SBD/October 26, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard Breaks His Silence, Says Now Is Time To Be A Leader

Bernard said the past week was probably the "most horrific" week of his life
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard's silence since the fatal accident that resulted in the death of driver Dan Wheldon at the Izod IndyCar World Championships "only intensified the scrutiny on his leadership of the open-wheel series,” but Bernard is “focused on moving forward and helping IndyCar through this dark period," according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. Bernard said, “The last week was probably the most horrific week of my life." He added that he “never once considered resigning but admits IndyCar is now ‘in crisis, and we have to get answers.’” Bernard: "You have to lead, and I know this is a time I have to make sure I am going to be very decisive, very articulate and be a leader. In tough times is where you build your character; it's not in good times." Fryer reported Bernard took Wheldon's death “extremely hard and essentially isolated himself in Las Vegas after the race.” Bernard: “I was numb. I didn't, I was, just numb." Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said, “It's been an unfair beating on Randy because nobody singlehandedly makes decisions. I just don't understand the criticism I'm seeing.” He added, “But there's no doubt Randy's got his hands full, and it's an ugly situation." Fryer noted Bernard, who just finished his second year with IndyCar, "was hired to revitalize the series despite no auto racing experience, and that's contributing to blaming Bernard for creating the circumstances that led to Wheldon's death.” He insists that he “did not sensationalize the inherent danger in auto racing.” Bernard: “Our storylines going to Las Vegas were first and foremost 'Come watch Will and Dario fight it out for the world championship.' The No. 2 storyline was Dan Wheldon competing for $5 million starting at the back. Our third storyline was Danica Patrick. ... Our fourth storyline was 34 cars in the race. I think none of those, looking back on it, had any type of connotation of any danger. If the race was tomorrow, it would still be the same storylines” (AP, 10/25).
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