IndyCar CEO, team owners not on same page

September 14, 2011
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IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard has done some good things in his second year as the head of the open-wheel series. His insistence on double-file re-starts and the overall success of the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix are among his biggest 2011 victories.

But arguably his biggest gamble—a bid to bring in an all-star cast to challenge IndyCar regulars at the season finale in Las Vegas—fell flat.

The idea gets an A, the execution gets an F. Trying to pass off 2011 Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon as an outside challenger for $5 million is a poor attempt to save a stunt gone wrong. Wheldon is a denizen of the IndyCar Series but doesn’t have a full-time ride this year.

The idea floated by Bernard was to bring in some of the best drivers from other series and offer them a pile of cash to take on the IndyCar drivers, which Bernard has been touting this year as the world’s best.

If Bernard had a do-over on this one, my guess is he might do a little more due diligence. The fact that two IndyCar team owners put the brakes on the promotion by not letting outside racing stars in their cars shows how disparate some of Bernard’s ideas are from the thinking of the owners in the series he leads.

Two-time CART champ Alex Zanardi was ready to enter in a Chip Ganassi car, and NASCAR star Kasey Kahne was prepared to jump in a Roger Penske-owned car, but neither of the owners wanted the distraction from the series championship. Ganassi’s Dario Franchitti and Penske’s Will Power are in a tight battle for the IndyCar title. The season-ending race in Las Vegas Oct. 16 will likely go a long way in deciding the series overall championship.

While I understand the need to win, I wonder about the wisdom of Ganassi and Penske’s decision not to field the willing newcomers.

While Bernard has inched up television ratings and attendance this year, the series is still in bad need of a jump start. And while I wouldn’t advocate a circus-like atmosphere, it’s difficult to imagine that Penske, Ganassi and Bernard couldn’t have put together something for the Las Vegas challenge that wouldn’t have been too big of a distraction for those two team’s primary drivers.

I have to believe that team sponsors would love anything that brings more viewers. Wheldon circling the oval in Las Vegas won’t do much to spark interest, even if the series is offering half his bonus to a fan in the stands. Here’s hoping that drawing goes better than the drawing for starting spots in Texas.

It should be noted that Bernard’s other top choice for the Las Vegas challenge, action-sports star Travis Pastrana, intended to compete until breaking his foot in the X Games in late July. But less face it: It was going to take a top NASCAR or Formula One driver to gain any serious publicity. And since securing a good F1 driver—even a recently retired one—would be next to impossible, Bernard’s big hope had to rest with landing a big-name good old boy or two. He should have had that commitment nailed down, along with cooperation from IndyCar team owners, before launching the doomed promotion.

Since Bernard has a history of being a top-rate promoter, I expect him to have solid, creative ideas. But to be an effective CEO and to grow the open-wheel enterprise, his execution has to be better.

Heading into 2012, when the new chassis and engine formulas are set to debut, there's no better time for Bernard to improve his own track record. If he's not able to do that, I suspect it might not be too long before he's back to the bullring.
 

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  • Lot of Bull
    Anthony posts the most Bull of any other sports blogger I know.
    • this is real
      The fact that this promotion fell flatter than a pancake seems like an obvious observation. I like Randy just fine, but the LV challenge accomplishes none of his goals. None. Which part of that exactly is BS?
    • Pastrana vs. F1
      Pastrana would get a whole hell of a lot more attention from an American audience than any F1 star ever would, and that audience would be in the preferred demographic rather than INDYCAR's geriatric fan base.
    • Bad idea, Randy
      Anthony, I don't agree the Las Vegas concept gets an "A". More like a tepid C. Once Randy learned he wasn't going to get NASCAR or (Yeah, sure) F1 drivers, he should have canned the idea. Better to cut bait early than run the risk of ongoing public embarassment.

      That Wheldon hasn't had a regular ride in the series is unbelievable. Here's your Indy 500 champion - the only race that has national significance - sitting in the broadcast booth while immediately forgettable drivers back mark every Indy Car race.

      Regardless, the nation's sports fans have now turned their attention to football and all auto racing news (including the ho-hum NASCAR Chase)will fall back to small blips on local and national sports pages.
    • The truth hurts
      BS? Funny. The Gomers are out coming to the defense of anyone who speaks the truth about the joke of a series that resides at 16th and Jonestown.
    • Service
      Great news Race info
    • Suggestion
      They should build a wide body car and put AJ in it with a few extra horsepower
    • Proof Read
      It's hard to take anything serious from a guy who does not even proof read his own story. "He should have had that commitment nailed down, along with cooperation from IndCar team owners" IndCar.....really Anthony?? Add one more level of unprofessionalism to your resume.
      • Not Randy's fault
        He tried. He failed. The sport is simply not popular with 99.9 percent of the population, about 75 percent of who have never even hard of it. Mayeb they knwo the name "Indy 500". That's it.

        There is nothing Randy can do. He heads a sort that is fading away and there is nothing he can do to bring it back. It is no longer relevant and people simply do not care.

        I wish peopel would stop trying to suggest the sport is goign to make a comeback. It won't. It had a great, century-long run and now it is over.

        Things die.
      • Attempted deflection
        The topic here is the epic failure of the ICS, once again. Not a missed key stroke that no one gives a **** about. Except Gomers.
      • Burl Don't Care
        Gee Burl, does your diatribe include the great crowd in Baltimore? I rekon those buzzards you have slated for IndyCar flew elsewhere, don't you? Perhaps they're roosting in your trees after all your dying predictions....you and your simpleton buddies.

        Sigh........
      • Time to Move On..
        If a closely challenged final can't draw attention to Indy Car and increase its ratings, another poorly conceived gimmick won't.

