Randy Bernard Addresses IndyCar Concerns, Season-Ending Promotion
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard sat down with the media last week to "share his thoughts and opinions on a wide variety of topics," according to Marshall Pruett of SPEEDTV.com. Bernard expressed support for Izod IndyCar Series President of Competition & Racing Operations Brian Barnhart, and with "recent Race Control controversies in mind," Bernard has developed a plan, "in conjunction with series partner Verizon, to bring fans inside the clandestine operation." Bernard: "What we plan on doing next week is, if you download the Izod IndyCar app, you will be able to watch race control live. We will set up a camera and you'll be able to hear Brian Barnhart and his team do what they do. Why do we want to do this? Because it shows the credibility of the (profession). They're not a bunch of guys just up there watching a race. They're doing an excellent job of calling it and we need to showcase that." Pruett wrote Bernard's effort to "pull back the covers on Race Control is commendable, but tying it to a sponsor -- one whose product is not universally available to domestic fans, or to international fans who might want to keep tabs via the web -- seems short-sighted." Meanwhile, the deadline to land non-IndyCar drivers for the season-ending race in Las Vegas is today, and signing "marquee guest drivers has been just as problematic" as most expected. Bernard: "All I can say is I can lead a horse to water, but I can't make him drink. I've done everything I can. I promised the drivers we won't make this a circus." Asked about how many drivers may participate in the $5M promotion, Bernard said, "It could be possibly zero. ... We're not giving up. We'd love to see Kasey Kahne."
HELPING IT GROW: Pruett noted Bernard has been "tasked with bringing the IndyCar Series into a place of financial solvency." His "best shot at bringing the series out of the red and into the black is by expanding the calendar through new events that offer to pay a steep sanctioning fee." With that, IndyCar Commercial Division President Terry Angstadt said series officials are "well down the path" toward having a race in China next year. Angstadt: "The agreement has been negotiated. ... I would put it at 90/10. It's positive. It's a real process" (SPEEDTV.com, 8/29).