Franchitti: Bernard right man for job

NEW YORK -- More than a week after his Indianapolis 500 win, Dario Franchitti celebrated again, this time in Manhattan.

He also took time to discuss the future of the Indy Racing League and its new CEO, Randy Bernard.

"He is the right man for the job, and he's coming in a good time, as well," Franchitti said.

Franchitti toured the city, took photos with fans and posed along such landmarks as Columbus Circle, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum.

He said one of the IRL's goals should be figuring out how to better market the race to viewers.

"I want to see them deliver better value for the sponsors, in terms of exposure and TV value," he said.

With the reunification of open-wheel racing and the addition of Izod as the title sponsor, Franchitti said he has seen the league's popularity increase within the last three years.

"I'm very optimistic for the future," he said.

One of the IRL's best-known drivers, Franchitti said racing fans want a healthy series, quality coverage and recognizable faces.

"They're looking for a connection with the drivers," he said.

Franchitti placed fifth Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. Last year's IndyCar series champion, Franchitti said his main goal this season is to win his third IRL championship.

He is one of 17 drivers who have won two or more times at the Indy 500.