And while the return of the IndyCar Series to the northeast is a major move in the first place (you think Boston won't be utilized again by IZOD for a giant party leading up to the race?), perhaps bigger is Bernard's seemingly larger vision for the future of the series' schedule.
Frankly, getting coverage for the IZOD IndyCar Series in the Boston Globe should count as a small victory. The only other time the series gets coverage is for the Indianapolis 500; the rest of the time, the series is lumped in with general racing results and news.
From Bernard's press conference on Sunday came the following news:
24 races? I've speculated on future schedules before, but little did I think the IZOD IndyCar Series would seriously consider expanding to a 24-race season any time soon. I figured going to 20 races would be about as envelope-pushing as it got. To be honest, I'm happy to be wrong.
The New Hampshire oval joins a Baltimore street race as new events on the 2011 schedule, which Bernard said he hopes to have finalized by late summer. Still to be decided are what tracks will drop off to maintain the current level, although Bernard said "in a perfect world, with a perfect television contract," he believes the series could eventually sustain a 24-race schedule.
"From what we're hearing from promoters, there is that much interest out there," he said.
So where does this lead the series, circuit-wise? Hopefully to Las Vegas, for one. It'd be a great end-of-season loop in a high-profile city for IZOD to have a massive post-season blowout.
As for 2011, the good folks over at Planet-IRL.com have a solid look at some potential future sites and a projected 2011 schedule (only 17 races, unfortunately) that is promising.
Randy Bernard is already delivering on his promise. Brought in as an outsider to the world of IndyCar racing, Bernard is quickly mending fences and building positive momentum for the series. And if it leads to a 24-race schedule in 2012 (new cars! new engines! new tv package?!), he may well have done more for the IZOD IndyCar Series in a year and a half than his predecessor will ever be given credit for.
I have been grandstanding for a 24 race deal for a while as an aspirational goal. It allows you to run a 12 12 series not only split for tracks but also between two TV partners. It won't happen over night but by 2015 should be a target by which success is measured...ReplyDelete