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SBD/October 24, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard Comes Under Fire Following Wheldon's Death
Published October 24, 2011
BLAME GAME: In L.A., Jim Peltz writes Bernard was "inundated with hate mail" following Wheldon's death. But as IndyCar began an investigation into the crash, others said that “neither Bernard nor his promotion was the culprit, although safety changes should be addressed.” Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker said, "The blame game needs to stop so the energy can be turned toward learning from this incident and making the sport safer and stronger." NASCAR driver Tony Stewart said, "Randy Bernard has been getting beat up over it and he shouldn't." Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach President & CEO Jim Michaelian said, "To ascribe blame in any way to Randy for what transpired in that tragic incident in Las Vegas I think is unfair" (L.A. TIMES, 10/24). The AP’s Tim Dahlberg wrote, “Sometimes it takes a death to change things.” Change “can't come about until the mistakes of the past are examined and measures are taken to make sure they're not repeated.” Change is “already underway with a new car for next year that reportedly will include a reinforced cockpit and partly enclosed wheels” (AP, 10/23).
BIDDING FAREWELL: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin notes Wheldon's “lighter side was on display in a memorial service at Conseco Fieldhouse,” and there were “more laughs than tears.” There were an “estimated 3,000 attendees at the 90-minute memorial” yesterday (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 10/24). In St. Petersburg, Jamal Thalji noted a funeral was held for Wheldon on Saturday in the city and IndyCar founder Tony George, team Owner Roger Penske and Bernard were “all in attendance.” Wheldon's pallbearers included drivers Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan. Danica Patrick “was also there” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/23).