Heard here and there at PRI 2011
A paid staff member from Circuit of the Americas at PRI told me that Bernie, as in BERNIE ECCLESTONE, F1 Cashier, had given an extension for the $25 million F1 sanction fee – either five or seven days. Ecclestone’s words were more than just ‘Show Me The Money.’ He wanted the check and the pen to write it. This staff member said the track employees basically had been told nothing, and were getting their information from the Internet. Later, it was reported on the Internet that Ecclestone had granted the organizers a week extension, putting the deadline right down to the wire with the upcoming FIA World Motorsports Council meeting to finalize the 2012 F1 calendar.
During a post Industry Round Table discussion between ROBIN MILLER and JEFF HAMMOND regarding paying drivers by the race, instead of all the money up front at the beginning of the season, Miller paraphrased a comment made by his hero, A.J. FOYT – “Prepaid drivers don’t stay hungry.”
Miller, who broke the story Tuesday about IndyCar removing Race Director BRIAN BARNHART from Race Control and replacing TERRY ANGSTADT as IndyCar President of Indy Car’s commercial division, wanted it to be known that he never said that Angstadt had been fired – he left. IndyCar’s official release today said Angstadt resigned. Early Internet headlines said ‘fired.’
Miller had also said in his SPEEDTV.com article that among those names mentioned as replacement for Barnhart in Race Control was SCOTT PRUETT, current and past Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Champion. I asked where that name came from, and Miller said from Pruett’s Grand-Am team owner, CHIP GANASSI, who thought Pruett would be good in the job.
Miller had been an open wheel racer back in the day – way back in the day. His first Midget engine cost $500. Now it would cost $45,000. Never one to hold back, Miller said “Midgets – cars, minds, balls, and wallets.”
Further, he said “The passion for short track racing is still there. Dirt racing is still the most affordable form of racing. It’s making a comeback. Those racers spend everything they have on racing. Lots of us want to return to the good old days.”
Hammond said “If you’re not passionate about racing, then you’re in the wrong line of work.”