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Interim CEO insists Bernard not sacked

Andretti was also careful to give his thanks to Bernard for his two and a half year stewardship of the series since March 2010. "Randy worked hard to further the series; we are grateful for his time with the sport and we wish him well in his future endeavours. We supported Randy just as we will continue to support the new administration."

One senior member of the IndyCar paddock speaking to SPEED.com under condition of anonymity suggested that the reason for Bernard's departure was because he wasn't able to reliably deliver on his ambitious plans for IndyCar since becoming CEO.

"Nothing happened. He didn't follow up on anything. He didn't do the things he said he was going to do. He didn't meet timelines," was the explanation. "We're in a timeline business. People rely on you executing things on stated timelines. When Randy says he's going to do this or that and nothing happens, as time goes on, his credibility wanes.

"Yes, he answered e-mails, yes he talked with all the fans, yes he spoke glowingly to the right constituents," the source continued. "But with the constituency he needed to work hardest on - the owners and the drivers - he didn't work hard enough to meet timelines with those people."

That quote underlines one of the biggest faultlines to emerge in IndyCar over the last few weeks: the perception that Bernard was too focused on the fans and the media, and not sufficiently accommodating to team owners on issues such as the soaring cost of replacement parts from Dallara for the new DW12 chassis.

Belskus was clearly keen to ensure that Bernard's departure wasn't taken by fans as some sort of proof that they are now being relegated to a minor side consideration by the series management going forward. He said that the fans were in fact "in the most important spot of all" in terms of how the series moved forward, and insisted: "The IndyCar community must remain together as one unit. And despite our differences, owners, promoters, drivers and the series must communicate as one.

"Without you – your eyes watching our races, your social media reminders to your friends as to why you are passionate about our drivers and events, your financial sacrifice to travel to and purchase tickets to our races, and your passion to stand up, be counted and tell us your likes and concerns – we will not succeed," he said.

"We watch racing because of our drivers and the on-track action, and this year the action and excitement were plentiful," he continued. "We watch the racing for the racing. We do not want it to be about off-track politics. It is my job and the job of teams, drivers, owners and others in the IndyCar community to use our energies to get the focus on our racing."

In his open letter, published on IndyCar.com late on Thursday, Belskus said that the series would continue with the plans for 2013 that Bernard had put in place before his departure.

"We are actively executing our 2013 plan that includes new events, an experiment with double-header weekends, the return of the Triple Crown, the introduction of the movie 'Turbo' that features IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500, and the Texas race being broadcast in prime time on ABC," he wrote.




Related Pictures

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Team owners Chip Ganassi (middle) and Roger Penske (right) talk at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the managing director of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Mike Hull (left.) [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Jeff Belskus. (Picture credit: IndyCar Media)
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