IndyCar Takeover bid - Officials say series is not for sale UPDATE #4 As expected, this rumor is now downgraded to 'false.' The president and CEO of IndyCar's parent company put an end to speculation that a group of car owners is interested in buying the series.
IndyCar isn't even for sale, said Jeff Belskus of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp.
"The story is (fictional)," Belskus said Saturday at Sonoma Raceway, where today's GoPro Indy Grand Prix will be held. "We have had no meaningful conversations about anyone wanting to buy the series.
"The series is not for sale."
That hasn't stopped people from talking about it, beginning with a report on Speed's "Wind Tunnel" show last weekend.
If there are indeed "four or five car owners" consolidating to force a leadership change, they couldn't be counted Saturday.
A survey of the 15 team owners that regularly field cars failed to find one to confirm involvement. More at Indy Star
Q: Please do not say the owners are going to buy the series. Haven't we been down this road before? This has been one of the best years in IndyCar. The Indy 500 was phenomenal, the racing's been great and the new car is racy. The championship is wide open. Randy Bernard, I think, has done a good job. For anything to be successful, you need stability at the top. I don't understand.
|The man responsible for the downfall of CART, not the team owners|
RM: The owners have drawn a line in the sand over the cost of Dallara parts and it will come to a head this weekend at Sonoma. But the whole group isn’t in favor of owning the series, just a select few in the lynch mob who want to take over and get rid of Bernard.
Q: I noticed on Twitter the Wind Tunnel rumor mill said that the owners want to take over IndyCar. Can you elaborate more as to why? Is it true? And most importantly do they realize if they do that IndyCar is dead after that? Obviously they failed with CART. I believe it's a NO WIN for them or the fans. They managed to botch everything and ran CART into ground and it will kill any/all momentum that IndyCar has left. I still will go to the Indy 500 until it dies off.
RM: If these few owners take over then Indy will likely be the only race left in a couple years anyway. I reported Sunday night on Wind Tunnel that a few owners and another racing entrepreneur were serious about trying to buy the series. Two of the people in this scheme were anti-CART so draw your own conclusions. Speed.com
[Editor's Note: Let's be clear, CART was just fine, bigger than NASCAR and challenging F1 for worldwide popularity when Anton George thought he had a better idea and destroyed it all. He took CART's biggest race, the Indy 500, away from them, which generated a lot of sponsorship money. That loss of sponsorship money and the challenges that arose from it was the downfall of CART - Anton (Tony) George's legacy cannot be forgotten.] zzzz08/23/12 IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard told Jenna Fryer of AP he's tuning out talk of yet another alleged attempt by team owners to oust him as head of the open-wheel series.
Bernard said he had seen a Thursday report on Speed.com that detailed persistent rumors about team owners trying to push him out as CEO. The report claims some unidentified team owners are trying to line up investors to purchase IndyCar with the intent of firing Bernard. IndyCar is owned by the Hulman-George family, and Bernard reports to a board of directors.
"I have heard and read different stories, and my focus is only on completing this year, next year and our long-term strategy at IndyCar," Bernard said. "I'm very optimistic about the future of IndyCar."
08/23/12 It’s the rumor that won’t go away: a few car owners wanting to put a deal together with a couple investors to buy the IndyCar series so they can fire Randy Bernard and run their own show.
It started in June and gained some steam last week when a couple of major players in IndyCar told me it was more than speculation.
Now I don’t know if Hulman & Company would even entertain selling IndyCar unless it was crazy money, but I do know it’s a terrible idea that ranks up there with the 25/8 rule at Indy in 1996.
If it did become a reality, the easy thing to do would be sit back and watch the train wreck.
As my pal Dan Gurney likes to say, "If you don’t have any skin in the game, Miller, then you shouldn’t have a vote," and it’s hard to argue with his logic. And some owners expose more skin than others but they spend the money and they certainly deserve a voice.
So why get upset about something that probably won't happen? And, if it does, who cares if the powers in open-wheel racing make another change at the top?
Does it really matter if Bernard is shown the door? Would it have any noticeable effect on the series? Could it be construed as a big step backwards?
Hell yes on all three counts.
The reason to be concerned is because I've lived and breathed Indy car racing for most of my life, covered it for 44 years and care about it more than is probably healthy. Whether it was USAC, CART/Champ Car or IRL, it's always had great racing and piss-poor management. Until the last couple years when there was finally an autonomous voice that didn't have favorites or agendas and looked at things with a fresh perspective.
And, oh by the way, he doesn't answer to car owners.
The mere fact this takeover idea could have any legs is as maddening as it is mystifying because history has shown that car owners make even more bad decisions as a group than they do individually.
Despite the heydays of CART, they didn’t have the gumption to stick together and believe in their product. They defected, one by one, to the Indy Racing League and cow-towed to Tony George.
George, in turn, had to turn his beloved oval-track series into CART Lite because his original vision failed. More at Speed.com08/20/12 On Wind Tunnel last night Robin Miller said there is rumor that 4 or 5 Indy car owners want to buy the series from the Speedway and the Hulman-George Family. He also made known that said team owners would remove Randy Bernard from CEO if they do purchase the series. The host Dave Despain was not there. Miller said there always have been rumors about this, but Robin said in this case I think it's going to happen.