Randy Bernard out as IndyCar CEO

Auto RacingOpen-Wheel RacingCorporate OfficersRadio IndustryGrand Prix of BaltimoreIndyCar Series

Randy Bernard is out as CEO of the IndyCar series after a special meeting of the board of directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation on Sunday, radio station WIBC in Indianapolis reported.

Bernard was in the third year of a five-year contract and will remain in an advisory capacity.

Jeff Belskus, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and CEO, was named interim IndyCar CEO.

"We are very grateful for the tireless effort that Randy has invested into learning, understanding and working to grow the IndyCar Series over the last three racing seasons," Belskus said in a statement released by IMS on Sunday. "As both Randy and our organization have reflected on the past season and as we look toward the opportunities ahead and how to best take advantage of them, we agreed that the timing was right to pursue separate paths."

The announcement comes just a few days after Bernard denied a report published in the Indianapolis Business Journal that he had been fired Thursday.

The report said Bernard was negotiating a settlement with the board and had hoped to keep the news of his departure from becoming public for a few weeks. There had been speculation about Bernard's job security for about a year.

The IndyCar series, which includes the Grand Prix of Baltimore, lost between $7 million and $8 million this season, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal report. Much of the loss resulted from the cancellation of a race in China.

On Sunday, Bernard said, according to WIBC: "I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the entire IndyCar community, its teams, drivers, loyal partners and fans. The last three years have produced some exciting, and some difficult, times. But we have created a foundation for IndyCar that positions it to grow over the next several years, and I am proud of what everyone at IndyCar has been able to accomplish since I came on board."

Bernard had been the CEO of the Professional Bull Riders before accepting the IndyCar post in March 2010.

This season, he introduced the first new car in nine years, and many considered it the best in auto racing.

Nonetheless, television ratings have been far below expectations.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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