Letters For Randy

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The Pressdog is up to something. Bill Zahren, whom I consider to be the blogger’s blogger, is mounting a campaign that I fully believe in. I think Bill was blogging on his “Pressdog” site before any of us even knew what a blog was. Pressdog is pretty much the Pied Piper of the blogosphere, so when he speaks – most listen.

Although I think he would prefer that we left his name completely out of this, I think Bill deserves the credit for coming up with such an original idea. His thought is that when Randy Bernard begins his tenure as the new CEO of the Indy Racing League on March 1, he should have some ammunition with him for his first day on the job. What better way to arm the new chief executive than to give him a stack of 1,000 letters from fans pledging their support for his leadership of the league; all the while disarming any rogue owners who think that they know what’s best for open-wheel racing.

This is a delicate time for the IRL. Once Tony George stepped down from his perch atop the IRL, there has been a power vacuum at the top. As uninspiring and controversial as Tony George was, he never left doubt as to who was running things at 16th and Georgetown. Once he was gone, Jeff Belskus toiled in anonymity for months. He finally realized that he needed someone in place who might actually be able to communicate with the fans.

Now that he has hired someone who admittedly doesn’t know the difference between Pat Patrick and Danica Patrick, some owners may be aligning themselves to topple the newly crowned leader who may be operating from a position of weaknsess. Whether or not you like the hiring of Randy Bernard, you had better hope he succeeds for the sake of American open-wheel racing. If his time at the helm of the IRL is deemed a failure over the next 18-24 months, Pressdog may be writing the obituary of the Indy Racing League.

If Randy Bernard is able to sit down with the most powerful owners in this sport (Chip Ganassi, et al), armed with a thousand letters of support from fans who have articulated their support for Bernard’s leadership – he’ll be working from a much stronger position. Chip Ganassi’s DeltaWing may or may not be the greatest concept to come down the pike since the turbocharger. But if that concept is to be adopted by the league, it needs to be on it’s own merits – not because Ganassi and some other owners have put a lot of physical, emotional and financial effort behind it. Randy Bernard needs to make it clear that he will not be bullied by a bunch of owners who ten years ago were calling the shots in their own series.

Debate the effects of the split all you want, but CART’s business model of having the control in the hands of egocentric owners was flawed from the start. To the chagrin of most die-hard IndyCar fans, myself included – the biggest reason why NASCAR works is because it is unquestionably in the hands of the France family. They call the shots. If the owners don’t like it, well…tough. In CART, if a commissioner tried to rule with a heavy hand, he was instead handed a pink slip.

Randy Bernard somehow needs to exert his authority from his first day on the job. If he doesn’t set the right tone with the owners at the onset, it’ll never happen. They’ll eat him alive.

This is where Pressdog’s idea comes into play. If you’re a reader of many blog sites, you’ve probably read several versions of this plea, already. It’s been a cause that has been taken up by most of the IndyCar blog sites. Since I post only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’m a little late to the party on this. But we, as fans, need to take up this campaign that asks each of us to compose a brief and polite letter stating why we are passionate about this sport or why we are so convinced about what needs to be done to improve it. Regular readers of this site know that my biggest challenge will be keeping it brief. I am extremely passionate about open-wheel racing and when I start pounding away at the keyboard, sometimes I can’t stop.

Pressdog also reminds us to not go back and talk about why the split was needed or evil. Our highest expectations of Randy Bernard does not include his having the ability to go back in time and re-write ancient history. Instead, it needs to be a polite letter about what you believe the Izod IndyCar Series needs going forward.

This is the second cause that we bloggers have recently taken to our readers. Just a couple of weeks ago, you were asked to send letters of reference to Vision Racing to help them secure sponsorship to find them back on the track. You responded and they are still collecting letters. I believed in that cause and I believe in this one, too.

Pressdog is not one to badger his reading audience, but when he does – he gets results. Just last week, he launched a campaign to have Roy Hobbson, the hooligan that writes The Silent Pagoda, reinstated into the good graces of IndyCar. They interpreted his comical article about the genesis of the DeltaWing chassis as having crossed the line. They were not amused and they promptly removed the links to his site from IndyCar.com, giving the indication that Mr. Hobbson might soon be swimming with the fishes. Pressdog picked up the cause, instigating an e-mail campaign. By this past Monday, the diabolical Mr. Hobbson was back in good graces with the league.

