IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard a no-show amidst talk of revolt
Where is IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard? And, is there a movement by team owners to have him fired?
|At some point Randy Bernard is likely to tell IndyCar and its team owners to go pound sand and walk away from the series that desperately needs him|
Bernard was nowhere to be found on The Raceway at Belle Isle Park Friday for the opening day of practice for Sunday's Detroit Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix.
Bernard is expected to be on Belle Isle on Saturday, or certainly for Sunday's IndyCar race.
A report on Speed.com Wednesday claims IndyCar founder Tony George and a few team owners are behind the move to have Bernard removed as CEO. Michael Andretti's name was among the team owners mentioned in the story.
"He's doing all right," Andretti said of Bernard between practice sessions Friday. "He's made some mistakes and he's made some good moves. It's a very tough job. He's always going to have someone upset at him. Overall, I think he's getting better than average grades."
Dennis Reinbold, owner of Oriol Servia's No. 22 Chevrolet, said a team owners' meeting is set for Saturday.
"I've read some of those articles and we're going to have an owners meeting tomorrow so we'll all sit down and hopefully discuss that and be able to come to some normalcy," Reinbold said. "All the speculation and crazy talk is not healthy for what we're trying to do.
"I'm not 100 percent satisfied with everything, but as long as we keep working hard to try and correct the things that maybe we missed on in the past and work together to make it all work, that's the main thing. The guy works countless hours. He's brought a lot of good things. We've got momentum to the series. We were all worried with how the car was going to race at Indy and it was fabulous."
Sunday's Indianapolis 500 set a race record for lead changes, with Dario Franchitti of Target-Chip Ganassi Racing winning the event for the third time.
Ganassi addressed a number of topics Friday, including Bernard.
"There are some of the guys who are down on him, but I'm not in that group," Ganassi said. "I think it's a work in progress and Randy's working hard at it. He's been around enough, though, where he needs to be picking up on things. He's got his team put together, but I still think there are some holes that need to be filled.
"Nobody in this business is worried about team owners. They must think team owners grow on trees, I guess, I don't know. Somebody better start thinking about us because all these sanctioning bodies just throw everything on the owners and it's getting very, very difficult to have the sponsors on one side of you and the sanctioning body on the other. You're caught in the middle and it gets challenging at times."
So, what does Ganassi think needs to change?
"I would first like the sanctioning body, when they tell you what things will cost, that's what they cost and they don't seem to do that," explained Ganassi. "They tell you what things will cost and then when the bill comes it's 40 percent more.
"One of our cars crashed at Indy in practice and it was a $270,000 crash and I've never had a $270,000 crash in NASCAR. And, it wasn't a total wash. That crash a year ago would have cost $180,000. We're strapped with a lousy contract, somebody has to get in there and make a better deal because a lot of these guys (owners) are going to die on the vine before the end of the year if they don't fix that."
Luckily, Ganassi has the big sponsor support of Target, not to mention Franchitti earning $2.47 million for his Indy 500 win.
So, is there a revolt?
"Not that I'm involved in," Ganassi said. "We keep having meetings to explain this stuff to them and it falls on deaf ears and that's why some of the owners are mad.
"I don't think this new car (DW12 Dallara) is doing everything they wanted it to do in terms of safety. There have been some big hits and everybody has walked away from it so far so I think that's good, but some of things were a little concerning when I saw a couple of cars with all four wheels off the ground at Indianapolis. That concerned me a little bit."
It should definitely be an interesting owners meeting Saturday, prior to qualifying. Detroit News