Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 9, 2011

INDYCAR Owners: When The Cat Is Away The Mice Will Play

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:46 pm

Whenever INDYCAR owners as a group have decided to do anything collectively over the past 35 years or so, it has always scared the living hell out of me. It is not that they do not have anything to worthwhile to contribute. Some of the best ideas in the history of the sport have resulted from their input. That is not the issue. The issue is when they band together then try to impose their collective will.

That is how cart came about. The one thing Indy Car has lacked for a few decades is a benevolent dictator. Tony George was benevolent, but hardly a dictator. Randy Bernard is much better suited to deal with such insurrection.

The Japanese parent company made a decision to withdraw their Bridgestone and Firestone brands from auto racing. They are now gone from Formula 1 and will be gone from INDYCAR after 2011. Robin Miller reports on Speed TV’s web site reported yesterday that INDYCAR owners met and decided Firestone should not be allowed to leave. They indicated the series cannot afford to lose Firestone ‘regardless of price.’

So let me get this straight. Most of the owners continuously whine about high cost and lack of sponsorship, but money is no object when it comes to tires? Good Lord. Does anyone else notice these owner meetings always seem to occur when Randy Bernard is out of town or the country?

How about letting the process work itself out? Bernard is already in discussion with potential replacements. What would happen if more than one manufacturer became involved? Most people have been asking for changes to the package for years. Tire manufacturers have come and gone through the years. What is wrong with letting evolution take its course?

Perhaps there is something I am missing in their logic, and I am willing to listen to points that may not have been made in Miller’s column.



  1. I was under the impression that Bernard called the owner’s meeting, basically to see if the owner’s wanted to meet Firestone’s price. And he found out that they did. As far as the other manufacturers, and I’m just reading between the lines here–their start-up costs would supposedly equal what Firestone is asking anyway.

    I’d like to see a deal where Firestone stays with the series at least through the transition to the new car in 2012.

    Comment by redd — March 9, 2011 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  2. What you are saying is Indy Car racing needs a Kenesaw Mountain Landis. And you might be right. But these owners would have to agree to give Randy Bernard or whoever is in that position absolute authority. Even after the debacle of CART, I still don’t see that happening.

    Comment by Bob F. — March 9, 2011 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  3. This feels like you are reaching here so you can be critical of the car owners for past sins. Randy called the meeting to get their feedback, I don’t see how this is a revolt. Not everything is a conspiracy to destroy the 500 by the ownerrs.

    Comment by Matt — March 9, 2011 @ 4:33 pm | Reply

  4. So is Randy on Board with this or is this being done while he’s looking for a replacement?

    Comment by M. Miller — March 9, 2011 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  5. Revolt? Hardly. It’s owners saying they want a safe, dependable, tested, developed product; if Firestone is leaving solely because of money, they say they’re willing to make it worth their while to stay. It’s saying they’d rather stay with the devil they know, than the one they don’t. It’s realizing that any new tire supplier will have huge startup costs that will get passed on to them (it’s not like you can go down to NTB and buy off the rack). And if a new company does come in, they will be light years behind Firestone in terms of research, development, and experience. Oh, and add quality to that mix. Finally it seems like it’s owners taking off the beancounting hat.

    Comment by Steven Kornya — March 9, 2011 @ 10:05 pm | Reply

  6. Let firestone go, just remember the pullout in f-1 and the Ford explorer debacle. I will never buy firestone tires again, their way or the highway.In america we stick it out when times get tough.

    Comment by steve — March 10, 2011 @ 7:30 am | Reply

  7. Indycar is doomed, doomed I tell you. Your pathetic series will not be able to run without those black bits of rubber on the wheel rims. At least bridgestone was very heavily involved in champcar, thus meaning it had a good tire supplier, unlike indycar (or should that be indycaronconcreteblocks). Indycar will probably end up with a second or third rate dodgy chinese tire company like hoosier, triangle or nankang, respectively.

    Comment by TroyM — March 10, 2011 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  8. Troy, welcome to 16 consecutive years of being wrong. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Robin Mueller — March 10, 2011 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

  9. I see Firestone is staying. Maybe the owners aren’t so bad after all.

    Comment by Bill B. — March 11, 2011 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  10. I guess you’re ok now to go buy some more Firestones for the family wagon.

    Editor’s Note: No, I think I am done with Firestone. I will be spending my money in the near term at a Service Central company.

    Comment by Gary — March 12, 2011 @ 6:36 pm | Reply

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