Randy Bernard took a shot Sunday at Eddie Gossage, saying the Texas Motor Speedway president has no say in IndyCar decisions.
Bernard announced last week that the IZOD IndyCar Series will compete next season in a street race in Houston's Reliant Park. Bernard also has been listening to overtures from officials at Circuit of the Americas, the Austin circuit scheduled to hold the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in November.
Gossage hasn't responded to the news, but both developments are thought to have further weakened the relationship between Gossage and IndyCar.
“There wasn't a follow-up from Eddie Gossage,” Bernard said Sunday morning before the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. “I don't talk to Eddie. I don't expect Eddie to call me when he signs another race, and I don't expect to call Eddie when I sign a race in Texas."
Earlier this year after a test at the 1.5-mile tri-oval in Fort Worth, some IndyCar drivers spoke of a possible boycott of the June race at TMS. The controversy had nothing to do with the Houston race, but the two issues combined could threaten the future of IndyCar at TMS. Bernard said the two races shouldn't step on each other.
"There is a lot of mileage between those two races, and our fan base is strong in Texas," Bernard said. "The fourth-largest city in the United States is a place our sponsors and teams and television want to be. We have to look out for the best interest in our sport. Street races and ovals have different demographics."
The boycott talk angered Gossage, whose rift with open-wheel racing dates to the cancellation of a CART race at Texas in 2001, after its drivers suffered blackout symptoms from g-forces during practice.
“If you have an issue, pick up the phone and call,” Gossage said earlier this month in response to the boycott rumors. “Pick up the phone. Pick up the phone, you know?”
At the same time, Bernard said he is pursuing an extension of the contract IndyCar has with ZOOM Motorsports LLC, which promotes events at Barber Motorsports Park. Bernard said he met Sunday with ZOOM officials and expects IndyCar to return to the 17-turn, 2.38-mile road course in 2013. On Sunday, the series held its third race at the circuit.
“This is the type of promoter that we make sure we keep in the series for many years,” Bernard said. “I'd love to see these guys do another event somewhere. They've done a first-class job here. Would we like to have a first-class job here? Sure.”