Andretti: Focus on drivers, not CEO, key for IndyCar

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One of the major stories this offseason in IndyCar was the removal of Randy Bernard as series CEO, with Indianapolis Motor Speedway head Jeff Belskus named interim CEO and IMS’ parent company Hulman and Co. announcing its new CEO Mark Miles.

With the leadership change now in the past, the defending champion team owner Michael Andretti would like to see the focus shift away from the politics back to the racing this year.

“Honestly I think it’s going to be so nice to have the promotion about the teams, drivers and races and not about the CEO,” Andretti told me at a press event promoting the Milwaukee IndyFest earlier this year. “When was the last time you saw anything where the CEO got more attention than any of the participants? I think that was so wrong for the series to have that; now it will be good. The new people in don’t want their name in the press, which is the way it should be. They are in the background, and we want to make the (drivers) the heroes.”

Andretti’s active investment in IndyCar is hard to match. As team principal of Andretti Autosport, he runs a four-car operation in IndyCar and is the only team owner to have a car entered in each of the three Mazda Road to Indy divisions, Firestone Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000.

Additionally, his Andretti Sports Marketing group promotes races at Milwaukee and Baltimore. Each will be in their second year under the ASM banner this year.

“It’s easy how it all gets done, it’s because of good people,” he said. “You hire good people, and let them do their job. I don’t have my hands in everything – I have fingers in – but you trust the ones you hire do their jobs. I truly believe, if you’ll give someone a job, you’re doing it for a reason. If they don’t, they answer to it. Otherwise what’s the deal?”