        I'll give Dan Wheldon credit when credits due, but he hasn't driven full time this season for a reason. Outside Indy Car circles he's not a known personality. And let's face it winning the 2011 Indy 500 was all luck not exceptional talent on the day.

        Giving Wheldon a shot at $2.5 Million when the series champion gets $1 Million is insulting to the teams and drivers that have worked hard all season, and put so much on the line for Indy Car. The $5 Million challenge should have been abandoned when at first it failed. Focus on Franchitti, Power, give them the attention they've earned throughout the season. Focus on Indy Car.

        There is clearly a disconnect between the teams and Bernard which will have ramifications. Someone's not listening and I very much doubt it's the team owners.

        It's past the point where Bernard's ability to turn around Indy Car should be questioned. So far his track record amounts to cheap marketing ploys that have failed miserably. Broken assurances and grandstanding statements that have no substance or merit. Indy Car looks more desperate than ever. Two years is more than enough time to figure out if the guy's capable.

        Bernard has an out if the Vegas final doesn't rate higher than 0.8. I for one hope he lives up to his word and quits on the spot.
        • Free Publicity is Failure?
          Randy Bernard has done more to advance the sport in two years than the owner-managed and twice-failed cart series did in two decades. His problem is not lack of intelligence, determination, creativity or shaking up the status quo...it is the albatross and boat anchors known respectively as Penske and Ganassi.

          They have elevated the Indy Car ceiling over the years, but at their core they remain arrogant private club racers with their own interests at heart and not those of the sport.

          Randy Bernard is learning a valuable lesson (that a lot of people warned him about) the hard way.

          These cute little 'owners meetings' in which their agendas and self interests are interjected should be squished. Mutiny should never stand. If Indy Car loses Penske and Ganassi it would no longer matter. Besides, where are they going to go? NASCAR exclusively? See ya.

          Oh, and Anthony, how can a $5 million wager be considered a 'failure' if everyone but Wheldon is too afraid to try try it? And for all the scorn heaped on Penske and Ganassi, how can the failure of takers be 'blamed' on them or Bernard anyway?

          I wish those with access to column space had the benefit of a little more experience in these motor sports matters.
        • Move On To Who?
          Ok guys and girls! WHO would you suggest as the next CEO that could do a better job with what they are given! Get your facts straight including the writer of the story! TG made a mess of things and it can not be fixed in 1.5 years. I hope to hear a good answer to WHO you would have run this circus! Bernard needs to be like the frances and if the owners dont want to play, there will be owners that do and at the end of the day that is what the sport needs!
          • Get Over Yourself
            DIC get over yourself!

            What exactly has Randy Bernard done in the last 2 years to advance the sport??

            Without Penske and Ganassi the sport wouldn't exist. That's a fact.

            It's not people were afraid to try for the $5 m. The best drivers simply didn't give it serious consideration. It was a joke to begin with.
          • CEO
            "WHO would you suggest as the next CEO that could do a better job with what they are given"

            Any good CEO brings to the table. They don't rely on what's sitting in front of them.

            Maybe if ICS wasn't such a joke it could attract a worthy CEO.
          • Welldone is the only one
            who has no future or anything else to do outside an irl backbreaking crapwagon.
          • Not a popular sport
            That is the problem. My mantra. You an slice and dice the facts all you want, but the truth is: Most of this nation has never heard of Dan Wheldon, Dario, OR Will Power and could care less.

            Dying sport. Truly.

            Let IndyCar die peacefully. Why the death gurgle?
          • Move On To Who?
            Dan without naming individuals, I know several people more than capable of fixing the problems at Indy Car. Would they consider the position. Probably and possibly.

            The question is not who can do the job, there are many suitably qualified people, it is when will the George's figure out the person leading Indy Car is not qualified to do so and remedy the situation.
          • well, it took the Family 15 years
            to figure it out the first time around
          • No Answers? Just Negativity!
            I posted my question over 45 minutes ago and instead of someone giving a viable solution, people just choose to trash Indy Car. Noone made you haters watch Indy Car or read this article, but you chose to!
            I can guarantee everyone here that Indy Car is here to stay and they will be bigger and better as time goes by. I assure you Jimmy J that Randy has brought more to the table than ANY other CEO of an Entertainment compant would have! Everyone should realize what is not on the surface is what is important!
            Penske and Gannassi are virtually non factors in NASCAR for the simple fact that NASCAR does not allow the owners to make the rules and these two guys are not used to being told what to do. Thus the reason Penske runs Dodge and Gannassi has had to combine his team with not one, but two teams just to stay afloat, ALL he has is Target! Without Target, he would be Nothing! Penske finally has no more Marlboro money and is funding part of his team himself, next year he will not run 3 cars and you will see the sport finally grow with these two anchors merely as pool floats!
            • Name Them!
              Roger, Why not name them? I am sure whoever it is would be flattered, if they are capable and would possibly consider it. I am not so sure what the problems are that people seem to think are so easily fixable? If it is the television package, then you better call Tony George, he locked that up! What are the other problems? They have good events, strong corporate backing that I know for a fact, strong returns to those said corporate partners, and 25+ teams show up every week to race with no subsidizing. What is missing that you do not think will be better in 2012?
            • Full of it..
              Danny boy you're as full of it as DIC.

              How do you back this up. Give us a break. How about some specific examples??

              "Randy has brought more to the table than ANY other CEO of an Entertainment compant"

              Now come on was this posted by Dan or Randy??
            • Don't Expect Answers From This Bunch, Dan
              A benevolent dictatorship is what Indy Car needs. Big Bill France used to enforce his rules with a loaded firearm. Randy Bernard cannot get away with that these days, but he should definitely channel that mentality.

