Bernard talks about Vegas, Motegi, live streaming

IndyCar commentary — By on March 26, 2011 8:58 pm

During his media availability this afternoon in St. Pete, Randy Bernard touched on a number of hot topics relating to the IZOD IndyCar Series. On top of clarifying that the payout of purse money to the top 26 cars would be based on qualifying and not race results, Bernard also talked about the following points:

On the current status of the Vegas challenge: “I’ve seen a lot of names and there’s a lot of interest, so I’m confident we’re going to have some solid names. But again, I’m not going to let somebody run that the committee doesn’t think is a world-class driver because when you look at the tradition of the Indy 500 it’s always been about who brought the best car and the best driver to the Indy 500, and that’s what we’re trying to do here. We’re not going to be able to do it with cars right now, but we can do it with drivers and say come on, we want you.”

On Roger Penske’s comment that he won’t run a challenge car at Vegas if he has drivers in the running for the championship: “There’s plenty of cars we can run, but it would be a big disappointment if we didn’t have Mr. Penske. It’s unfair for me to put the hard sell on Mr. Penske when he says give me until after [the Indy 500 to discuss it]. I’m going to respect his decision, and I’m going to hold off until after the Indy 500. But I can promise you — especially if he wins the Indy 500 — Monday morning, his phone’s going to be ringing. Early. And I can be a pain. I’ll call every day until he changes his number.”

On earthquake damage to Twin Ring Motegi: “I heard it was minimal, but there was some damage. We’re definitely discussing [contingency plans]. But I think that we want to be the utmost respectful to the country and to our partners over there and do what they suggest. If they come to us and ask us to cancel it, we’re going to do whatever we can to keep their relationship. And if they come to us and say they want to [run the race], we will. The ball’s really with our promoters in Japan. What they feel is right we will do. We will [need to decide by a certain date], but it doesn’t have to be until in the summer.”

On live streaming and the issues with INDYCAR Nation Race Control: “I was on the phone with our IT department last night, and I was very upset. I think that we have a problem with our bandwith, which they should have quite honestly — I take the blame — should have known before today. I’m not going to run from the problem. We’ve got to fix it. The live streaming, I wish I had a better answer. And I wish I could blame that on the past regime, but I can’t. And the reason I say that is because PBR had the same negotiation with Versus. I said, ‘we won’t sign something if we can’t do live streaming,’ and they said, ‘then we’ll walk.’ And I ended up signing the deal. So, I knew how passionate they were on that, and there was just no way I was going to change their mind. Comcast has all these contracts with all these other cable affiliates in the U.S. that say that they can’t run [streaming] to protect those cable affiliates buying all their programming. So, it really goes further than even Versus. Versus’s hands are tied just as much as ours because it goes to the big picture of Comcast.”

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