30 May 2012
Chevy teams grow restless with Bernard
Reports that team owners affiliated with Chevrolet are growing increasingly unhappy and want IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard out have gained momentum following the Indy 500.
Pretty much everyone agrees that the Indianapolis 500 was a complete all-round success for the IZOD IndyCar Series, with many drivers and pundits calling Sunday's event the best motor race of the year in any series - and certainly the best Indy 500 in at least a decade.
You'd think that this would leave the series, its teams and organisers walking on air after such a success. But instead, reports have gathered pace in the last few days that the team owners affiliated with the engine manufacturer Chevrolet are anything but happy - and are seeking the removal of the CEO of the IndyCar Series, Randy Bernard.
The Associated Press reported on the signs of discontent before the weekend, but those stories were somewhat lost in the build-up to the Indy 500 and only reignited on Tuesday when Bernard himself admitted in a tweet that "It is true that an owner is calling others trying to get me fired."
He added: "I have had several owners confirm this. Disappointing."
It's not clear exactly which Chevy-badged team owners are actively involved in this campaign, but SPEED TV correspondent Robin Miller specifically stated that Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team principal Dennis Reinbold was not one of those supporting the initiative.
"It's real easy: full-time Chevrolet team owners, how's that? Can I condense it anymore? [But] don't include Dennis Reinbold in there," said Miller when asked for his view on who was involved in the move to oust Bernard, during a telephone interview with Indianapolis radio station 1070 The Fan. "There's always this under bed of unhappiness in auto racing, and it usually starts from the car owner, then permeates to fans and drivers. Everything is never good enough, it's always bad news.
"Is it perfect? No, but it's a helluva lot better than it was three or four or five years ago," Miller insisted. "If the car owners are unhappy because they're not getting their way or because they don't have their yes-man little puppet in there, then I suggest they go and find something else to do."
Many had assumed that it would be Roger Penske leading the charge to have Bernard ousted, as he was the prime mover in coaxing Chevrolet back to IndyCar after seven years away. But although Penske and Bernard had reportedly stopped speaking some weeks ago, the latest reports suggest that there was a rapprochement over the Indy 500 weekend and that diplomatic relations between the two men had resumed, with Penske publicly recommitting his support to Bernard's leadership of the series on Friday.
Asked on Twitter if Penske was the owner that he had referred to as calling around, Bernard responded unequivocally: "No its [sic] not."
A number of issues seem to be behind the growing dissatisfaction of the Chevrolet stable of teams with the present IndyCar management, the most high profile and fractious being the decision by the series to allow rival manufacturers Honda to make improvements to their turbochargers to upgrade their engine's performance relative to that of Chevrolet.
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