SBD/April 13, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

IndyCar Driver Advisory Group Serving As Liaison To League For Improvements

Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Justin Wilson lead the driver advisory group
Izod IndyCar Series President of Competition & Racing Operations Brian Barnhart before last week’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama met with driver advisory group leaders Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Justin Wilson to “hash out changes that were well received and produced a cleaner race” than the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. The driver advisory group has “no formal title or structure." Wilson said the goal is “just trying to make life easier.” Franchitti, who “walks the race course before every event, is the group’s safety expert.” Wilson is the “consensus builder who cobbles together opinions through myriad e-mails.” Kanaan, a “gregarious Brazilian, leads the group’s meetings in person.” The trio “isn’t paid” for their roles. Barnhart said of the group that formed last year, “It’s one of the best things we’ve done as a sanctioning body. We have better dialogue than ever with our most important group.” Barnhart is “planning to meet with the triumvirate again before” Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (USA TODAY, 4/13).

RISKY BUSINESS: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin noted the $5M bonus IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has offered “will be on the line Oct. 16 for five non-IndyCar drivers” at the season-ending race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But it “remains unclear how one of those drivers, should he win the race," will be paid. Bernard on Sunday said that he “hasn’t decided whether to buy insurance to cover the potential payout -- the cost could reach seven figures -- or have the sanctioning body assume the risk.” If Bernard chooses to assume the risk, then he must decide “how many years the payout will be for,” and a “one-time lump sum seems likely.” Bernard said it could be “one year, 10 years, five years, something like that.” Meanwhile, Bernard said that an “official assessment of earthquake damage at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan will begin this week.” IndyCar is “scheduled to make its final trip there Sept. 15-17,” but Bernard said that the series “will honor whatever decision Motegi officials make” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/11).
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