Champion IndyCar team owner Chip Ganassi has praised the job done by series CEO Randy Bernard during a trying 2011 season.
Bernard, had no previous motorsport experience when he was appointed to the role in early 2010, and was faced with challenges including Dan Wheldon's death at Las Vegas, the introduction of a new car, engine and rules package, poor TV figures and near-constant criticism of former race director Brian Barnhart during the past 12 months. But Ganassi, who has won the past four series titles with Dario Franchitti (2009-'11) and Scott Dixon (2008), said that Bernard has learned to navigate motorsport politics quickly.
"There are a lot of facets of this sport that someone coming in from the outside has to learn, and no one has been a more willing learner than Randy Bernard," Ganassi said.
"Look at the things that have gone on since he came into the sport. We've got a new car, a new engine formula, a new rules package, a new way of buying and distributing the cars and the way we go testing, there was obviously the Las Vegas tragedy...just about every time the guy comes up for air, he gets pushed back under again.
"The good news is that I think Randy has shown great ability to breathe underwater. He's doing fine, I think."