IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard told SPEED.com's Robin Miller he misspoke in his response to Paul Tracy's criticisms of the $5m Las Vegas bonus.
Bernard set tongues wagging by his response to reporters during IndyCar's Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park. Told that Tracy and some other drivers didn't like the idea of offering a big bonus to series outsiders when some stars are still without rides for 2011, Bernard replied: "I'd like to say, 'Paul, if you could sell the tickets, I wouldn't have to do this.' But our drivers have not been able to create the credibility they need. It's not because they don't have the talent, it's because there's been no emotional attachment to our fan base. We have to bring that back."
Late Tuesday, though, Bernard said his comment had been misinterpreted as a criticism of the Canadian veteran.
"I didn't bring Paul's name up – one of the reporters did, and maybe I didn't say it right and it was my fault," he told SPEED. "I was simply trying to point out how tough it's been getting people to attend or watch our season finale. We're the best-kept secret in sports and it's my job to bring excitement, and produce good TV shows that drive up our ratings and fill the seats.
"But I want to clarify that I think PT is a great ambassador for our sport. His outgoing personality is exactly what I've been talking about and I've tried to help him find sponsorship and will continue to. I want him in our series."