Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

February 1, 2010

IZOD Indy Car Series: No More Bulls#*!

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:53 am

It appears Randy Bernard, the guy who first led the Professional Bull Riders from obscurity to relevance even though he knew nothing about the sport, is apparently going to get that chance again on a bigger stage.

He has never seen an Indy Car or an Indy Car race. Some might express angst about an outsider to that degree. There is optimism, however, that views such a hire in a more positive light. If Bernard has no prior exposure to Indy Car, he has no baggage. The toting of such baggage has been a large problem over the past fifteen years. The rightful heir to the Indy Car empire inadvertently angered those who mistakenly assumed they were in charge of the legacy and for that matter the entire sport. The result over the past fifteen years is some of the most destructive, vulgar behavior in the history of sports.

Now that Tony George has put himself on the shelf until further notice and the cart brigade are just owners and teams again, why wouldn’t the choice of an outsider without any dog in the boycott/temper tantrum fight be ideal?

Look at Bernard’s pedigree. He built a rodeo niche into an actual marketable product. The PBR forged television deals with NBC, Fox and Versus. Those give the PBR more than 250 hours of air time in this country, and they make money selling the programming overseas as well. The worldwide viewing audience numbers more than 100 million viewers in 85 countries. Annual sponsorship revenue is north of $24 million. All that began with a few bull riders tossing a few twenties into a cowboy hat.

Dealing With Former cart Owners is Tricky Business

Here is my word of caution for the new guy:

  1. Respect tradition. The past 100 years has created a legacy that has involved life and death. If the spirit of IMS does not affect the leader, having that person as the leader is pointless regardless of business acumen.
  2. Do not allow those who have tried to de-emphasize IMS by transforming Indy Car into something it is not supposed to be to influence decision making. cart killed themselves twice doing that and nearly brought down Indy Car. There is already a Formula One and there is no need for a clone. There is not another Indy Car, and the one we have must be nurtured by everyone in it.

The new guy deserves an opportunity to succeed. Hopefully is best leadership quality is sorting through the mountains of bullsh!t that will likely be shoveled his way by multiple self-interested parties.

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9 Comments »

  1. Beating the same old dead horse again……..

    Editor’s Note: So you’re out of material again, eh? Not surprisingly, the point of the piece has eluded your grasp again.

    Comment by TroyM — February 1, 2010 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

  2. I like the hire. Indycars marketing has been crappy at best over the last decade. It’s needs someone to promote it and sell the sport to the masses. I think this guy gets it

    Comment by Matt — February 1, 2010 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  3. Defender,

    It’s pretty obvious that you only care about one race (The Indy 500) and there are many like you……that view the IRL series as secondary to the Indy 500.

    There is nothing wrong with that by the way but let’s be honest here…..you guys are really more fans of a single event then you are the series or American Open-Wheel racing as a whole.

    So I guess what I’m asking is that if you care so much about the Indy 500 and you think it is so much bigger than the rest of the sport (which it definitely is by the way) than why do you even bother with the rest of the series?

    That’s what caused so many problems to begin with between fans of both sides of the split.

    IRL/Indy 500 fans essentially look at the Indy 500 as the only event that matters in the sport and every other race is just an afterthought.

    CART fans essentially looked at the Indy 500 as just one of many races and while they recognize it as a big event….they care more about the series and season as a whole.

    We can debate all we want about which group is “right” or “better” but they are really two different things.

    Are you a fan of an event or a fan of a series?

    Editor’s Note: Actually I view the IZOD Indy Car Series as a series of really good, diverse races (except for the idiotic temporary tracks), and the Indianapolis 500 as not only its Super Bowl, but soul. History has shown conclusively that those who attempt to minimize the overall importance of the 500 and maximize the importance of everything else fail completely. I am all for a strong series of good races (preferably more ovals), but the 500 MUST remain the hook. It has more history and luster than any other race, and despite the self delusion cart apologists foist the 500 is the center of the sport and must remain that way.

    Comment by Serg — February 1, 2010 @ 6:13 pm | Reply

    • Lord knows I don’t always agree with you, Defender, but I think you’re right about the 500 having to be the centerpiece. Even back in my most fevered CART-fandom days (watching every second of IndyCar coverage on TV, watching all of the feeder series on TV, reading every word in On Track magazine, sometimes twice), I felt like the 500 was 35% of the attraction of the whole series, and the rest all together was the other 65%. You could say that that means that the series as a whole meant more than the 500, but that 65% was divided up by 15-16 other events. One 500 equalled, like, eight or ten other races combined, at least in my mind. I think that that ratio pretty much stands today, or even that the 500 is even more important to the series than it was in ’91-’95. I can’t be that unique there.

      I’m not completely thrilled that the guy that just got hired has never been to a race in his life, but I’m willing to give him a shot. Anybody who isn’t willing to at least hear him out (remember, we haven’t even heard him say anything yet)…there’s the door.

      Comment by The Speedgeek — February 1, 2010 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  4. “The toting of such baggage has been a large problem over the past fifteen years”

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Editor’s Note: So you agree the hiring of the rodeo guy is a good thing?

    Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — February 1, 2010 @ 6:27 pm | Reply

    • He can’t be worse than the current lot.

      Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — February 2, 2010 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

  5. I like the hire, but I have some reservations. I think he will do a good job, but if he fails, I have a feeling it will be a major fail, and could do a ton of damage. I think the biggest issue for him is on the technical part of racing, and on which races excite people. If he listens to the people who want more street races, then prepare for ChampCar2.0. If, however, he listens to the right people, then maybe we’ll return to MIS, Phoniex, Loudon, Road America, Cleveland, ect.

    Comment by dylanpt24 — February 1, 2010 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

  6. Yee ha, cook me sum grits and saddle up the mule Ma’, Indycar is goin’ country! We’s gonna steal dem NASCAR fans good! I knows me sumpin’ bout da rodeo, dats were ya’ take yer sister on a date. Leo Mehl part 2, in the flesh, hope you like yer tenderloin wit cuntry gravy. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA………….AHHHH.. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA……..

    Editor’s Note: Is the Special Olympics in town?

    Comment by Laughing at your expense — February 2, 2010 @ 12:42 am | Reply

  7. I am glad that the IRL acted quickly on this. I only hope that Mr. Bernard will be given the full opportunity to turn things around for the IRL and not be “thrown under the bus” if results don’t turn around overnight.

    Good luck, Mr. Bernard!

    Comment by olvidado — February 2, 2010 @ 5:22 am | Reply


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