IndyCar executive's fast exit leaves unanswered questions

July 13, 2012
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The loss of IndyCar Series Chief Operating Officer Marc Koretzky doesn’t rate up there with Danica Patrick defecting for NASCAR, but it certainly doesn’t appear to be a positive development for the open-wheel series.

Series officials are giving no reason for Koretzky’s departure or any information on where he’s headed. A voice mail left on Koretzky’s cell phone this morning asking for an explanation went unanswered.

Koretzky's departure isn't the sort of thing that affects fans much. But it might make the series' corporate partners who dealt with Koretzky wonder about the series' stability and direction. It's up to Bernard to assure those interests all is headed in the right direction.

Following October’s 2011 season finale—which was cut short by the accident that killed Dan Wheldon—Bernard replaced 15 percent of the series’ front office staff and overhauled the series’ executive ranks. It’s not clear if Koretzky is another step in Bernard’s house cleaning or if the series COO simply dashed off for greener pastures.

The latter wouldn’t be uncommon in the world of professional sports, where the next BBD (Bigger Better Deal) seems to be just around every corner. It’s important to note that the rest of Bernard’s new executive staff stays in place. So I’m not suggesting a mass exodus or Armageddon.

But this much is clear. In March when I interviewed Koretzky, 35, he had been given broad authority by Bernard in day-to-day matters and was designated as one of the key people who was going to help transform the series. He also was a chief player in the series’ marketing efforts.

As part of his staff re-organization last fall, Bernard promoted Koretzky from director of business development to COO.

“We became familiar with Marc through his work with [IndyCar team owner] Roger Penske on the Super Bowl in Detroit,” Bernard told me in March. “He’s articulate, goal oriented and very focused.”

Bernard’s confidence in his lieutenant was bolstered last year when Koretzky headed promotions for the series’ finale in Las Vegas, including brokering a deal to have 34 open-wheel cars paraded up and down the city’s famous strip. The race ended badly, but the marketing and promotions for the race were solid.

Koretzky in March described his role with the series this way: “I’ll handle all the little details on a granular level. I’m the guy from the corporate side working behind the scenes.”

Koretzky to-do list this spring included working on promoting the series’ new engine and chassis formulas; raising the profile of series drivers; and helping improve television and other media coverage of the series.

But there was one even higher priority.

In March, Koretzky was clearly displeased with the way IndyCar departments communicated and worked with one another. He felt it was hindering the series from achieving a unified approach to its challenges. Koretzky had hoped to be a facilitator and to improve cohesion within IndyCar’s front office. It’s not clear if he achieved that goal.

“My first priority will be to further develop the executive team and make sure we have a common vision,” Koretzky said.

Before joining IndyCar in May, 2011, Koretzky worked with the NFL as director of operations for Super Bowl committees in Atlanta, Houston and Detroit.

Koretzky, who has an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Georgia State University, also has done operational consulting work for the NCAA’s Final Fours and at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Prior to coming to the IndyCar Series, Koretzky served as director of strategic development for Atlanta-based 360 Sports Academy LLC, a firm that offers training and consulting for student-athletes and their parents.

He certainly seemed like the type of guy you’d want to keep on your staff. But then again, talk is cheap.

Maybe with Koretzky, the rubber never met the road, and Bernard did a quick 180-degree turn. Or perhaps Koretzky ran into an impassable chicane. We may never know.

Either way, only one thing matters to the series' corporate partners. Chicanes and 180-degree turns aside they need to be assured that Bernard and the remaining executives are united in propelling this series in a single direction. Up.
 

