Here are some marching orders from actual fans that are deeply passionate about the future of the sport. This involves both Randy Bernard and Tony George, and we want you to pay very close attention. Last week Robin Miller unleashed a large pile of tin foil hat conspiracy theories that were more whacko than usual on the Speed TV website. Most of them had to do with his fear of what might happen if/when Tony George, with the assistance of hand-picked cronies, eventually gained control of IMS/INDYCAR, etc. after regaining a seat on the Hulman & Company board. Almost every scenario had Randy Bernard probably leaving in a huff.
I call bullsh*t. If I know Tony, he has probably distanced himself on purpose to give Randy and crew room to maneuver. Even if that is not the case, there are a few things that absolutely need to happen.
-Attention Randy Bernard: You have sought the counsel of everyone from owners to manufacturers to sponsors to television folks to Robin Miller to fans and lots of other constituencies. That is outstanding. One guy who actually does know, in a manner of speaking, where all the bodies are buried is Tony George. He has a passion for IMS that has not been seen since his grandfather was alive. He actively practiced Mr. Hulman’s philosophy of eschewing some profit in favor of improving the physical plant a little more every year. Tony would make a much better ally than some perceived sinister enemy. It is far too easy to buy into the stereotype idiots have created for him, but it is crucial that his input be considered. Get with him. Insist upon it.
-Attention Tony George: Up until now your involvement with Randy Bernard has been minimal, and that has probably been advisable. Now that the Bernard honeymoon is over I believe it is imperative for the two of you to work together as partners working toward mutual goals. I understand you may be nervous about, for example, new track records. IMS has killed more drivers than any other track. Your family has had to deal with every death since 1946. I understand the trepidation. I also understand fans like to see envelopes pushed, and none really have been since 1997. We also see that Randy has done more in a year than the IRL did in many before it. So work with him. Give him your support again publicly. Have dinner with him. Set it up as soon as he gets back from Europe.
If both parties approach this from a practical standpoint I believe even more great things could happen. One of the biggest obstacles to forward movement of the INDYCAR Series has got to be the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which is now led by overly conservative, risk-averse bean counters. As such, potentially great deals and promotion of its biggest event ever are slipping through cracks. That is probably an area Randy Bernard would like to see accommodated a little more aggressively. Tony George could definitely help facilitate that sort of change.
So please, for the sake of the sport and all of its fans, work together without cynicism to advance the stature of the sport. Do it for the fans. Randy, you are doing a wonderful job. Tony, help Randy reach even higher heights. This is no time to let egos get in the way of forward progress.