Andretti happy with Randy Bernard UPDATE We failed to note that the Michael Andretti Foundation organized the Grand Prix Salute event attended by Mario Andretti below. To date, the total amount raised at the event has not been determined as receipts are still being tallied, so the $150,000 figure mentioned below is also a bit premature, but Michael Andretti is very proud of the work his Foundation does.
08/23/10 The patriarch of one of America’s most important motorsports' families is pleased with IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard ‘s performance thus far. Bernard joined the Indy Racing League, with responsibility for overseeing all aspects of the IZOD IndyCar Series, on March 1, 2010. Bernard previously served as the CEO of Professional Bull Riders, Inc.
“It’s a breath of fresh air. Here is a man that I have learned so far is very calculated and has learned in a short time what is important about our sport and our discipline; how much value there is in the heritage that this sport possesses. Bernard embraces all of that and is smart enough to see the value of all of that," said Mario Andretti.
When the open-wheel community was split from 1996-2007, Andretti was an outspoken critic of the Indy Racing League.
Andretti was in Sonoma participating in a variety of race-related events such as attending the Grand Prix Salute of Sonoma at the Andretti Winery, which raised $150,000 for children’s charities, getting back behind the wheel as part of the Indy Racing Experience Two-Seat Ride program, and presenting the inaugural Mario Andretti Road Championship trophy to Will Power.
Of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar road course champion Andretti said: “He is on a roll and he understands the car. That is the package.”
Andretti was also in town to watch his grandson, Marco, race and spent time in the No. 26’s car pit box throughout the weekend.
Marco’s first IndyCar win occurred in 2006 at Infineon Raceway. At that time, he was the youngest driver (19 years, 5 months, 14 days) to win an IndyCar sanctioned race.
At the beginning of Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, Marco was one of five drivers to start the race on black tires, in hopes that the strategy would allow him to move up the field quickly; he started in eighteenth position. At one point, the strategy seemed to be paying off with Marco slipping into second behind race leader and winner, Will Power. But after a few yellow flags and incidents with J.R. Hildebrand and Mario Moraes, Marco fell back. He finished the day in twelfth place.