Bernard's publicity-focused management of the series has resulted in a number of high-profile run-ins with some of the team owners over the least year, not least over the cost of buying spare parts for the new DW12 chassis from Dallara under the IndyCar-brokered centralised supply contract.
Other candidates suggested by SBJ as being in line to take over from Bernard were Andretti Autosport's executive vice president and chief operating officer John Lopes or Daytona International Speedway's president Joie Chitwood III, a former chief operating officer at IMS for seven years when George was the CEO there.
However, current IMS CEO Jeff Belskus refuted the suggestion that team owners had reached breaking point with Bernard's stewardship of the series. "Executive management from both Hulman & Company and IMSC maintain continuous and open dialogue with IndyCar team owners about numerous issues related to the IZOD IndyCar Series," he said.
"No IndyCar team owner formally or informally approached either organisation about purchasing the IZOD IndyCar Series," he insisted. "Both Hulman & Company and IMSC remain committed to working with the IZOD IndyCar Series and its partners as they prepare for the 2013 season and beyond."
According to the reports, the takeover bid was presented to the board on the same day that Bernard met with the board to sign off the 19-race 2013 season calendar, and Belskus was keen to talk up this aspect of series business rather than dwell on the potentially divisive takeover rumours.
"The racing in 2012 showcased great competition on track and added to the foundation for growing the series," he said. "The just-announced 2013 schedule includes several new twists that could make the racing even more exciting. The combination of the return of nearly all the 2012 venues, including all the ovals, the addition of new tracks and the revival of the Triple Crown award make this one of the most exciting schedules in recent memory."