In a week where the IZOD IndyCar Series made several headlines in the aftermath of the disputed finish at Loudon and other off-track announcements took place, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard addressed the issues in a press conference at Infineon Raceway. His thoughts on all matters that have cropped up are below:
Randy, many are eager to get your thoughts on all the news, but let's get started with your thoughts on race control.
RANDY BERNARD: It's been a pretty busy week. I want to say that I have been very quiet on this whole matter because I felt that it was very important that I was not to be heard. We created a protest panel that we gave 100% authority to make the right decisions on what they felt.
The only thing I asked each one of those on that panel was to give a fair hearing. They made their decision and that's all I can ask for.
A lot of people have come to me, as you know, if you read blogs, if you say Facebook, not happy with Brian Barnhart, fire Brian Barnhart. I want to make it very clear. I'm 100% supportive of Brian Barnhart and his team. I think at the end of this season, we will reevaluate the rule book. I want to make sure that the rules in that rule book are what fans, the team owners, drivers want to see, and safety of course is a very important part of that.
But I think that Brian has done a great job. I compliment Brian on the fact that he said he made a mistake last week, he didn't try to hide it. He came right out and said, Hey, I made a mistake. It's much better he did it that way than tried to hide it. I appreciate the fact that he did that.
What can we do this year in going forward to help fans understand how professional race control is? I think that we're going to do something next week that has never been done before, that will showcase our race control and show their professionalism.
What we plan on doing next week is, if you download the IZOD IndyCar app, you will be able to watch race control live. We will set up a camera and you'll be able to hear Brian Barnhart and his team do what they do.
Why do we want to do this? Because it shows the credibility of the professionalism. They're not a bunch of guys just up there watching a race. They're doing an excellent job of calling it and we need to showcase that.
Andretti Autosport announced they're retaining Go Daddy as a sponsor. How important is it for us to retain a company like Go Daddy?
RANDY BERNARD: Before we go to Go Daddy, I have one more comment on Brian.
I watch blogs. I try to stay very interactive with the fans out there. I think there's one selling telling story. Fire Brian Barnhart, Facebook page, 305 people. You know how many there was for fire Donald Trump from the grand marshal of the Indy 500? It was I think 17,000. So I think it puts it in perspective here a little bit.
There's a few people out there that don't believe, but it's not everybody. I've talked to a lot of teams out here. They're very supportive. They tell me, Hey, do not fire Brian Barnhart. He's doing a great job. It's very important for me to get this message out there. I'm going to do everything I can now to support him.
When this whole process started and we knew Danica was leaving several months ago, I thought it was very important that we keep Go Daddy. Danica has been a great ambassador to our sport. I think she's brought a new demographic to our sport that we didn't have before. I don't think she's going to hurt us leaving. I think she'll help NASCAR because of that demographic.
That demographic she brings is a very big part because of what Go Daddy has done with her. The amount of money they have spent to promote and build her is unbelievable, millions upon millions of dollars just in Super Bowl ads alone.
When you can take a person, a company like Go Daddy, bring them into the series, make sure they're going to continue their support, it was a big win for us. We're very thankful they're going to be a part of us. I've had a big meeting with them already this morning about some of the new ideas they have going forward which I think will be very exciting.