              Oh, and to all our little Indy Car obsessed critics who continuously portend impending doom: Your track record is 100% wrong. As long as IMS is standing there will be Indy Car. To deny that fact is to admit your complete lack of understanding and knowledge. The repetitive, nonsense tone of your obsessed rambling confirmed your delinquency some time ago.

              The Las Vegas challenge is only a failure in the deluded minds of those predisposed toward painting a picture based upon whacko subjectivity anyway.
            • YAWN!!
              "The Las Vegas challenge is only a failure in the deluded minds of those predisposed toward painting a picture based upon whacko subjectivity anyway."

              YAWWWWNNN! DIC I bet your so much fun to hang out with. Assuming you venture beyond the computer screen. So many alias to keep you busy. LOL
            • ANSWER?
              DIC you ignored my question?

              What exactly has Randy Bernard done in the last 2 years to advance the sport??

              • ??
                Dan aka Randy I posted my question over 30 minutes ago but instead of you giving a viable answer you've chosen to hide in the corner.

                Back this up with specific examples??

                "Randy has brought more to the table than ANY other CEO of an Entertainment compant"

              • Answer!
                Randy has brought sustainability to the series itself. No more propping up the teams, no more long term contracts with venues that do not pay sanctioning fees, no more bleeding of cash flow! This has been accomplished by a CEO as well as executive team by creating stronger teams, venues as well as securing corporate partners with strong sustainability in the marketplace. Verizon, Izod, Go Daddy, HP, Honda, Firestone would have ALL left the sport, just like previous sponsors had done in the past if Randy had not been there. New partners are signing weekly, new venues are calling indy car, where as in the past they had to do the calling. Chevrolet, Lotus are coming on board, and Ford was in Baltimore sniffing around. A Healthy League will garner Healthy Teams! I am Not Randy, nor am I DIC. I hope this answers your questions Jimmy J and Roger, and if you can back anything you have said up with viable facts, I am willing to listen, but I assure you what I have said is Fact, Not fiction!

                Now it is your turn to answer, what exactly is wrong with Indy Car, Who would you say would be a better CEO of a entertainment company, and What is wrong with Indy Car that you believe it will die?
                • Quote Me Correctly!
                  Here is Exactly what I said: "I assure you Jimmy J that Randy has brought more to the table than ANY other CEO of an Entertainment compant would have!"

                  Can you dispute that?

                • Vegas Flop
                  The idea was ill-conceived, poorly planned, improperly executed, and destined to fail.

                  This series is controllled by mutually beneficial partners Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi. Everyone else is a bit player.

                  It has destroyed the sport as a true professional, major league-style entity and made it nothing more than expensive folly with a vastly diminished audience.

                  It may well survive. But only as as club entity. It simply cannot be taken seriously otherwise.
                • Back to Reality
                  Hey guys. Reality here. Just wanted to remind you that yes, IndyCar's ratings are up. Yes, attendance is on the incline (spare Milwaukee). Yes notariety from the series as well as car counts are consistently higher than in seasons past.

                  So you don't have an actual "outsider" running... BIG DEAL! The Dan Wheldon compromise is pretty damn cool if you ask me. I would love to see him come from the back and add to the Cinderella status that has catapulted him into the mainstream since Indy.

                  As for RB. If you aren't a fan, then you haven't really been paying attention. Remember the fact that we had a CEO for 15 years who gave us the same cars for 9 of them. Remember that guy? He's the guy who saw ratings and attendance going south as well. The new guy (RB) has done more in 2 years than the other guy did in 15. Period. No sensible individual can complain. Wait a minute... I didn't mean to call any of you sensible. That would just be silly...
                • The Solution
                  There is a solution, by the way, if you don't like the current status of IndyCar. Save up arond $100 million and start your own open wheel racing league. Then you can fix all of the "problems" you have with the current series.

                  Look how well that has worked in the past...
                • The Answer Man On The Job
                  Quoting one of the darkly obsessed: "What exactly has Randy Bernard done in the last 2 years to advance the sport??"

                  More than U.E. Patrick, John Frasco, John Caponigro, William Stokkan, Andrew Craig, Joe Heitzler, Bobby Rahal and Kevin Kalkhoven combined, and in a fraction of the time.

                  Indy Car is a viable, growing entity when measured in an objective 2011 landscape. It has enthusiastic title sponsorship, two paid TV deals, attendance that tops 1.2 million per year, demo specific ratings trending upward, series sponsorship that is approaching the $200 million mark annually, and continues to open and grow new markets; e.g., Barber, Iowa, etc.

                  To imply Bernard's tenure is a failure based on no takers for the $5 million offer is something that exceeds the boundaries of abject stupidity by a significant margin.
                  • Kool Aid
                    Danny boy you've been drinking the kool aid. I can tell you for a fact most everything you've said is utter BS. Especially the no more propping up teams and not bleeding cash flow.

                    If the teams were so flush do you think they would have argued against the aero kits? They can't afford them! Fact.

                    Verizon is the highest paying sponsor. At $1m a year. Ummm that'll go a long way.

                    Your bud is giving away sponsorship at the moment hoping and praying to the man above they'll one day pay for it. Fact.

                    News Flash: Lotus is out. Fact.

                    Who's a better CEO of an entertainment company. Are you f'n serious? Where should I start??

                    Hey I didn't call for Indy Car's death I said it's become more of a joke under your buddy Randy's management than it ever was. Fact.

                    Them's the facts my friend.
                  • More Chiding of the Helplessly Obsessed
                    How can owners not afford aero kits but voluntarily spend twice as much as before on tires?