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  • The Key Metrics
    with the 5 remaining fans is level; the title sponsor has sent its trackside media rep to two races this year. Everything is looking good. Randy is hoping Izod will re-up & I'm hoping Genevieve Morton accepts my latest marriage proposal.
  • Dog and Pony Show
    This guy was WAY too qualified for the job. Also, when a qualified person bolts mid-season it leads me to believe Mr. Koretzky found the closet where all the dysfunctional skeletons are hidden. You know, the reason why they call it 16th and Jonestown.... Sometimes it's hard to accept, but, Penske outsiders planted inside are the first to go in a family business. Just another day in paradise. I nominate media mogul and lifelong IRL supporter John Howard to assume the position.
  • new book
    This does not appear good for the series. I can't have that! I'm going crazy at TF trying to keep everyone calm with my witty sayings and positive talk about negativity. I think my head is going to explode over this one. Bad news waaaa! Please by my new book on Kindle!
  • RMS Titanic
    When an organization loses a key member of its executive management it indicates that things are not moving in a positive direction. One can only question as to why the COO left and the reasons based upon it. It simply states in my opinion that Indy car has struck and iceberg and the COO is leaving the ship before he gets wet. Smart move in my opinion. Always best to leave a sinking ship before it goes down. I certainly wouldn't want my italian Gucci loafers to get wet either !!
  • Hey Randy
    When has the IRL in its entire 17 years of existence ever moved in a positive direction? It was created to destroy.
  • I See The Obsessed Kids Are At It Again
    ....and it did. cart. Twice. When will the handful of you get past it?
  • Nothing to see here
    Why would a COO leave with all of the huge crowds and "key metrics up in targeted demographics " ?????? LOL
  • Fired
    Ummm....HE WAS FIRED, as in you either resign right now or you will be terminated. Robin Miller reported as much on 1070 with JMV. So he did not jump ship, he was told to walk the plank.
  • As if Robin Miller
    knows anything
  • Nothing New Here
    Mr. Koretzky is just the latest in the long line of people who've come to realize that IRL can't be marketed outside the few Speedway gomers who think Indycar should be the open wheel version of NASCAR, with all the wrecks and carnage included. Hold up 3 fingers for Dale and throw a chicken bucket on the track. Next marketer, sign up and waste a few months of your life.
  • Pathetic
    You know its pretty bad when even the defenders of the sport won't dare make a comment on Anthony's blog. Just how bad is it? Indy Car just isn't cool anymore.
  • Nothing to see here...
    ...just another suit lapel and power-tie on a fresh-scrubbed face moving on to whatever is clever...minor league baseball, WNBA, NHRA, bowling, whatever third-tier status sport will take on a young 'un. True, rumor has it he was going to be ash-canned, but that is a blessing at W. 16th. It is not a major event overall, but still, despite scuttling some light weight... ...the bulkheads are breaking and the deck rivets are a poppin'....Disciple, see if you can get the band to strike up "Back Home Again In Indiana" whilst we assist the few remaining woman and children to the rescues. Vamos!
  • Word on the street...
    Edmonton is this weekend....who knew? Series invisibility is massive. Looks to be a flood out and possibly more embarrassment for the indy car series. Edmonton once had 175k to 200k for racing there..now, 25k to 40k for the whole weekend. What happened? Toronto was abysmal as well. Randy, you should have apologized. Not many people left at 16th and Jonestown to make walk the plank for your indiscretions. Personally, I've never seen the series in such dire straits...
  • Deadmonton, Alberta
    This will be the last time the cars and stars race the runways. Randy, please submit your resignation. It is time, sir.
  • Why should Randy Quit
    as if someone other than the France family could make a difference
  • It's not CART
    I have a theory that Canadians know that Indy is short for crapwagon...ala the 2012 IZOD Indy car series. But seriously, it's not CART, is it folks? I mean, that's the direction Randy's taking the sport (with Robin's leadership) and it just ain't working. This is like sticking the NEW Coke in a regular Coke can....the consumers know the difference and ain't buying it. Too bad the producers can't figure it out.
  • Nothing Eludes Their Grasp Except Sense
    Do you obsessed kids ever get tired of trolling?
  • Non-Existent IndyCar Series
    Unless one actually looks and searches for IndyCar news, it is not there. The series is virtually non-existent for 99.9 percent of the population. Honestly. One has to SEARCH for the sport to come into contact with it. Can't say that about baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and American Idol now can we? Football? The NBA? Big Bang Theory or Taylor Swift songs. IndyCar is a search sport. Search for it. I'll bet not more than 250,000 people in the entire USA are even aware there is an Edmonton race. And I may be generous. Randy, your resignation, please. Please!
