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« Uncle pressdog's Fireside Chat -- IndyCar Circus Music Edition | Main | Is the Monday IndyCar Shit Storm Over? (Peers out from Bunker) »

October 29, 2012

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Homer

Roger Penske was not happy:

https://twitter.com/JennaFryer/status/262717389639135234

BVielhaber

I've come to the point in life where I must be so jaded that every time I see a CEO, coach, etc. forced out, its just funny anymore. Its hard to take any of these moves with more than a grain of salt because you know the next warm body really has no power.

KT

Anyone but Tony George. I liked Randy but understand things may not have been all sunshine and roses behind the scenes. I just hope no Tony George (did I aready say that?)

Oilpressure

There are probably a lot of CEO-types out there that are just as qualified as Randy Bernard, if not more qualified. The question is: Why would they take this job?

You are correct in saying we don't know the facts. That's the problem - they should let us know. Clue us into what brought this on. Otherwise, we are left to assume that it is backroom politics at its finest.

I would almost prefer to learn that RB was guilty of embezzlement or something taudry, other than he ticked off the wring person. That would make this all understandable. But no - nothing like that happened. Nor will we hear anything from the board. We will just be stuck with more inneffective leadership from the old boy's network of Marion County.

Ted Wolfram

Family owned corporations are prone to making mistakes, and this is a perfect example. First: The board serves as advisers to the owners, if the owners want something...the board will dutifully comply. Being CEO for such an organization is like being only the messenger
.....He gets to tell the press that "the board" made a decision...and they did...they were told to fire RB and they did. TG leaving the board means nothing...he remains an owner and based upon what appears to be happening his resignation from the board was to either give him cover for RB"s firing or his legal counsel told him to resign so he could present to the other owners, (Mari, and his sisters) his buy-out plan. From public filings (this is a private company so ferreting out who controls what is difficult) it appears under a voting trust Mari has actual control...so stand by this isn't even close to be over.

DZ

DONE! Done, done, done.

4 great seats to the Indy 500 for sale.

The board will never 'get it' until they get a swift punch in the ticket booth, and even then, I've always wondered if (judging by their actions) Hulman and Company really and truly don't need Indycar/IMS.

Might they better off without it in their portfolio entirely? It may have a nostalgic significance to their company, but they sure don't act like it means much (from a fan/end-user/customer standpoint).

I've tried for DECADES to believe in what they're doing with Indycar, but it's painfully obvious now that it's just a poorly-managed piece of a larger portfolio.

I'll be watching, as a person who has been infatuated since I was a kid in the early 70s, but I can't continue to support their family business with the heart, soul, and $$$ as I have.

Plenty of other diversions out there and time for me to find one that, from the top to the bottom, appreciates and respects it's fan base.

redcar

The way this whole deal was handled demonstrates the Hulman-George family's arrogance and a lack of respect for Indycar fans. First--don't lie to me. If you're going to shitcan someone then tell me why he deserves to be fired and just do it. Secondly--don't continue to lie to me. And if you're going to fire someone, have someone in mind to replace the one you've just fired. What's the big effin' hurry anyway?

While Bernard wasn't perfect--he did a fine job under extraordinary circumstances. And perhaps the best thing about him is that he did everything with the FAN in mind and actually listened to FANS.

I know there's a lot of people out of work but who in their right minds would step into a no-win situation like this one? Apparently they not only don't have a Plan B, they don't even have a Plan A.

This whole deal has been handled so badly that it's embarrassing.

Ron Ford

"It's possible they hire a highly skilled professional" (see above) Sure, it is also possible that Detroit will stage a comeback and win the world series. Oh, wait.......

I think they just fired a highly skilled professional.

Brian McKay in Florida

"IndyCar's CEO needs to be the head cheerleader and promoter and spokesperson for the league."

AGREED

"He said the fans were important, repeatedly. ... He tried new stuff."

Mr. Bernard did not deserve to be dismissed prematurely. But, like you, I hope that Mr. Bernard enjoys some downtime, and I hope that he finds enjoyable work elsewhere.

Sabrina

Why would any competent CEO want to take over this job considering how the board treated Randy and their total lack of support and professionalism?

bradman

I can see it now, a new TV drama to follow in the legendary shoes of "Dallas" and "Dynasty"....wait for it..."Indy". Yes, the drama of an aging matriarch, in-fighting siblings, a stepson racer, behind the scenes business dealings with Europeans, various affairs both personal and otherwise with drivers, the trading off of said drivers (oh, hell, why not, the killing off of said drivers!). Seriously, you cannot make up the Hulman-George family.

Dylan

I didn't like everything Bernard did but I'm pretty upset about him being fired. Because I have a VERY hard time seeing how the new CEO (who they don't even have hired yet) will be able to equal or better Randy. I don't believe it's likely the new CEO will ever consider putting the interests of the fans above the team owners and other people involved in the series. I don't think it's likely the new CEO will ever do anything he doesn't think the board will love, and from what I've seen the board is pretty divorced from the reality of how fans think and feel. Possibly the new CEO will be (more) obsessed with the bottom line and only the bottom line, which likely means bad things for the fans. Think more pay races, no aero kits, and spec, cheap cars for eternity. Also how is Indycar going to develop a real plan of action over the off season to grow the sport if there's no leadership? All the issues (Schedule, engines, chassis, Lights car, tires) need to be addressed during the off season (to some extent)and I can't see great progress being made.