                    I also find it amazing how open and accessible Indy Car's books seem to be to obsessed Internet squatters. Now that's transparency. LOL.
                    • DIC
                      "series sponsorship that is approaching the $200 million mark annually"

                      DIC did you really believe Randy when he said they're on track to make $175m this year. Come on now. IMS sure. Not the series.

                      If they crack these numbers then surely they'll make a profit for the first time ever. Correct??

                      Two TV deals = $10.4m. Wow!

                      1.2 million attendance. Hmmmm.

                      Average 380Kish viewers per race. Yeah Baby! Not.

                      Viewers growing by double figures. 10% = 30K. Watch out NASCAR!!

                      Your hatred of CART. Priceless!!
                    • Squatter
                      "obsessed Internet squatters"

                      OK. Sure.

                      Or, how's this. Maybe I'm not.

                      Figure it out.
                    • Typical Reply!
                      Jimmy J, It does not matter who I am or who you are or who anyone is really.

                      You stated some things earlier and placed the word "fact" after them and I am curious if you know what a fact is, because I know for a "fact" that at least 2 of your statements are incorrect and you should not be saying them in a public forum as "fact". and your other "facts" are highly debatable and only time will tell.

                      And as far as what I said about the entertainment CEO, I actually meant and I apologize for wording it incorrectly: Who would you say would be a better CEO of a entertainment company, IE: Indy Car than Randy that is available and willing? My suggestion if it is such a joke, then move on to another sport that is not a joke, because Indy Car has been around for a long time and will be around alot longer than you, myself, and Randy. Until anyone who posts bad things about the job Randy is doing can come up with a viable leader that would really want the job that includes alot of travel, living out of hotels and suitcases, along with dealing with people constantly badgering the job he is doing, I am going to stay out of this conversation. I have said my piece and I have not name called, (my name is Dan, not Danny), and I have not used foul language, nor have I said nothing that was not truthful.
                      • Dan
                        Dan sorry to offend. No apology necessary. Nothing dishonest implied.
                      • AOW Sucks
                        As evidenced by lack of blogging by our favorite blogger in a world famous blog.

                        The $5M gag is a failure, just like last years $20M gag was.

                        Randy Bernard deserves an F grade for his two years...changing the perception that the IRL/Indycar is nothing but a joke is impossible to overcome.

                        When the sport should be about competition on track, all we've seen is incompetent race control failures, Randy overpowering race control decisions and was caught by a popular driver in a heated Twitter/Forum debate/admission changing the rules, more safety team burnings and 100G extractions directly out of the dark ages,....and the stupid door jump. Danika giving OW the finger and moving on to NASCAR...now, only Dave Welsone is the one to run for the $5M roses.

                        Complete and utter failure,......and YES they got publicity, but they got it by sacrificing CREDIBILITY. Yup, the IMS/IRL has RUINED AOW that was handed to it on a platter in 2008. Now, the faithful IRL gomers want MORE street races, even in CHina! Stick a fork in it. Even I don't give a **** about it anymore.

                        Now, that's bad....
                      • Lost in all of this...
                        ....is the simple fact the sport is not popular. Not at all. The TV audience is miniscule. Attendance is spartan, with the exception of first time street races and corn stalk tracks a thousand miles from nowhere.

                        I give the IndyCar Series credit for about three good events and a very nice Indy 500. So what does that tell us? The series had four good events, five tops.

                        All else is epic failure in front of an audience, at home, and in person, of mostly ghosts.

                        So, let's sum it up. IndyCar= Not popular. Randy Bernard= Rank amateur. National interest = Less than one percent of the nation's population. One percent tops depending on whose sponsor numbers you crunch.

                        Bad deal. The series is not popualar. It does, in fact, suck so bad, hardly anybody knows who the top pilotos are except the departing Danica. Quickly, on a non-Indy street, go out and ask people in general who Dan Wheldon is. Ask them who Scott Dixon is. Uh-huh.

                        Nope. The series is dying the death. Gone soon. All the prognosticators suggesting upside and big swing and a rosy future are not so sharp.
                      • Silly
                        Tiny remains the silliest poster on the racing boards

                        How does one defender continually post so much stupid is beyond me

                        How Randy did have 5 cars lined up prior to announcing the challenge is his biggest failure to date .... That's just a fact

                        No way the race gets a .8

                        Writing is on the wall.... Randy won't be back in 2012 IMO
                      • Born stupid irl* fans
                        Quick, someone tell Penske he is a "virtual non factor" in NASCAR, he just got 2 cars in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Sure, Bernard had done more in two years than TG did in fifteen but he has a pulse and can string a few words together without "um's". But Las Vegas is an epic fail, just like TG.
                      • Separation of Kindergarten and Adulthood
                        Metaphorically speaking, have you ever noticed that when you enter a twice burned slum house and turn on a light cartroaches scatter all over the floor? Interesting phenomenon.

                        As previously stated the doomsday prognostication track record of the darkly obsessed enthusiasts squatting here and elsewhere is 100% incorrect. That is unlikely to change any time soon.
                      • Pathetic
                        The only thing more pathetic than defending the undefendable for a decade plus is hanging your hat on champcars failure x2 and the constant projection that anyone who questions indycars biz decisions isn't a fan of the teams racers and events

