Randy Bernard speaks, California edition

In what has been a regular event at IndyCar weekends, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard addressed the media, holding an informal question and answer session. Recapping the highlights:

– Yes, Randy does read AutoRacing1.

– The controversial engine rule, which penalized drivers 10 spots should they change an engine before the proper number of miles is reached, was to address the engine manufacturers cost concerns. In that respect, it has succeeded. Randy didn't say whether or not it would be continued, but he was definite that the costs must be contained.

– "No doubt" there will be enough engines for the 2013. Chevy and Honda are excited about next season, and Lotus has not formally indicated they want out of their 4-year agreement (Lotus did attend a meeting of motor reps yesterday).

– The "hard deadline" for a schedule is October 1. Having said that, Bernard said that he's hoping to have signed contracts for each event before they are announced. When asked by AR1 about the Providence, Rhode Island event, Bernard did a nice tap dance, as he did about other venues that were not formally announced. He did say that there would only non-North American race, the one in Sal Paulo, for 2013. He also said that some venues that want 2013 races are "not far enough along" and that they'd be looked at for a 2014 schedule. Bernard also said that he'd love to get another chance at New Hampshire Speedway, and that he maintains conversations with both ISC and Bruton Smith concerning events at their tracks. Definitely on the "target list" is Pocono.

– Also under study are two-race weekends. Research seems to indicate that 2-race events draw more fans, from longer distances. There is some conversation of maybe having one with a flying start, and the other with a standing start. At least they are mulling over their options.

– IndyCar is willing to build some dates, even if the attendance isn't great for the first few years. This is nothing new per se, but it indicates that they are interesting in a long-term development project with an event at Auto Club Speedway (aka California Speedway). And they are also interesting holding the first event of the year the weekend after the Super Bowl, with the season extending into October.

– Bernard is at the end of this third season. When asked what he would tell himself if he could jump into the Dr. Who phone booth and go back 4 years, he pause, and said, "Be firm in your answer. Don't look back. Put the blinders on — you just have to focus on what is the best for the future of the sport. Oh, and cross every 't' and dot every 'I'". Earlier he said that he's changed from being optimist to a realist, and that he doesn’t believe anything until after he sees it.

When AR1 asked him about the strides made at Texas and California, being able to run at such tracks, he hesitated a bit, since the California race has yet to be run. However, yes, he said that this is a significant development, and credited Rich Mears with the fix. Bernard said that Mears had lobbied for such a low-downforce formula from the time Bernard took the job…… — Tim Wohlford, reporting from Fontana!!

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