Sunday, February 07, 2010


I do not know Randy Bernard. But I wish him well in his role as new CEO of the Indy Racing League, because the American open-wheel sport -- where I spent much of my professional life -- desperately needs him to be successful.

Fair or not, Bernard has a lot of prove, and needed to get off to a great start.

Which is why I say this of last Tuesday's introductory news conference:

I'm not sure it is humanly possible to do anything dumber.

You see, while most of the Indy media huddled in Miami, cheerleading for the home-town Colts to win the Super Bowl, Bernard's introduction took place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Super Bowl week coverage is always going to dominate in any city with a team in the Big Game, but especially so in a town like Indy. Not only that, but Bernard's newser happened while the Colts were participating in that spectacle of wretched excess and nonsense otherwise known as SUPER BOWL MEDIA DAY!

They teach this in PR pre-school: If you have a major announcement, one that is supposed to be good news, a positive, something you want bold headlines for, news to energize all of your constituency groups, you schedule it for maximum exposure value.

Attention IRL: The above means NOT vs. your local team Super Bowl week and especially NOT on Super Bowl Media Day. (!)

I suspect Bernard didn't pick the day -- it wouldn't surprise me if it was done to suit the Hulman-George family's schedule (we did learn Josie George is calling the shots) -- but what was supposed to be such an important event should never have been left to what was convenient for anyone or anything other than the purpose of max media. Bernard, credited with building Pro Bull Riders into a success, should have staked-out his turf on Day One and said, "No. This is a mistake."

Let me repeat, and I said this on last week's The Race Reporters: I'm not sure it's humanly possible they could have done anything dumber.

I wonder if Izod executives -- in obvious need of a Jim Chapman -- noticed.

Sadly, for two decades, this is what we've come to expect from Indianapolis.

Who got more publicity last weekend? Danica . . . or . . . Sarah?

Here's a link to my new February "Drags, Dollars & Sense" column on

Upcoming The Race Reporters guests:
(Show is live Wednesdays at 7 p.m. ET, downloadable, and available on-demand at no cost. Click on TRR page logo in upper right-hand column.)

February 10 -- Newsmaker: Jamie McMurray. Panelists: Lee Spencer, Reid Spencer. Plus, Phil Burgess.

February 17 -- Newsmaker: Larry Dixon. Panelists: Alan Reinhart, Stan Creekmore. Plus, Larry Henry.

February 24 -- Newsmaker: Brad Keselowski. Panelists: Mark Armijo, John Sturbin.

March 3 -- Newsmaker: Terry Angstadt. Panelists: Gordon Kirby, John Oreovicz.

[ Jamie McMurray news nugget Thursday . . . ]