Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 22, 2010

Randy Bernard and the IZOD Indy Car Series Rushing Headlong Into The Mid-1990s?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 10:54 am

How Randy Bernard is Being Guided

We are one race into the season, and still three more to go before we hit the first oval track. That is just wrong, particularly since three of the first four are idiotic street course abominations. The new IRL CEO has been talking a lot, and some of the things he has to say are potentially troubling; e.g., these nuggets shared with the St. Petersburg Times: ‘I’m not convinced that sanction agreements are always in the best interest of the league and I would like to see possibly co-promotions and I’d like to see possibly the bottom two events dropped every year so that we continue to make sure that we are bringing better value every single year to our fans…I’m sure promoters are not going to like to hear that, but those are the types of things that are very important to me.’ Hey, as long as the words do not translate into dumping more ovals for more non-ovals, especially God damned street parades, it might be OK.

NASCAR’s dwindling popularity (they did not even sell out Bristol) and Jimmie Johnson winning everything in sight provides additional opportunity for IZOD Indy Car. If I were them I would begin pulling two-Cup-date venues back to one a year. They need to readjust supply and demand.

Indy Racing then needs to get Michigan back on the schedule next year. The rhetoric of the past few years in which each entity blames the other should be shelved. Get it done. Re-institute some sort of ‘triple crown’ for big bucks.

Robin Miller Sits In For Dave Despain

Why Speed TV, NASCAR’s primary 24-7 broadcast wing, employs Robin Miller is debatable. Whenever he is on, especially when he is substituting for Dave Despain, he makes the entire channel look and sound like local cable access. His interview with Randy Bernard was filled with typical snide commentary; e.g., ‘…ask him how he’s going to right the sinking ship’ or ‘…go back to the way it used to be.’ Bernard let it be known that he is going to form a committee of seven to help him make decisions on future direction. The seven will include an owner representative.

Creeping Into Randy's Brain

Management by committee is always fraught with peril, especially when arrogant, self serving bastards are allowed into the decision making process. I sincerely hope Randy Bernard studies history. The most successful auto racing entities over time are those run by benevolent dictators. He needs to look no further than F-1 or NASCAR. The last thing we need is another spec road racing series that dumps all ovals except Indy. I like to be optimistic, but it appears as though Bernard’s brain has already been infested.

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16 Comments »

  1. I think it’s a bit premature to be criticizing Bernard at this point.

    Comment by redd — March 22, 2010 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  2. You know Defender, I was just getting ready to disagree with you until I saw the St. Petersburg Times Q&A with Randy Bernard to which you were referencing. The last part of that article worried me as well. While I’m not completely against road racing and street courses as you seem to be at times, I do agree that the ratio for ovals is out of line. This seems to be the perfect time for IndyCar to capitalize, especially as you pointed out, with napcar going down hill (Thank God!!!). As I mentioned in another post here, we need to bring back the triple crown. Michigan, Pocono, and Fontana need to be back on the schedule. (Obscure Star Trek: The Next Generation reference alert!) Like Captain Jellico told Commander Riker in Chain of Command, “I don’t care what it takes, get it done!”

    Comment by IndyFanMarquis — March 22, 2010 @ 1:39 pm | Reply

    • Until the number of cars racing on these tracks increases to over 30, These cars do not belong on either Fontana or Michigan, both tracks are just too big for only 22/24 Indy cars, they look like fleas on the track.

      Comment by rosco — March 22, 2010 @ 11:43 pm | Reply

      • If my memory serves me correctly, there has never been more than 30 cars to ever start on any of these tracks since the 1970’s, so that argument is moot. The IRL never had more than 27 cars start at either Michigan or Fontana. I do agree however that the cars are underpowered to run the big tracks, but if you are going to use that argument, then they shouldn’t be at Indy either.

        Comment by IndyFanMarquis — March 23, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

  3. The final nail in the coffin will be the new Indy Car which isn’t even open wheel.

    How ironic, it may take another split or a new American open wheel racing league to save American open wheel racing.

    USAC still out there somewhere?

    Editor’s Note: The whole new car thing is not a chicken I am willing to count until that particular egg is hatched.

    Comment by Bob F. — March 22, 2010 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

    • My guess is that many must not remember what happened to Silver Crown racing when some designer decided that he could revolutionize auto racing with a new design,the Ashmore design will go down in Motorsports History as maybe one of the top three failures, right next to the NASCAR COT design, IRL is Indy car racing, not some wet dream of a designer.

      Comment by Rosco — March 23, 2010 @ 12:00 am | Reply

      • I’m pretty sure that the Silver Crown cars weren’t redesigned on the whims of one designer. The idea was that USAC wanted to run those cars on the mile-and-a-half and two-mile ovals in order to get in front of more NASCAR fans’ eyes, which meant designing a new car from a clean-ish sheet of paper. Unfortunately, USAC teams are generally not well funded enough to be able to afford a whole new set of cars and spares, and the cars did not appeal to the hardcore USAC fans, so the car tanked. Decent idea, terrible execution.

