— The timing of the termination of Randy Bernard as CEO of IndyCar couldn’t have come at a worst time for teams and tracks looking to sign 2013 sponsorship packages.
After denying last week that Bernard was fired by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway directors, it was then announced on Sunday that his days at the throttle of the organization were at an end.
The IMS board has to act quickly to name a replacement for Bernard, someone who can take over the reins of the organization and restore confidence among teams and potential sponsors that IndyCar really has a clue as to what is taking place.
Now is the time of the year that sponsors begin to decide whether or not to stay involved with a race team or event or look for another venue to spend their advertising dollars with.
It certainly didn’t help matters when car owner Roger Penske called Bernard’s dismissal poor judgment and that there were no future plan to take IndyCar to the next level.
After a disastrous finish to the 2011 season, IndyCar bounced back with the new chassis and engine packages and one of the best Indianapolis 500’s in memory.
Instead of building on that success, the IMS board has elected to fire Bernard and not immediately name a replacement.
Whoever becomes the next CEO of IndyCar has to be given a long-term contract, at least five years, with a no-cut clause. That’s needed to assure sponsors the series has long range plans and there is a design for future growth.
With IndyRacing League founder Tony George wanting to purchase IndyCar, that might be the direction to take to save major open wheel racing in the U.S. George recently resigned from the IMS board, eliminating a potential conflict of interest.