                        Newsflash:
                        It's not carts fault that the sport post split is seeing the lowest ratings attendance and sponsorship in the past 40 years
                      • Coincidence?
                        Throw some drugs, alcohol and firearms into that twice burned slum house and you have a Hulman George family party circa 1976. The grand jury said self defense but I'm not so sure.
                      • Maybe I'm wrong
                        Perhaps more pathetic is changing your 'handle' from defender to disciple to be allowed to post at track forum is pretty darn sad
                      • Some People Ought To Stick To Flipping Burgers
                        Divert! Divert! Divert! That's another popular tactic with the kids. Poor things. None of them seems emotionally prepared to orient themselves inside 2011 or the twenty first century, as evidenced by the way in which they base judgement about everything based on a 1990 world. Evolve, folks. Nothing is like it was in 1990.
                      • No diversion here
                        Bottom-line is Randy announced this promotion with doing zero due diligence ..... Failing to have chip and rog on board is a flat out failure .... And no amount of projection about heitzler Craig and Kevin is going to change that
                      • Question for Tiny
                        If you were in charge of this promotion would you have announced it and moved forward with it without a single racer lined up or a team to run him/her in place?
                      • Solution?
                        Curious as to the "great solution" that must be lingering out there beyond the shadows of IMS that many of you claim Randy Bernard hasn't been able to find. If things are in such dire straights for AOW, then pray tell what he "should" be doing different? When Randy Bernard walks into work tomorrow, what can he do to time-warp back to 1992?

                        Pretty easy to throw a stone or two, but very difficult to provide a concise plan of action.

                        My grade of the vision-less opinions voiced in this banter = F.
                      • Your off topic J
                        Let's stay on point here J

                        I was on board with this promotion... In fact thought it brilliant... But you simply can't spin it as a positive at this point....to run with it with no drivers lined up .... At least one ..... Is bad... No other way to put it

                        As far as free.... That's patently false.....the IRL has spent a sizeable sum on promotion....run dozens of commercial etc.....not to mention the las Vegas track rental and what will end up being 10k or so fans not paying a dime for tickets


                        So I ask you the same question: would you have ran with this promotion with driver(s) lined up and teams willing to run them?
                      • Sorry
                        Posting from my phone...

                        ^above should have read "with NO driver(s)..."
                      • Enough
                        Hey Anthony, about time to shut this thread down!

                        Anthony, no offense, but I read your articles more for the comments than I do your opinions. Rarely do I find an article from you that casts IndyCar in a positive light. And that's OK, you are completely entitled to your opinion.

                        But what I do find humorous is the commentary from folks that, regardless of any progress towards rebuilding the sport, continue to argue that IndyCar is dying. While it may not be what it once was, it IS NOT dying by any means.

                        Simple business lesson for everyone out there. In order for any business to succeed, the business has to continually grow. Any growth, even a slow steady growth, is a positive sign for any business.

                        Lets look at IndyCar as a business. From 1996 to 2009, IndyCar (and CART / Champ Car) was in a steady decline. Ratings, attendance, revenue...all of them were down year after year.

                        Since 2009, ratings, attendance, and revenue are slowing starting increasing. Sure, its not huge gains, but rebuilding something that took 13 years to tear apart takes time.

                        Personally, I think Randy is doing a great job at promoting the series. Which is what it needs. It needs to reach more people to grow. Yes, the $5 million challenge kinda flopped, but instead of backing away from it when it failed, he revised it. He took something that was going to be a negative, and turned it into a positive. How is it a positive you ask? Well, we are all sitting here talking about it, right? That's called free publicity people. That's something that businesses around the world would kill for. People and main stream media have been talking about the IICS World Championships for months now. I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see this race pull in 75,000 plus at the track, and a 2.0 or better rating. And if Wheldon manages to win that race, it will be talked about for years.

                        That my friends, is progress. Plain and simple.


                      • 80,000 free Vegas tickets
                        I'm looking forward to comparing the irl's attendance to the ticket buyers on Sat. night for Nascar's 3rd tier truck series.
                      • Ken Response
                        Now we are geting somewhere. Thanks Ken for addressing a real issue.

                        I do feel I'm keeping with the theme in so much as that few of the posts on here ever actually stick to the story.

                        To address your question, yes, I would have run the promotion almost exactly the same as RB. Here's why...

                        1. I'm sure he did enough due dilligence to know that it would, at least, be possible to bring in a few outside drivers. After all, you have a surplus of unused cars that go extinct after that race. $5 Million is a big payday for ANY driver.

                        2. It does a marketer absolutely no good to announce something like this one month before the race. Granted it would have given them time to see if any driver would bite, but the goal here is to sell tickets and generate buzz. Buzz was most definitely generated. I understand they are giving away tickets (I have 10 and will be using all of them), but by the same token more people will be inclined to make travel arrangements with 4 months notice rather than 4 weeks.

                        3. Would you, or anyone for that matter, have predicted that a professional driver and/or team owner would turn down $5 mil? If so, lets you and I go buy some lottery tickets TODAY.

                        4. Last I checked, there is still a $5 Mil challenge and there is a non-regular driver (who happens to be pretty damn good) attempting to win it.

                        It's simple marketing. RB rolled with the punches and I'm just not seeing how the term "failure" could sensibly be used. Short memory for a lot of folks on here. Remember Baltimore 2 weeks ago...

                        Hope that helps.
                      • J and Jeremiah
                        Jer...I won't be surprised if it gets 10k and a .5... And I'll bet a ticket to the 500 next year I'm closer than you

                        J...then you would have failed also ... Sorry that's the facts....and as far as Baltimore goes .... I was at the inaugural Denver grand prix....
                      • Whodone?
                        The Indy 500 winner is a non-regular driver?
                        Interesting.

                        Didn't he also finish first the year Danica won 4th place? It's sad that a twice winner doesn't have a ride. I guess Indy doesn't mean anything now. What happened?