    • Any free beer in Edmonton?
      Dipsicle's last mirage (if you recall) had CART-era HUGE Toronto crowds only being there for FREE BEER. Same lame-o excuse for Edmonton Free Friday? Where have the crowds gone, and why? Dipsicle, do YOU have any answers, or just more Hulman-esqe double-speak?
    • Re: Phoenix
      You can't hold a race where there are no ticket buying fans,,,,unless the Family wants to drop another million or so to do so. Let's see, no sanction fee minus another million out of the coffers,,,that has success written all over it. The IRL is looking more and more like deserted Nazareth Speedway every day.
    • Bulletin!!!
      Here's the ggrate announcements from this weekend: - Lotus is OUT in 2013, failure - Edmonton almost out for 2013 - Nobody is watching on NBCSports again - Bob Jenkins out in 2013 - Penske wins again Banner weekend for the IRL.
    • Resignation?
      It goes deeper than Randy's resignation. The whole series needs to go away. New owners, new cars, everything must be made new and fresh. You can't polish a turd, everyone knows its a TURD. Just end it so we can start a REAL series again!
    • Agree with Dan
      Randy needs to resign now. But maybe that is irrelevant. Everything needs to go. Yes, I agree. Do-over. USAC. Five to six oval races tops, April to October. The Indy 500 is everything. A Fontana race here, a Gateway race there. Whatever. It is not a major series sport any longer. It is an Indy 500-Only sport but still could use a handful of other modest oval races spread out over the summer. Cars that cost $200,000 tops. Tops. Stock-block run-watcha-brung's with an allowable turbo equivalent. Cheap. Sure they'll blow up. That is racing. Safety first, though, and so on. It is all about the Indy 500 and a race here and there on a summer night. The glam-boy twitter-geek, glitz and glam series stuff is noticed by no more than 300,000 people in America, if that. Series dead. Ain't nobody carin'. Do-over time.
    • Why should Randy resign
      ?????
    • DEADmonton 0-16-ish
      Word out of DEADmonton, less than 200,000 viewers of the great race at the airport. About 0.16eree. Randall? Your resignation, please. And why wouldn't you, lad? 0.16ee. Not to goodie.
    • Indy Car stinks
      TV ratings for past 3 races: Iowa 0.18 on NBCSN; Toronto 0.8 on ABC; Edmonton 0.12 on NBCSN. WOW, who's left at 16th and Jonestown to get fired for this abysmal TV ratings bonanza? If you combine it with the non-sanction fee races, the China race failure, Lotus engine failure, the Las Vegas debacle, Baltimore...eeeegads, I know who'd be gone in a flash.
    • Or put another way
      Roughly 0.00077 percent of Americans view IndyCar racing on television based on this seasons television ratings.
    • Or put yet another way
      Every way a person can view IndyCar racing on TV, radio, website, or in person, (excluding the Indianapolis 500) is tallying less than 1 percent of the American population in 2012. Everything.
    • An Adult Viewpoint
      ...mirroring the vast majority of sports programming offered on hundreds of mostly obscure television channels these days. The chicken littles rarely fail to factor in actual reality while obsessively screeching non-stop with the ferocity of a street preacher. Not everything can or will be as popular as major stick and ball sports, and Indy racing never has been.
    • Reality check-up
      Dipsicle, it (IICS) is barely challenging other forms of racing in the same timeslot. I.E. - Nascar nationwide series had a 2.2 tv rating in same timeslot at Chicagoland versus the IRL at Edmunton which got a 0.12. Why is there such less interest in the IRL? What's happening? This is a trend DOWNWARD for the IRL...Randy, are you paying attention? RESIGN bud, it ain't working.
    • Randy Is Not The Problem; Merely The Cat Herder
      Here's a question. In other venues you claim not to watch even one second of IndyCar. Why, then, would you comment so repetitively and obsessively about it? You know more about it (odd, juvenile spins aside) than 99% of the fan base. Is not watching but commenting nonstop the height of hypocrisy? Or are you just lying?
    • This is a BUSINESS blog
      I do not watch, nor go to any IRL races. However, I am on the pulse of the sport from the business perspective especially when no one attends or watches on TV. I also have a very keen interest the direction of this sport as I regularly advocate for AOW's survival despite the wretched hands that destroy it now. Hey, maybe Randy should have apologized....maybe I would have gone or watched by now. Oh well.
    • Why should Randy apologise
      he didn't cause the situation, but the Dipsicle could get the ball rolling. He's already on record as saying he wished it would just collapse already
    • Mid summer hiatis
      Qingdao Indy 600, Qingdao, China - August 19, 2012. Who's going? What happened?
    • Mid summer hiatis
      Qingdao Indy 600, Qingdao, China - August 19, 2012. Who's going? What happened?

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