Randy's not "irreplaceable" but at the same time I'm not sure there's a lot of qualified people around to run Indycar. Inside the racing world, while NASCAR, MotoGP, and F1 are successful they also have a lot of issues and I'm not sure any of their management A. want's leave or B. could do a lot better in Indycar. Actually, I can say with confidence I don't expect Epezela (motoGP), Helton (NASCAR), or any of the top leadership of F1 to come over. As for say, someone from ALMS there's some issues there too. First off, do they even know what an oval is? Secondly, look at the fall of the ALMS, do they know what a fan is? USAC has issues and WoO is successful but I don't really see whoever leads those series coming over either. And a lot of thought is that someone from Europe will be brought in, which I find a bit concerning. Will they really put the interest of fans first, will they care about ovals, or even know what an oval is? Or will they try and turn Indycar into Formula one style processional racing where you can pick the winner based off qualifying?

Then there's the idea of either George or team owner control. Neither sounds promising. And the combination of both would be even worse. Now that we know Randy's gone the next step is to see whether or not the series itself is sold, and if it's sold to whom. Personally, I would be very concerned with Indycar being sold. As long as IMS and Indycar are together I believe Indycar, in some form, will survive. Separate them, and there's no guarantee the new group won't lose money and interest and kill it off.

kjr

I am an indycar fan, a fan of the drivers, a fan of fast cars and a fan of the greatest race in the world. I appreciate everything randy has done for the sport and I wish him the best of luck in his next job. All and all I'm not going anywhere as a fan, no matter who is the Ceo. I will continue to follow the series as I always have. The Ceo does not drive the cars I enjoy watching. The series will continue to grow and move on with whom ever is running it.

Dylan

As an add on, after reading Cavin's article, I'd say Brown might be okay, I don't know him at all so I can't really say for sure. Passion for the sport is good though. Ken Hudgens from AMA Supercross/Monster Jam ect. actually seems the most promising, as that fits the extreme sports mix I think Indycar should work for. Those autosports are fairly strong and successful. What it really comes down to is whether or not these people will get the support of the series ownership to hold power, or be in the same position Randy was in with risking being overthrown at a moments notice.

redcar

no competent CEO would accept this position, given the unrealistic expectations coupled with the treatment of Bernard.

so they'll hire an incompetent one.

and what the eff happened to my aero kits?

Ttomkat

I've been MIA mostly from Twitter and autosport news in general so it came as a surprise to read about Randy's firing on Twitter just a couple of hours ago, and it's pissing me off to no end.
I find my self in a quondry: I truly love IndyCar more than any other racing of any kind but am so enraged by this action by the Hulman-George family and the spineless IMS board that I'm not sure I want to support a group of people that in my opinion don't really care if the INDYCAR organization fails completely.
I think for now I'll try to maintain a 'wait & see' attitude to see who if they hire someone that will attempt to push the sport forward or just be another lapdog to the board and the family that controls it.
For now any plans I had to attend any IndyCar events have all been canceled.

ramblnman

Thanks pressdog for a professional and insightful article.

I'm equally impressed with the feedback from all of the above comments.

I'm definitely blog-enhanced.

Gary Patrick

Somehow I think the loss of the race in China had more to do with this than an insurrection of the team owners. I heard the sanction fee was over $8mil, with only a nominal deposit/cancellation fee. Indy Car had budgeted for that revenue. When it didn't materialize, some of the ownership group (TG?) were understandably upset. I liked a lot of what Randy did, but the collapse of the China race was a lot bigger deal than most made it out to be and I could understand why he could be canned over that. How he was canned, however, was an unmitigated disaster.

Carburetor

No reasonably sane, qualified person will want to become CEO of such a nepotistic, self-absorbed family-controlled business. Hopefully the Boston Group--if the Indy Car BOD truly hired them--got all of their money in a retainer and took the commission without any premise that their advice would be truly considered or listened to. Expecting this BOD to hire a highly-skilled professional when they have no concept of what being professional means, is a bit of a stretch. We're more likely to see pigs fly before they grasp the importance of professionalism and fan support.

Mike R

One can only hope that someone on the Board is paying attention to what the fans are saying here and basically everywhere else that they can speak their minds. But somehow, I doubt that it matters one iota to them anyway. Hopefully the sparse attendance that will possibly/probably result from this will get their attention.

Ted Wolfram

May I make one things clear? The board of the Hulman Corp...HAS ONLY THE POWER GIVEN IT BY THE FAMILY. So it might be wise to stop worrying about what the CEO or any other board member has to say...it means absolutely nothing. When Mari, and her four children make up their minds Belikus will pompously announce the "boards" decision. Based on recent events I doubt if they (family) have made up their collective minds.

If I were a family member the IRL dba as IndyCar would be sold,(or given away). The series can't survive without the Speedway, and the Speedway makes money...so it would be a win-win for The Hulman Company.

Tom G.

They won't name a new CEO. They essentially made the decision that they want complete control without having to trust an "outsider" to manage their property. Belskius has been a loyal soldier for the Hulman-George's, he will stay on as the long term "caretaker" until the series is sold to a group of owners.

On the bright side, my upgrade requests for the 500 might get me into the E Penthouse if we continue on this path. On the down side, they'll be running silver crown cars in the 500 by then.

GeorgeK

Wow, I've been off line without electricity since Monday, (thanks Sandy) so this is news, although not a surprise based on prior info that Randy's demise was imminent.

Can't say I can get excited about the change, the prospects for IndyCar with or without Randy at the helm were not very promising. Where the board or the Hulman-George family go from here may make the difference in the future of the series.

We all know that they have a succession plan in mind, whether it be TG or someone else. You don't force your CEO's hand to resign unless you have a succession plan in place.

I for one will wait and see how the drama unfolds. Hopefully when I get home I'll have power restored and follow any developments over the weekend.

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