Bernard Talks IZOD Sponsorship, Indy Lights
BALTIMORE, Md. – IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard confirmed Sunday morning that IZOD will return as the series sponsor in 2013 and indicated parts for the new Dallara DW12 chassis will be 20 percent lower beginning next season which could save each entry $76,000.
“We’re there,” Bernard said of an agreement with Dallara, which would continue to require certain parts are purchased from the chassis maker in order to maintain a competitive balance.
Teams will not be allowed to make their own parts but Bernard cited a “salary cap” system used in other sports to create parity between teams. He also said it added to the mystique of the sport if Dario Franchitti was faster than another driver using the exactly the same equipment as everyone else.
Bernard also discussed a variety of other topics:
* Bernard indicated at least one race next season will have a “standing start” – most likely a street course race such as the Grand Prix of Baltimore where a chicane had to be installed on the long Pratt Street Straightaway to slow the cars before hitting the railroad tracks for Baltimore’s Light Rail system.
* Bernard continues to believe there series will have 19 races next season with double-header races in the plans for 2013.
“We have to try a couple of doubleheaders,” Bernard said.
One of those new venues could be Pocono Raceway, which could bring back the old “Triple Crown” of 500-mile races which would also include the Indianapolis 500 and the 500-mile race at Fontana, Calif.
“That is definitely being kicked around,” Bernard said. “The fans have asked for it.”
Pocono (Pa.) Raceway President Brandon Igdalsky was in Baltimore over the weekend and met with Bernard over dinner Friday night.
* After his meeting with J.P. Grant of Race On LLC, Bernard said he is optimistic about Baltimore being on the 2013 schedule. He expects the 2013 schedule to be released mid-September, which, he says, gives Baltimore enough time to assess their future. Although the crowd was noticeably down from last year, Bernard said he was pleased with Saturday’s crowd for the ALMS race.
* Bernard would be pleased to welcome Dodge/SRT to the IZOD IndyCar Series, noting that he has met with top executives to discuss their participation.
* A decision regarding the new chassis for Firestone Indy Lights Series should be made next month. Bernard said he was pleased with the work accomplished by the team leading the series.