Chevy owners trying to push Bernard out

UPDATE #8 IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said he doesn't regret posting a tweet Tuesday night saying an IndyCar team owner is trying to get him fired.

"(I) didn't say anything hurtful or negative, just stating the facts," he wrote in a text message to The Indianapolis Star.

That team owner hasn't been identified, but Bernard said in his original tweet that the individual is "calling other" team owners.

"I have had several owners confirm this," Bernard wrote.

In a separate tweet, Bernard said the team owner is not Roger Penske. Bobby Rahal, Ed Carpenter and Jay Penske said Wednesday they are not involved.

Michael Andretti said he has been told he's the culprit. While he admits criticizing Bernard, he denies seeking his ouster.

"Yeah, I unloaded on Randy the other day, but it wasn't about his job; it was about trying to fix some things," Andretti said. "There's no lynch mob. It's not about getting his job. It's about helping (the series)."

Other owners couldn't be reached for comment or declined to speak about the flap.

Members of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's board of directors, which employs Bernard, could not be reached for comment. Carpenter said his stepfather, board member Tony George, is not involved despite being Bernard's predecessor.

Bernard accepted the position in February 2010 and said he expects to fulfill his five-year contract.

Carpenter said Bernard should focus on doing the job rather than responding to others.

"He needs to be selling the sport (rather than) talking about this," said Carpenter, who spent Wednesday in Iowa promoting IndyCar's June 23 race at Iowa Speedway.

Rahal said the complaining team owners need to realize there is no magical solution to growing IndyCar.

"There's always somebody better some place; we just don't know where they are," he said. "I like what Randy's done. I'm not saying everything he's done has been perfect, but (the sport) is certainly better than what it's been."

Complaints, Rahal said, come with the territory.

"If you're not (upsetting some people), you're probably not doing your job," he said.

Bernard spearheaded IndyCar's first equipment change since 2003, but it has come amid controversy, including the Lotus debacle that led to only two such cars in Sunday's Indianapolis 500, both black-flagged early for being off the pace.

Bernard was criticized for staging a race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that ended when two-time 500 winner Dan Wheldon was killed in a 15-car crash. Bernard invited drivers from outside the sport to compete in the race — there were no takers for his $5 million challenge — and IndyCar regulars had concerns about the safety of racing on the high-banked track.

Team owners have complained that the new cars are more expensive than promised, and the open competition for car parts made in Central Indiana hasn't developed because Dallara is the exclusive supplier.

Last month, IndyCar fell into Chevrolet's crosshairs after officials allowed BorgWarner, the turbocharger manufacturer, to adjust the single unit compressor used by Honda. It took two formal hearings to settle the case. Panther Racing owner John Barnes was fined $25,000 for criticizing series officials for their handling of the case.

There also was $275,000 in pre-qualifying penalties handed out by the league over technical issues.

Ultimately, Bernard figures to be judged by the sport's financial picture. Among the items on his watch: IZOD’s dramatically reduced role as title sponsor, changing the sport's business model by not procuring a promotional fee from race sponsors for last year's Las Vegas event, and reducing sanctioning fees in Milwaukee and Baltimore to keep them on the schedule.

Bernard also wanted more than 20 races in a season; there are only 16, the minimum required by contracts. Indy Star

05/31/12 Also, Randy Bernard had denied it was Roger Penske trying to get him sacked.

05/30/12 contacted a couple of team owners to see what is really going on with regard to this rumored move to oust Randy Bernard. Both said they had no knowledge whatsoever about any team owners trying to oust Randy. And both stated that the team owners have no power to oust the CEO, only the Hulman George family can do that. After speaking to these owners we get the sense that this rumor has been feeding on itself and a mountain has grown from a mole hill.

We also have the sense that this rumor is being used to gain IndyCar some free publicity and keep it in the news daily as a lead-in to the Detroit GP this weekend. Hence, we are downgrading this rumor to 'speculation.'

05/30/12 This Robin Miller article sheds more light on this repulsive revolt. There is an online petition of support for Randy Bernard.

05/30/12 A reader writes, "He needs to be selling the sport (rather than) talking about this" – Ed Carpenter

No, Bernard needs to be talking about the efforts to push him out of his position. Part of the problem that has led IndyCar to the state it is in has been the fact that several well-heeled, duplicative owners managed to take control of IndyCar, the same way they took control of CART, with the intention of making it fit their own agendas at any cost. Bernard has come in with new ideas, without any ties to the existing establishment, and managed to start to turn things around. As Rahal said, not all the ideas have worked out, but real change needs real time invested to make it happen.

Tony George had his own agenda, it just about killed the IRL/IndyCar. Roger (and a few others) had their own agenda in CART. We know where that ended up. Roger and those few others jumped ship once just before CART hit the iceberg. Now they're working to do the same thing to IndyCar.

Bernard is doing this the only way he can by making everyone aware of the effort and hoping the fans show their support him by showing their support for where the series is going now. Mika Malehorn

05/30/12 Driver/owner Ed Carpenter said his team, which includes former IndyCar CEO Tony George, isn't involved. But Carpenter wishes Bernard hadn't made the topic public.

"He needs to be selling the sport (rather than) talking about this," said Carpenter, who is in Iowa today promoting IndyCar's June 23 race at Iowa Speedway. "We should be talking about (the 500) and selling tickets to other races."

Team owner Bobby Rahal said some team owners have unrealistic expectations.

“There’s always somebody better some place, we just don’t know where they are," he said. “I like what Randy’s done. I’m not saying everything he’s done has been perfect, but (the sport) is certainly better than what it’s been."

Rahal said the complaints “are a sign he’s actually doing something right. If you’re not (making someone upset), you’re probably not doing your job." IndyStar

05/30/12 A reader adds, Dear, Randy got rid of all the Penske followers (Barnhart…etc.) who used to work for Roger, and he can no longer manipulate the series to his own advantage. So of course he wants Bernard out. Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA.

05/29/12 Randy Bernard confirms, "It is true that an owner is calling others trying to get me fired. I have had several owners confirm this. Disappointing."

05/29/12 When Roger Penske does not get his way he pushes his weight around because he has the money and the connections. When IndyCar allowed Honda to make the turbocharger change, Roger was supposedly furious. After all, that is how he wins races, by having an unfair advantage. How many years did Penske Racing rebuild their own engines when all other teams had to use the manufacturer's rebuilder? Seems if Roger can't have an unfair advantage and win all the races, well then he's not going to be happy. In the 500 Honda ate Chevy's lunch and Roger's car were never really in contention to win. He must be steaming.

Per Robin Miller, on , Chevy owners are trying to push out Randy Bernard. When asked who wanted Bernard out in the witch hunt he stated it was Chevy owners. Robin mentioned, he thinks Tony George, the man that destroyed the sport, wants back in charge. George was rumored to be Penske's puppet when he was in charge, so Anton may be working together with Penske to get Bernard removed and himself reinstated.

Robin also mentioned that Randy has received "big time" offers to lead other companies, but turned it down to meet his five year commitment to IndyCar.

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