        Comment by The Speedgeek — March 23, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  4. I actually support the new rules committee in regards to 2012. Only one seat is representing the owners and it seems logical that all stake holders would have a say in the up coming changes. F1 teams actually have a say through through FOTA. There is a huge difference between allowing the owners to give input on changes, as this is the case, and letting them dictate terms like in the old cart days.

    Comment by Matt — March 22, 2010 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

    • ^What he said.

      If 6 of the 7 seats were filled by team members then I could understand the vitriol. But they’re not. Bernard knows what he’s doing.

      Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — March 22, 2010 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  5. I really don’t have the answer. I would have thought that back in 2001 and 2002 when IRL races were making history with close endings, three abreast racing and lots of US drivers all would be solved; that should have been the answer; but it wasn’t.

    I don’t see the board idea as a problem since only one team owner will be present. I hope they can see that what NASCAR is doing now is slipping, so that forumula at this stage is also is not the answer. And rehashing the past will not work.

    Comment by Mike Miller — March 22, 2010 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

  6. Bernard’s committee is his way of backing the owners off a notch. He’s saying, “Just in case y’all thought you were going to just run right over the new guy, I’d like you to meet my friend General ‘Scoop’ McLooney. He’ll be in charge of picking the new chassis. But I strongly believe that the owners must be heard on this issue, so y’all put your heads together and choose a representative—you’ll have one vote.”

    7 person committee. 1 vote. I like that… a lot. So much for CART 2.0.

    Now, as for dropping the bottom two races off the schedule on a yearly basis… How the hell is that supposed to work? I’m all for dropping races that don’t cut the mustard, but is it really smart to do it in a programmatic way? Don’t you think maybe one ought to make a real decision? I mean, what if the IRL really starts kicking ass, and all the races are awesome? Are you really going to dump a successful, money-making race just because it happens to make 5 bucks less than another?

    Really?

    That’s going piss off fans in a very huge way.

    Comment by Boo Boo — March 22, 2010 @ 6:36 pm | Reply

  7. Lets hope that the owner representitve is Sarah Fisher.

    Comment by Chris Lukens — March 22, 2010 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  8. Sarah Fisher……there’s a brilliant idea. Use an owner that hasn’t even been full time.

    Comment by TroyM — March 22, 2010 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

  9. I agree with Boo Boo, bad races should be dropped, but not quite in the bottom two way Bernard mentioned. I think the comittee is a good idea, and an owners voice isn’t bad, since they’ve only got one vote. Owner wise, I’d say Penske first, but Fisher, that’s not really that bad of choice. Ganassi maybe, particularly if they adopt Delta Wing, but he’s kinda too invested in that project, so…

    But on the opportunity with NASCAR, Defender, you are SPOT ON!!!!! NASCAR ratings are falling, and Indycar is, I think, a likely destination IF it can capture their interest. Otherwise, they’ll go to NHRA and the local short tracks. But Indycar should be able to pick up on NASCAR fans, and if they could just get 1/4th of them into it, then ratings, attendance, ect. would all improve.

    Comment by Dylan — March 22, 2010 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  10. IMO There is a problem having an owner in the committee. Name me just one owner other than Sarah Fisher that really wants to be racing on ovals, I don’t believe that there is one in the bunch, all they care about is crash damage and they know that there is 90% less damage on Road and Street races than there is on the ovals.

    This committee needs to look into saving the teams $$, Brazil should be a good example that it is possible to Qualify and race the same day, by doing this it will save the teams and the IRL lot’s of money plus the cost of operating the race track will go way down, how many fans show up for qualifying? not very many.

    I have asked several just how much does each team receive for each race, seems that is top secret information, Roping Randy did mention on windtunnel Sunday night that they were going to establish the winners circle program and it looked like it would be for 24 teams, does this mean a team like SFR will not be a participant in the program even after steeping up and entering St Pete and Barber Motorsports park with an extra car. would be nice to see the payout published with the race results like it used to be.

    Comment by Rosco — March 23, 2010 @ 12:24 am | Reply

  11. I am with Bernard in dropping boring and poorly attended races, whether oval or road/street courses…how about we start with Kansas and Homestead…Kansas is an awful race that is poorly attended and Homestead, despite its steep banking and popularity with the drivers, is about as poorly an attended race as there is in the country…if 25K showed up for the ‘series finale’ last October, this was a generous estimate…but I am also keen on dropping any boring or poorly attended street/road courses as well…sure, Long Beach sucks as a race but it’s a popular draw with the Southern California community…keep what draws interest and jettison the dogs!

    Editor’s Note: Hopefully the schedule gets to a point where that does not have to be done. I would not drop Kansas. Having attended the past few at that track, I can say the crowds were not bad (last year the weather was awful) and neither was the racing. ESPN on ABC has done the most consistently lousy coverage for several years in a row, and I sincerely hope the quality Versus brings extends to potential NBC involvement for Indy Car.

    Comment by Neil Rubin — March 23, 2010 @ 3:46 pm | Reply


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