                        Most people outside of Gomeropolis have never heard of him, and he won't raise the ratings by a tick. But nothing can help that. Even with a close battle for the championship, it's likely the ratings will be
                        lower than Nascar's 3rd tier Truck series.
                      • Disagree Dis
                        Had Randy made sure rog and chip were on board this whole promo takes on a whole new feel ..... Sure Travis broke his leg ... But a replace could have been found if the need was there.... I know James stewart was tweeting about running and I know didn't different families here in salt lake that are motocrossers thatwere on board to go to the race.... He'll Zanardi alOne would have garnered more press than all the Indy car races sans the 500 alone....

                        This promotion had potential ... But the execution was a failure....
                      • Ken
                        Champ Car hosted the Denver GP. But I see your point and I agree that events need about 3 years to see if they will hold stability.

                        I guess I would have failed in your opinion. I can handle that. Curious as to your thoughts on how to better promote the season finale?
                      • Bottom line J
                        Like I have said ..... I believe this promo in theory was brilliant ... In execution it failed ..

                        What would I have done differently... Like I said .... I would have made sure rog chip AA D&R and NH were lined up to provide cars and bodies ...I would have had at least one racer lined up ..... Preferably Zanardi...

                        Is all that easier said than done?.....'obviously .... But that's why he's being paid The big bucks right.... To execute ..... Anyone cam throw craP on a wall

                        bottom-line is time will tell .... The promotion has failed.... The race will be poorly attended and get exactly the same ratings as all the other races on VS..IMO of coarse ...... I don't think Randy is running things in 2012...
                      • Wah Wah Wah....All The Way Home
                        Boy oh boy. There certainly is a lot of obsession by those incoherently convinced it will fail. This runs along with all of their dire predictions of the past sixteen years. A 100% record of being incorrect.

                        The facts are not as dire as the whining. For one thing, they have fan involvement with the potential reward of $2.5 million. GoDaddy is heavily involved despite Danica's impending departure to NASCAR.

                        About the only thing left for the kids to darkly prognosticate about is attendance and 12+ audience overnights.

                        Bottom line: The IZOD Indy Car Series thanks these fans for being so utterly devoted to the product.
                      • Ken
                        Ken, the race is not on VS, its on ABC. I'm sticking with my prediction. 75k in the seats and 2.0 rating.

                        How about this, if I'm right, Burl and Chief agree not to post here anymore???? If they are right, they get to say "I told you so"...and I'm sure we are all aware that all they want to do is prove everyone wrong on this subject! Wouldnt be surprised if they were on the France's payroll...

                      • You can bleat on...
                        ...about 12+ audience overnights (which I'm sure are worth 'somewhere north of $20 million, right?) all day long, Johnny, but when the TOTAL AUDIENCE can be counted on your hands with several fingers left over, your phantom key demographic breakouts mean about as much as $150 for jet fuel.

                      • Firestone... success??
                        So let me get this straight, the new Firestone "deal" is a "success" for Randy?

                        1. IRL/Randy: Thanks Firestone, your tires were great, but we'll find someone else to provide our tires for next year.

                        2. Teams: YOU DID WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

                        3. IRL/Randy: Oh crap. Please please please please please please come back Firestone. We'll make the teams pay extra.

                        4. Firestone: Sweet! /cash register sfx

                        Yep...genius business move, worthy of Wile E. Coyote. Surely only Randy Bernard could have pulled that one off. I guess to be fair, Firestone could have told Randy to stuff it and the 2012 season might have already been canceled or greatly downsized.
                      • Jer and dip
                        Tiny.... Why ignore my question?.... Would you have moved forward with this promotion with no teams and drivers lined up?

                        Jer.... I stand by my bet ... No oval race on abc has gotten over a .8 in years and I don't think this is any different .... I have no idea who Burl or chief are ...y wager stands .... 10k and a .5 for a ticket to the 500
                      • What is so hard to understand?
                        Why can't you IRL-types just admit the $5M gag was just that, a gag? Ropin' Randy threw some bull excrement against the wall and it DIDN'T STICK. Hahahahaha! Didn't even have cars lined up for the big $5M shenanigans. How stupid is that? FAIL.

                        It amazes me how stupid you all look trying to defend the incompetence at 16th and Jonestown. IF the series could credibly put on a season without idiotic gaffs and gimmicks and return the sport to it's racing roots, maybe the fan would care about the championship....

                        You want to know the joke? No one cares about the championship....all the IRL wants is attention. Pathetic. Cheap publicity and low public perception is the curse the IRL has brought to the sport since 1996. And it flys high under Lord Cowboy's reign. INDY FOOLS DAY, everyday!
                      • And the Grand Prize is.. How Much?
                        ..the Grand Prize winner will win $2,500,000 awarded in the form of a 40-year annuity, with 40 annual payments of approximately $62,500.

                        According to Indy's Official Rules this is how the $2.5 million will be paid out to the lucky winner. Account for inflation over 40 years and it's worth less than $1 million.

                        Whoever pays out the cash has it invested meaning over 40 years they'll actually make money on the Grand Prize!
                        • IMHO..
                          Roger Taylor said: If a closely challenged final can't draw attention to Indy Car and increase its ratings, another poorly conceived gimmick won't.

                          Slick Willy says: RT knocked the nail on the head.

                          Ken said: Bottom-line is Randy announced this promotion with doing zero due diligence.

                          Slick Willy says: It's not the first time RB has done this.

                          J said: If things are in such dire straights for AOW, then pray tell what he "should" be doing different?

                          Slick Willy says: Where should I begin. This isn't rocket science!

                          Ken said: I was on board with this promotion... In fact thought it brilliant..

                          Slick Willy says: It wasn't brilliant because it would never have worked on many, many levels. Let's start with why on earth would the standard of professional driver needed to "move the needle" jump in the seat when there's a 99% chance they won't win or not finish - why risk their reputation. And it's not because Indy drivers are better. This is what they do day in and day out. The same can be said for dropping an Indy driver in a NASCAR or F1 machine for a week and expecting them to win the grand finale.

