Tuesday, February 2, 2010

IRL hires Bernard as new CEO, replacing George

(by Curt Cavin indystar.com 1-30-10)

The Indy Racing League landed a new chief executive officer Friday when Randy Bernard accepted the position vacated by Tony George.

Bernard, the founder and now former CEO of Professional Bull Riders Inc., will be confirmed next week, industry sources told The Star.

Bernard turns 43 Sunday. He has never attended an IndyCar Series race.

The resident of Colorado City, Colo., said earlier this week that his background shouldn't be a hindrance to growing the IRL.

"I didn't know anything about bull-riding before we started," he said. "But 20 riders gave $1,000 each -- three had to borrow the money -- and we made it go.

"The first day we had a 15-by-15 office, a folding chair, a table and I was the only employee. We learned everything from the ground up."

PBR has grown into an international sport, distributing $9 million in prize money in 2009.

Bernard became familiar with IRL officials because PBR used IMS Promotions for some of its television work. Another tie is Versus, which PBR has used as its springboard to success.

"There are a lot of similarities between the two groups," Bernard said. "The IRL is already (going). All it needs is some direction and some dreams."

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