Matt Becherer, the first-year president of Homestead-Miami Speedway, grew up following the greats of Indy car racing.
“Where a lot of other kids were going to ballgames with their dads, I was going to Indy car races,” he says. “I went to Indy a number of times, went to the Detroit Grand Prix a number of times and have been all over the place following the IndyCar Series. It was really my first love.
“When I was 8 or 9, that’s what I dreamed of doing when I grew up. It just so happened that I was able to get involved in the company that promotes IndyCar races.”
Becherer came to South Florida from Richmond International Raceway, another ISC facility, where he was vice president of marketing.
“When I got to Richmond in 2003, that was only the third year of the IndyCars up there so we were still trying to create an identity for the race in that market at that time,” he said. “I remember being so pumped. At that time, our company was kind of regionalized so I had been working the IndyCar race at Richmond for the previous two years when I was at Darlington and Rockingham because those three tracks worked together.
“It was really cool in 2003 for the first time to see more of the behind-the-scenes in terms of the promotional strategy and the things we did in combination with the league.”
This weekend, Becherer again will be part of an IZOD IndyCar Series event with the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 – the championship-deciding race on the 1.5-mile oval. And though the racetrack isn’t on the series’ 2011 schedule, it hasn’t limited his (or the staff’s) efforts in promoting the season finale.
“When you take the technical aspects of the series and how approachable the drivers and some of the really cool things the series does, such as the autograph session, you don’t see in any other major-league sport, I’m proud to be associated with it and proud to have a hand in whatever success we collectively have and hopefully send tens of thousands of people home with fantastic memories,” he said.
“People ask me all the time is Helio really like that? Is he really that engaging? I say ‘Yeah, it’s not an act. What you see is what you get.’ It’s fun and sincere. They want to engage fans and have fun with it.”
You’ll see what he means in this video.