                          Jeremiah said: Simple business lesson for everyone out there. In order for any business to succeed, the business has to continually grow. Any growth, even a slow steady growth, is a positive sign for any business.

                          Slick Willy says: Jeremiah let's hope you're not a Harvard business professor! Growth is one thing, but it's relative. Indy car and successful, profitable business don't equate. Never have. I expect probably never will.

                          Jeremiah said: I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see this race pull in 75,000 plus at the track, and a 2.0 or better rating.

                          Slick Willy says: I'm lost for words.


                          Jeremiah said: if Wheldon manages to win that race, it will be talked about for years.

                          Slick Willy says: Jeremiah, you may talk about if for years, but the hard reality is most will have forgotten by breakfast. As for the mainstream audience RB so dearly wants to capture, they couldn't care less who Dan Wheldon is.

                          J said: Would you, or anyone for that matter, have predicted that a professional driver and/or team owner would turn down $5 mil?

                          Slick Willy says: Absolutely. When their reputation is at risk. $5 million is a drop in the bucket for the type of driver that would have any chance of moving Indy car's needle.

                          Disciple of Indycar said: ...

                          Slick Willy says: Where to begin! What a sad human being.



                        • We Might Get To 100 Pointless Comments in Record Time
                          What sort of nifty promotions does the cart series have planned for its season closer? Oh, wait. Never mind.

                          Look kids, your continuing obsession about Indy Car is noble, but why not try being actual fans for a change? Your constant predicting of doom for Indy Car is as pointless as Alex Zanardi trying to scratch his knees.

                          1990 is not coming back. Move forward with your lives.
                        • I second this
                          I second this

                          Disciple of Indycar said: ...

                          Slick Willy says: Where to begin! What a sad human being.

                        • Lotus
                          So what happened with Lotus? Ropin Randy has distracted attention away from another of his failures? Maybe Anthony can look into this for us.

                          BTW 'disciple of indycar' what's up with your incessant ramblings about cart? Give it a rest already.
                        • Sad, pathetic Tiny D.
                          That is his version of "Godwin's Law." Trolling is all he has for this indefensible irl failure.
                        • It's Deal Makin' Time
                          Attention topic diverting children: Should you ever decide to:

                          (A) attempt to add both literacy a point to your obsessive meandering

                          (B) orient yourselves inside the current century and decade

                          (C) understand that what you think you had twenty years ago was boycotted out of existence, twice

                          (D) try to refrain from using childish epithets that reference 1960s sitcom characters, mass murder/suicides in Guyana, etc.,

                          ....well then just maybe something remotely resembling intelligent discourse could be facilitated.

                          None of the hostile feelings you seem to have and obsessively express in such repetitive fashion about Indy Car amounts to anything with merit. There are a handful of you and millions of actual fans. So do yourselves a favor: Grow up.

                          We already know you follow every minute detail of the sport. Start acting like fans.
                        • Hehehhehe
                          When respondents proclaim some literacy superiority, THAT's when you know the IRL FAIL is TRUE!

                          When respondents request orientation to current decade, THAT's when you know the IRL FAIL is TRUE!

                          When respondents have to resort to referring to a past successful series who's now defunct as some glorified racing put-down, THAT's when you know the IRL FAIL is TRUE!
                        • L, H, CS LOL
                          When respondents divert away from topics being discussed to attack other contributors personally, THAT's when the truth behind my words becomes apparent.

                          Your hypocrisy is obvious, son.
                        • Pot meet kettle tiny
                          Only one struggling to stay on topic is you tiny....

                          Why not answer my question, it's certainly on topic

                          If this promotion was your baby would you have ran with it, press releases, track rental, commercials etc with at least one racer lined up?
                        • Cryptic Children
                          Who is 'Tiny?'
                        • You
                          We all know you have been coined "tiny" for years.... And you in fact have accepted and responded to it for years at smackforum

                          NOw answer the question
                        • More CART era Strret Races!
                          Strong rumors out of indy tonite about the IRLz return to DETROIT streets!

                          IRL laughed off of American ovals...24 tracks and markets ruined...there isn't enough gimmicks and irl super prix's to make up for the ultimate failure...AOW stinks under Hulman control. They have destroyed the sport....
                        • Sixteen Years and Going Strong
                          They still have a ways to go. The twice-defunct cart series managed to cast off over 40 venues in the same amount of time.

                          Nowthen, in answer to li'l Kenny's query, yes. I would have jumped in with both feet almost identically the way Randy did it, only I would have gone further. I would have positioned it as something no driver outside Indy Car was brave enough to try. Then I would have increased the purse. Getting Wheldon signed in as well as turning it into a fan sweepstakes is a great way to turn around the idiotic spin in which obsessed enthusiasts have tried to portray it in such a negative way, as usual.

                          Unsurprising, as that shrinking group has looked foolish for sixteen years.
                        • Another Solution
                          Trying to help you guys since I notice you likely have little going on otherwise (can't beleive this thread is still going... ha).

                          If you like the product, watch it.

                          If you don't like the product, don't watch it.

                          When we come back to reality, we notice that IndyCar is on the incline. That is, if you look at real facts like car counts, attendance, television, revenues, etc... There is no way around it. Chief, Hurl, and the like will be screaming about the end of IndyCar for as long as they have breath in their bodies. No way around that either.
                        • Failed x2
                          What's your obsession with cart tiny and what foes it have to do with this thread ...

                          So clearly you would have failed also..... The thing is Randy didn't do that ......he rented a racetrack ran some commercials then got punked by a couple team owners....exactly how is that different from what was happening when Tony had his vision?

