SBD/October 2, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

IndyCar CEO Bernard Says '13 Doubleheaders Will Expand Series' Fan Base

Bernard says tradition played a role in bringing back IndyCar's Triple Crown
The Izod IndyCar Series will hold doubleheader race weekends at three street courses in ’13, “using a standing start in one race and a traditional rolling start in the other race,” according to Jeff Olson of USA TODAY. The addition of doubleheaders in Detroit, Toronto and Houston is “an effort by IndyCar to expand its fan base.” IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said, "We started looking at our entire business model and how we could grow. We felt this was one of the ways that would make sense. It gives your fans a chance to see twice the action in one weekend." Bernard said that a “potential 20th event in 2013, a street race in Providence, failed to meet a weekend deadline.” He said, "They just weren't able to pull it off in time for our deadlines. We have to stick to a formal plan, and we did that this year. In regard to 2014, we would love to see Providence, but we need to get that done sooner rather than later. There's a limited amount of races. There's not room for everybody." Olson reports while IndyCar drivers “seemed excited about the doubleheaders, there was skepticism over the idea of standing starts” (USA TODAY, 10/2).

ONE MO’ FOR MOTOWN: Bernard said of the doubleheader race weekend in Detroit, “The reason we picked Belle Isle was Roger Penske. He and (event chairman) Bud Denker are investing millions of dollars into repaving that race course and create some more passing zones. We thought that would be a great place for us. We have always seen great racing in Toronto, and the fact that we wanted to have two races in Canada was very important to us, especially with Rogers Sports Network coming on as our Canadian TV partner next year. And the last is Houston, the fourth-largest market in the United States. We felt it was imperative to have a doubleheader there for (race promoter) Mike Lanigan. We just thought it would be another great place to have a doubleheader.” Bernard said of IndyCar adding the Triple Crown to the ’13 schedule, “As everyone knows, tradition is so important to the sport. And if you are going to bring Pocono back, I think it makes the most sense to bring the Triple Crown as well” (RACER.com, 10/1).

CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT: In Pennsylvania, Michael Sadowski notes Bernard and Pocono Raceway President & CEO Brandon Igdalsky were spotted “being chummy” at the March 25 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, prompting an AP reporter to tweet that the two were “hanging out together at the race.” Igdalsky yesterday said that the reaction to that tweet “was the driving force” to bring the Izod IndyCar Series back to Pocono. Igdalsky: “The fans told us they wanted IndyCar back at Pocono, and we did what we needed to make it happen.” Bernard added, “I think it kind of caught both of us off-guard. … But when Brandon saw the reaction from fans, and he did some research, he got in contact and said, ‘We’ve got to talk’” (POCONO RECORD, 10/2).

THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE: Bernard said that the Edmonton City Council cancelling its deal to hold the city’s IndyCar race at City Centre Airport “was the catalyst to make Toronto a two-race stop next season.” In Toronto, Dean McNulty reports, “Another part of the decision to award Toronto two races was the fact IndyCar had just signed a new television contract with Rogers Sportsnet to carry all 19 races live next season.” Bernard said that the two-race deal for Toronto “would not prevent another city such as Calgary, Vancouver or Quebec City from seeking an IndyCar race down the road” (TORONTO SUN, 10/2).
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