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Bernard 'wanted to get in front of problem'

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has defended his decision to use Twitter to publicly confirm rumours of an alleged plot by Chevy team owners to oust him from his job.
IndyCar boss Randy Bernard has insisted that it was the right call to use Twitter to confirm rumours that one or more of the Chevrolet-backed team owners in the series was trying to organise a campaign to have him removed as chief executive of the series.

Last Tuesday, after the Indianapolis 500, Bernard posted a message on the social networking site confirming the rumours that had been circulating about a plot to oust him: "It is true that an owner is calling others trying to get me fired. I have had several owners confirm this. Disappointing," he wrote.

"I wanted to get out in front of the problem," Bernard told reporters at Detroit Belle Isle ahead of this weekend's follow-up event to the Indianapolis 500, insisting that it hadn't been a spur of the moment knee-jerk response to the problem.

"I had seven days to think about how I wanted to put it out," he said. "I didn't want to take anything away from the Indy 500.

"I felt like dead man walking," he admitted, referring to the behind-the-scenes mutterings that had been going on during May. "My mentality is, if you back a kitten into a corner, you come out fighting like a tiger. And that's how I operate," he added.

Bernard's strategy seems to have been to drag any brewing plots out into the full glare of the media spotlight, and dare the car owners to actually go to war or else to back down: put up or shut up, in other words. He also wanted to get a comprehensive sign of support from the board of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation who actually appointed him to his existing five-year contract just over two years ago in 2010.

If that was the idea then it seems to have worked, with public opposition quickly falling away at the same time that worried team owners were falling over themselves to get some distance from the plot rumours, even if it meant implicitly endorsing Bernard's stewardship of the IZOD IndyCar Series.

"For those accusing me of being a conspirator, I am not the one talking and creating this story," said owner-driver Ed Carpenter on Twitter, who was seen by fans as one of the likely suspects because of his family ties to former Indy Racing League boss Tony George, his stepfather.

"Very disappointed in Robin Miller reporting things before knowing the truth! There is no lynch mob!" tweeted Michael Andretti, referring to the outspoken SPEED TV correspondent who had identified Andretti as a likely leader of the so-called conspiracy. "The truth is I'm not leading any lynching!"

Related Pictures

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Former ALMS race director Beaux Barfield is appointed race director for the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012 by CEO Randy Bernard. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Randy Bernard at the announcement of the IndyCar Challenge. [Photo Credit: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media]
IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
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November 10, 2012 7:06 PM

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