Kanaan Says IndyCar Needs To Face Up UPDATE Tony Kanaan is 100% correct in suggesting IndyCar needs a face during these difficult times. As outlets like AR1 publish exposes about awful TV ratings, and gross mismanagement, 16th and Georgetown remains silent, totally devoid of leadership, doing little to silence the critics.
Of course, TK could be making the mistake so many of us have before: Assuming the Hulman-George family actually cares about IndyCar; that they actually care about anything other than "not losing too much money" with regard to our beloved sport.
While the statement may seem strong, I'm beginning to believe it may have merit. And if someone believes it to be inaccurate, we encourage them to contact us, as we will publish compelling evidence to the contrary. AR1.com columnist Brian Carroccio
Tony Kanaan says it has remained difficult for him to judge the protocol surrounding Randy Bernard’s dismissal as INDYCAR chief executive officer last fall. But Kanaan insists he knows what the open-wheel series lacks heading into testing next month for the 2013 season.
|Tony Kanaan says IndyCar is faceless|
“We need a face,” said Kanaan, the 2004 IZOD IndyCar Series champion. “We’re going to need someone quick to be able to answer to a lot of the questions we have. If that guy is going to be Jeff (Belskus)…I mean, he’s the one running it right now. There’s a lot of questions from the sponsors, from the teams, from the people (wondering) what direction we’re going to take.”
Bernard was terminated on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 after a special meeting of the board of directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation. Led by the Hulman-George family, the board announced that Bernard had relinquished his position effective immediately and that Belskus _Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president/CEO _ would serve as interim CEO of INDYCAR. Belskus previously served as CEO of INDYCAR from July 2009 through February 2010. zzzz
“He’s (Belskus) got a big job to run IMS and the series,” Kanaan said following an offseason test by KV Racing Technology at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. “I’ve known Jeff for a while and think he has the right mentality, but looks like the board changes their mind quite a bit.”
Bernard, who joined INDYCAR in March 2010 with no previous background in motorsports, oversaw implementation of the revolutionary 2012 Dallara DW12 chassis and the return of engine manufacturer competition among Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus. The latter has since exited the series.
But Bernard also was at the center of a controversy surrounding “pack racing” at high-speed ovals like TMS and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where two-time/reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon was fatally injured during the October 2011 season-ender. The series suffered another black eye when a scheduled street race in China was postponed by the promoter last summer, reducing the schedule from 16 to 15 events.
“I am a big Randy fan,” said Kanaan, 37, who will be entering his third season with KVRT and 12th overall in 2013. “Being president of the driver’s association I was working really close to him. But that’s beyond us. I definitely have my opinion and I support Randy all the way. Would I like to see Randy gone? No, not at all. I believe in continuity but for some reason something happened, which I don’t know. So this is my opinion _ we have a great team in the office of INDYCAR and Randy was well-liked by the fans. So whoever is going to replace him (permanently) is going to have a hard task to fill that seat. And is going to be under pressure.
“What people have to understand is whoever is going to take that job at any point at any time is always going to be on a hot seat. It’s the most difficult job. It’s a series that is growing. We have a lot of issues and in my opinion it wasn’t fair to Randy because some of the deals were already made before he came. But I trust the board and support the series. I’m one of the biggest fans of this series. If it was the right decision or wrong decision we’ll know in a few months.”
Kanaan voiced the same observation on one of Bernard’s final ideas _ Saturday-Sunday doubleheaders scheduled for the street courses at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, the Streets of Toronto as well the Reliant Park layout in Houston. Additionally, standing starts will be implemented at those three venues. The twin bills are part of the series’ expanded 19-event lineup for 2013.
“I think it’s great in certain ways (because) we have more races,” said Kanaan, referring to a schedule that has grown by four races. “But it’s sketchy in other ways, as far as being hard on the mechanics _ hard on us (drivers). These races are not easy. To do two full races in two different days is going to take a lot.
“And my question is as a fan, if I go watch the race on Saturday, why should I come back on Sunday? Or, if I’m going to go on Sunday, why should I go on Saturday? We’ll see. I haven’t heard how we’re going to qualify for pole, how we’re going to make it happen. So we need to make something exciting from one day to the other. Otherwise, I would not take my 5-year-old kid to watch exactly the same race two days in a row, you know?
“On a positive side, we’ll have a different crowd Saturday and a different crowd Sunday and we can pack the house like that. But thinking as a fan, I want a reason to come back to the track. On Saturday (in 2012) I had a reason because they were going to go qualify, and watch the Fast 6 and then I watch the race on Sunday. Now I’ve already watched a race on Saturday, am I going to come back on Sunday? I’m not real sure on that.”
Kanaan finished ninth in points after a winless 2012 featuring five top-five and eight top-10 results in his No. 11 GEICO/Mouser Electronics Dallara/Chevrolet. In 164 IndyCar Series career starts, the native Brazilian has 11 poles, 14 wins (most recently at Iowa Speedway in 2010), 101 top-five and 128 top-10 results along with 2,928 laps-led. His title-winning season in 2004 saw Kanaan complete every lap. He will be teamed this year with Simona De Silvestro, formerly of Lotus-HVM Racing. Racin' Today