IZOD Indy Car CEO Randy Bernard quashed rumors of an impending coup by the series’ team owners in a meeting with the media Sunday morning at Belle Isle Park.
After exposing a rogue member of Indy Car ownership with a Twitter message , four days ago, Bernard today said that he and the owners had a beneficial meeting overnight that helped to clear the air.
“We had a very productive meeting with the team owners yesterday,” Bernard began. “We are making significant strides with the series and we needed to discuss how to keep moving ahead.”
Bernard said that he has had separate meetings this weekend with a number of the team owners, but also said that while the team owners are immensely important to the growth of the sport, he isn’t working for them.
“I am here because of the board of directors. That’s who I am responsible to,” Bernard reported. “I would like to work with everyone. I’m going to make people mad along the way, but that’s part of the job. I don’t think my position was ever in danger by the Board of Directors though.”
Flush with the success of a hotly-contested Indianapolis 500 last weekend, Bernard is counting on today’s Belle Isle event to help build that momentum toward a busy month. Today’s race is the second in a streak of five races in five consecutive weekends, with three of those airing on ABC.
“We had great weather around the nation, no Danica (Patrick), and we were coming off of the Centennial celebration. I was worried. But to see the ratings go up eight percent is exciting and show that we’re making progress,” Bernard said. “We’re going to see real quickly when the events stack up like this. I think that we are really going to build some momentum in these events.”
But while he was bullish on the summer slate, he admitted that he had concerns about whether the proposed event in Xingdao, China will make it to harvest.
We’re not 100 percent on China, but we have a backup plan,” Bernard admitted. “I want to give China every opportunity to succeed. We’ve been there, met the new leadership, trying to do every thing we can to help the event.”
Bernard would not discuss the whereabouts of a backup venue, although there may be a ready-made substitute sitting in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, who is hosting the American Le Mans Series on that weekend, and conveniently has Sunday open on the schedule.