Finally, a small amount of rational thought has affected the oft-criticized Indy Car Series. The new man in charge of Hulman and Company, Mark Miles, has been paying a lot of attention to the Indy Car part of the organization. This is according to Anthony Schoettle of the Indiana Business Journal. The best news by far is that he is seeking a ‘czar’ with actual racing experience and a rolodex filled with potential sponsors.
According to IBJ, a likely group of potential Randy Bernard successors include Zak Brown, Scott Atherton (who ran the ALMS series), former NASCAR COO George Pyne, a former Jaguar Managing Director named Mike O’Driscoll and the former head of cart Andrew Craig.
If I were Miles I would immediately eliminate Atherton, O’Driscoll and Craig from consideration. Atherton may not be bad, but he presided over a road racing series that essentially failed. O’Driscoll is an older fellow who retired a few years back. IndyCar should be thinking younger. Any consideration of Andrew Craig calls into question the very sanity of anyone considering that as a choice. No better way to gain the support of owners than to hire someone they fired when they were actually in business.
That leaves Zak Brown and George Pyne. Both have motorsports, media and sponsor experience in the sport. That should be the short list. It is reasonable to assume Brown might be the most objective viewer of the ownership horror show that has characterized IndyCar for the past few years, and is mostly likely to take a pass. After all folks still state he will eventually take over for Bernie Eccelstone once that particular Napoleonic dwarf finally curls up all the way and goes the way of the wicked witch of the west. That leaves Pyne, who ran NASCAR until 2006. That may be the most intriguing possibility. He is not attached to the road racing niche (the soccer of racing in this country) and carries no baggage from the split-resultant boycott cart foisted on the sport. Plus, NASCAR grew immensely while he was in charge.
One thing is for certain: Jeff Belskus has no business being IndyCar CEO now or at any time in the future. He is an accountant with a penchant for not spending any money on anything. One drive under a tunnel at IMS proves that point. So good luck Mark Miles, and thanks for placing IndyCar at the top of the priority list. Make a wise choice and let whoever comes in do what they were hired to do.
Preferably before the end of the year.