- Associated Press - Sunday, August 5, 2012

LEXINGTON, OHIO (AP) - With just three races left in the IndyCar season, the guy in charge of the series says there have been ups and downs in 2012.

“I give 2012 some high marks on certain things and some low marks on others,” IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said Sunday just before the start of the race at Mid-Ohio.

Bernard pointed to the introduction of a new car and getting the kinks out of it as one of the high points. He also said he was encouraged by the number of fans turning out.

“Our attendance has been very good at most races this year. I’m very happy with it,” he said. “Our ovals, there’s an improvement over last year.”

As for the biggest concerns, he pointed to TV numbers.

“I’d like to have seen bigger increases,” he said, “but when you look at our year, there’s some things we can change and improve at next year.”

One of those improvements is to expand the current schedule from 15 to at least 19 races.

“We have to have a minimum of 19 races. That’s very important,” Bernard said. “We have to be able to bring more attention to these drivers and these sponsors. We need to create more compelling story lines. The more races we have, the more exposure the drivers get, and the better opportunity we have to create those story lines.”

After the race at Mid-Ohio, the series has three left: Sonoma on Aug. 26, Baltimore on Sept. 2 and Fontana on Sept. 15.

Bernard said IndyCar was looking to add one or two more ovals to the series next year. He said any additions would likely be fit into the gaps currently in the schedule without extending the season or starting much earlier. This year’s schedule began with St. Petersburg on March 25 and will end at Fontana in mid-September.

Next year, the final race will likely be at Houston the first weekend in October.

Bernard said IndyCar is “intrigued” by a race in Germany but felt it was most important to establish the series in North America first and then go from there. The series will announce the 2013 schedule in the fall, after all contracts are finalized.


NOT A BIG FAN: IndyCar introduced a 5-second delay for its push-to-pass system at Sunday’s race at Mid-Ohio.

Drivers could hit the overtake assist button before getting to a braking zone, then were given extra power when they reached full throttle. Officials hoped the change would create more suspense.

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