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05/31/13
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Mark Miles on a possible return to Phoenix  When former IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard (ousted after last season) and PIR President Bryan Sperber met last year, the series’ standard sanctioning fee was $1.5 million. Other costs brought the total to at least $3.2 million — that didn’t add up for PIR.

Mark Miles said he expects to engage directly with Sperber in June and called those talks “a priority.”

Miles sat down with azcentral.com sports before last week’s Indy 500.

Question: Bernard said that a 2014 PIR race was “a must.” Is it?

Answer: I candidly wouldn’t say that it’s a “must.” I think there’s a lot to recommend it. But, I have felt that to an extent, in the recent past, we were almost more interested in the quantity of races rather than the quality. I think that’s a mistake. We’re casting our gaze across the country and North America to look for how we can populate the circuit with committed promoters who we can work with in the longer haul. So my saying I don’t know that it’s a “must” is that we want to look at all the factors.

Q: Would IndyCar accept a lower fee to build the event in a multiyear contract?

A: One of the things we’ve been thinking about is how we get better alignment with our stakeholders, both teams and tracks, and in American sports that’s accomplished through, among other things, revenue sharing. We have essentially none of that. ... We’re not going to go to some macro across-the-board revenue sharing model tomorrow, but ... where we see real interest, real potential, at a place we’d really like to be, the possibility of taking less and having shared upsides and revenue streams is something we will do.

Q: How concerned are you that most drivers aren’t well-recognized by the general public?

A: The driver personality and name ID matters. But it may not be the leading edge if we don’t have the resources to lead with that. ... There are ways to make people understand this is a sophisticated, extreme, sport. It is really fast racing which is getting faster. Where “courageous” is not a powerful enough word. Where what the drivers do is just mind-boggling.

Q: What’s your message to long-suffering fans?

A: To that hard-core fan who has been disappointed for so long we almost have to start by saying, “We’re sorry. We owe you an apology.” Then, the very next thing will be to say, “Let’s get on with it. If you really love this sport, as our hard-core fans do, then it’s time to quit looking back.”

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