IndyCar's firing of Randy Bernard can only lead to more chaos
Today's quiz: What will be coming to Shoreline Drive next April 19-21?
1. The 39th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, featuring IndyCar?
2. F1 racing?
3. Clint Eastwood having a conversation with an empty chassis?
All we can guarantee is the latter.
Even in the wake of the best IndyCar season in more than a decade, the sport is still unable to stop the infighting that turned what once was the greatest racing organization on the continent into a series of pit-row wrecks. Randy Bernard, the CEO who steered the re-united industry nicely through the wreckage of the past, was axed Monday in a snit with team owners and the ultimate loose ball bearings of the industry - IndyCar owner-operator IMS (International Motor Speedway) and former IMS CEO Tony George.
The 2012 season saw a new, attractive and safer chassis, new engines and multiple engine makers, and great racing, with eight different drivers winning the 15 races.
No replacement has been named. No apparent successor has been mentioned. Team owners who quibbled with Bernard over costs and rules and were inciting change admittedly did not have a plan, and as a result the series may fall back into the hands of the man who almost killed IndyCar, George.
It was George who split the industry in two in 1996, leaving CART hanging while he started the Indy Racing League with the Indy 500 as its anchor. George is estranged from the rest of the family that owns IMS, but he reportedly has put together an ownership group to buy IndyCar from IMS.
LBGP chief Jim Michaelian was unavailable for comment. His race has a contract with IndyCar so nothing is going to change in the short-term, but the latest fracas certainly will force the LBGP, and other races that are part of IndyCar, to once again start fretting about the sport. The best thing in the LBGP's favor is that the F1 circuit would love to return to Long Beach.
Bernard, who came to IndyCar after success creating a pro bull riding circuit, made mistakes. He expanded the field for the final race of 2011 in a promotional venture, and Dan Wheldon died in a horrific crash. But there was more to the crash than that, and Bernard did a lot of good things in bringing a sense of optimism to IndyCar in 2012. Long Beach Press Telegram