                          And J ..... Is it ok to be a fan of the sport ... It's teams racers and events .... And understand managent is failing..... Or perhaps more accurately that ownership simPly can't/won't fully relase the reigns ?
                        • Oh, come on now!
                          Quite frankly, all I have to do is sit back and watch it fail. I never spend a penny on Indy or the series anymore. As a fan of AOW, I deserve the right to voice my disapproval of the crap product the Hulman's and IMS are hoisting and foisting upon the AOW fanbase.

                          J and Disciple, and Indyman and the other Hulman toadies...don't tell me what to do. Join in collectively friends and tell the IMS what is wrong....so maybe they can get it right someday. 16 years of stupid and counting....keep eating it up fellas...out of sight, out of mind.
                        • MoNtegi embarrassment
                          Izod INDY CARz are 4 seconds SLOWER than Forumla NiPpon at Montegi.

                          Fastest racers/cars...bwahahaha! More IRL fail!
                        • Nothing left to defend
                          Disciple, why are you still here?
                        • The Answer Man
                          Among other things, representing a community of actual racing fans who are adult, literate and economically viable. We enjoy Indy Car despite its warts, and continue working in positive ways to continue enhancing the sport as the future unfolds. You?
                          • Cart
                            Disciple of Indy Car you keep saying Cart has failed. Twice. And that you and others are helping steer it in the right direction.

                            Have you not noticed how much Indy Car is starting to resemble Cart? Maybe all your work has been in vain. LOL.
                          • One more question Disciple...
                            ...how are those imaginary luncheons with Randy and Company going? Do you imagine yourself steak or lobster? Both? Was it as good as the dinner in Aspen with the young IndyCar fans asking you, the sage, old expert, about an obscure Vitor Meira pass and the potential talents of Pippa Mann? And what was on the imaginary menu that night? Prawns?

                            Also, could you list for us the ways you, have been working diligently with the others to enhance the sport? Since it is your imagination and all, entertain us. Be creative. Maybe give us a line or two about key metrics while you are at it. Those are always worth an LOL.




                          • Disciple Knows or Does He?
                            Burl let's take a look at disciples metrics for Indycar's sponsorship revenue, as above "series sponsorship that is approaching the $200 million mark annually"

                            As also pointed out above Verizon is one of the highest paying sponsors at $1 million. The title sponsor IZOD is anywhere between $3-5 million. Heading south.

                            Throw in a couple of other major sponsors at all up $5 million, being generous.

                            The two TV deals Disciple seems well aware of ABC/Versus are combined $10 million and change. That's it. ABC pays Nascar $600 million a year and change.

                            Then there's about 35 sub tier paying sponsors at $150,000 - 500,000. For good measure we'll go with $11 million all up.

                            OK.. so the grand total is no more than $32 million. A meager $168 million short of what the self proclaimed "Disciple" is telling us.

                            The teams have sponsors, quite seperate to series sponsorship, which is anywhere from $4-6 million. Penske and Ganassi $8-10 million. This barely covers the cost of running most teams.

                            Then there's IMS which makes a few bucks. This shouldn't be included with the series tally, but, if IMS didn't make up Indycar's losses there wouldn't be a series.

                            Just a guesstimate.

                            Disciple interested in how you came to $200 million?

                            • Why not sell the series?
                              Why dont the Georges sell the Series and hold on to IMS and the Indianapolis 500? Let someone with the money and smarts build the Series into what it should be. Doesnt have to mean the Series has to walk away from the 500 or vice versa. Thoughts anyone?
                            • They already robbed the bank!
                              Wow, Ricky...don't ask a question like that around here. You see, there was a great sport once and the Hulman George's held it hostage for almost 15 years.

                              By the time they collected the ransom, the sport's worth was non-existent...and therefore THEY are left holding a bag of poo. That 'poo' is today's IRL...or IZoD IndyCarz series. They're over in a foreign country today, on a road course, with their slow 9 year old foreign chassis and foreign spec engine bedazzling no one in the far east, just like they bedazzle no one here at home.

                              So, who would want that piece of poo? No one.
                            • A better question
                              Would be why don't they give it away?

                            • I want the buyout
                              I watched mOnteGi...

                              It was so bad I will take a symbolic $1 to walk away from this sport.

                              Seriously, I propose a class action suit against the IRL and IMS for FRAUD. This EVOLUTION the IRL is about needs to end NOW.

                              I'm a HATER and the IRL is so stupid I am perplexed as to write about hating it anymore.

                              Watch moNtGEi, PLEASE. It will be almost like ALZHEIMERs but you'll recover to cancel your cable FOREVER. Its just that good...PUKE.

                            • Success!
                              The Versus announcing crew did a better job of the Motegi broadcast than the 5th graders do on the morning announcements at Speedway Elementary.

                              Brian Barnhart outperformed a banana slug at race officiating.

                              Momentum!
                              • FORGET IT!!
                                this was the worst display of announcing I've ever witnessed with a professional sport. what were the Versus guys on! they were like a bunch of giggling school girls. it was truly an embarrasement for indy car.

                                to make matters even worse the TV coverage was pathetic. sure it was a Japanese network but this is no excuse for such a low quality of coverage and camera work. Versus couldn't afford to pay for its own crew or the commentators being in Japan but come on didn't they do their homework!!

                                the officiating is another story. Franchetti takes out two of his team and Briscoe and is moved back a position behind Briscoe. Briscoe did the same in Baltimore and had to do a penalty drive through.

                                forget it. I've been following indy car for years but no more. I just can't watch this crap anymore. either sell it as Ricky said or wind it up and cut your losses.

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