This is an excellent opportunity for Randy Bernard and for the fans. He can start his regime on the right note and we can have our voices be heard by a league that in the past hasn’t done a good job of listening to us. I urge each of you to send your letter this weekend to:

Randy Bernard
CEO, Izod IndyCar Series
4790 W 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222

Or if you simply despise the US Postal service you may send an e-mail to::
http://www.indycar.com/contact/

Thanks for letting your voice be heard.

George Phillips

You may read Pressdog’s excellent article here.

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16 Responses to “Letters For Randy”

  1. imjustsayingisall Says:

    A great idea if he were acting on his own to manage the IRL, however, lets not forget who is actually paying Mr. Bernard….
    I believe that Mr. Bernard like most managers will act in the best interest of the Hulman family as the board sees fit (especially since he is the FNG). If the board decides that it would be best to go with the DW for political, marketing and or financial reasons. They will as always move forward with that project regardless of whether or not we think it is a good idea. Remember that this decision like most business decisions is much like an iceberg, we, the paying public really only get to see about 10% of what is above the waterline (the 10% they want us to see, although they have done a horrific job of “breaking” this story). The other 90% is all done behind closed doors. Then released to the general public via the use of smoke and mirrors.

  2. Thanks, George, but you give me far far too much credit for far far too many things. The point of the letters is mainly to express your opinion on what the league should do, what you like and don’t like, etc. Speak up, in other words. You can’t control what Randy and The Sisters and the owners do. But if you can make your views known.

  3. I think imjustsayingisall is on the money here. Bernard was hired by the board to promote the interests of the board. I’m not sure that letters from fans will have any immediate effect.

    However, I do think it is important for the IRL to know what the fan base thinks, whether they want to hear it or not. Which is why I am writing a letter that tells them the future of the sport lies with 10 year old rich kids that will be the future owners of racing teams, and not with the 40, 50 and 60 year old guys with Dallara chassis in their garages. So what really matters when they choose the new chassis spec is what these “Richy Rich” kids think, and not what Gannasi-Penske-Banres-et al think. So I took the liberty of showing the designs to a few sons of local millionaires and they thought what the series really needed was hovercraft.

  4. What has this poor rodeo guy done to be sentenced to hearing the frequently hostile, stubborn, extremely varied opinions of we Indycar fans? Do you want him to throw up his hands in disgust and resign on the first day? (Sorta kidding.)

  5. Randy’s problem won’t be the team owners.

    It’ll be the Hulman-George family.

    At the end of the day, he’s not family, and he’s working on their behalf.

    • Being family didn’t do TG a whole lot of good.

      • imjustsayingisall Says:

        Actually they (The Family) have been bleeding cash for nye on to 16 years because of TG…. I mean how many cans of Clabber Girl do you think they manufacture in a year over in Terre Haute….?????

  6. Andy Bernstein Says:

    Opening New Doors. Today.

    Please read Chris Estrada’s interview with Mr. John Barnes, and the comments which follow:

    http://www.indyracingrevolution.com/2010-articles/february/john-barnes-and-the-deltawing-project/all-pages.html

  7. What is this “Po-stal Service” of which you speak? A brothel of some kind? A dinner roll? Do tell.

    • Well, George, looks like you and me and Tom Carnegie are gonna have to go hang out together at the wheel chair section. The good news is we get a really good parking spot, but the seats are crap. Maybe that Silent Pagoda guy can get us Handicap Pagoda Passes, and then we can all hang together with that wax statue of Bernie Ecclestone and his young hot wife.

  8. Hobbson–the “po-stal service” is who delivers your cigarette coupons, Victoria’s Secret catalogs and probation reports.

  9. Done and done.
    Posted on Tuesday – knowing how efficient the British postal service is, I expect it will arrive in the States by mid-August.

  10. I sent my letter last weekend after reading about this on Pressdog. I’m glad to see it mentioned here and hope more people will write.

    Leigh, thank you for writing from the UK. Very good to know there are passionate fans outside of the US.

  11. tim nothhelfer Says:

    If this guy can handle himself around some very large P.O.ed bulls, their riders and clowns he should be able to assert himself with Roger, Chip and the rest.

  12. I have sent my statement of support for Randy.

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