    Agrfan you could be on to something!

    Could Rahal have been worried that Simmons might move to a WINNING team next year with Ethanol?

    Maybe Ganassi? Jeff's brother is an engineer there,=.

    So maybe this whole thing was about Bobby Rahal desperately trying to keep a stranglehold on Ethanol's sponsorship MILLIONS and not on-track performance!

  5. MoneyCJ // July 21, 2007 9:32 AM  

    That sounds about right, Dale. Recall how he boasted that Argent was not Danica's sponsor but HIS sponsor when it was announced she was moving to AGR. Behold the Argent logo on the AGR cars now...he cant afford for something like that to happen again.

  6. johnnyCynic // July 21, 2007 11:08 AM  

    The timing of Bobby's move obviously shows desperation. And he might very well be in danger of losing the Ethanol sponsorship. But I think a more probable scenario is that Ethanol is going to give up the RLR car sponsorship and become the title sponsor for the series. Think of it from their point of view. One of their primary objectives right now is to lobby Congress for subsidies, regulations, whatever. So they have these meet and greets with big wigs and they show up with...Jeff Simmons? Absolutely nothing against Jeff, but unless you're a true IRL fan, you're not going to know who he is. Now if you are able to show up with Danica, Dan, etc., then people might be interested. You have to remember that this is business, and there is, unfortunately, no room for loyalty in the modern business world.

  7. MoneyCJ // July 21, 2007 12:08 PM  

    Fascinating theory, Johnny. Hadn't thought about that...