IndyCar Team Owners Deny Involvement In Calling For Randy Bernard's Ouster
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said that he "doesn't regret" posting a tweet Tuesday saying an IndyCar team owner is trying to get him fired, according to Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Bernard in a text message said he "didn't say anything hurtful or negative, just stating the facts." He also stated on Twitter that the team owner is not Roger Penske. Team owners Bobby Rahal, Ed Carpenter and Jay Penske yesterday said that "they are not involved." Meanwhile, team owner Michael Andretti acknowledged that he "has been told he's the culprit." While Andretti "admits criticizing Bernard, he denies seeking his ouster." Andretti: "I unloaded on Randy the other day, but it wasn't about his job; it was about trying to fix some things. There's no lynch mob. It's not about getting his job. It's about helping (the series)." Carpenter said that his stepfather, IndyCar BOD member Tony George, "is not involved despite being Bernard's predecessor." Rahal said that the "complaining team owners need to realize there is no magical solution to growing IndyCar." Rahal: "I like what Randy's done. I'm not saying everything he's done has been perfect, but (the sport) is certainly better than what it's been" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/31).
ON THE HOT SEAT? SPEEDTV.com's Robin Miller wrote Bernard is "under fire from the car owners, primarily three or four, but the lynch mob mentality in the paddock is growing." Miller: "It doesn’t matter if it was Michael Andretti making the calls or that Mario wants a change; this movement was started by John Barnes and Tony George, with a silent endorsement from Kevin Kalkhoven." Roger Penske "was calling for the hangman a few weeks ago but evidently has changed his mind." Miller wrote, "In a nutshell, they’re pissed about TurboGate, excessive fines, the quality of the cars and how much more the new cars cost than promised." The owners are also "claiming that Bernard keeps giving them the runaround when they present hard numbers and concerns about specific expenses or potential problems." Miller: "I'm hearing they want Bernard sacked and either Steve Horne or Brian Barnhart, or both, to take control" (SPEEDTV.com, 5/30). The AP's Jenna Fryer reported Bernard before the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday "tried to defuse any controversy and it seemed to work as the race was generally regarded as one of the best in history." But with the reports of "an alleged revolt" the focus "now is not on the race." Fryer wrote, "Angst has escalated of late, particularly among the Chevrolet team owners." Chevy lost a pair of appeals protesting a component of rival Honda's turbocharger, and the "anger spread to other manufacturers after IndyCar levied fines throughout the garage that reached $300,000 for 19 infractions among 13 different teams" (AP, 5/30).