The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has released a statement debunking the speedtv.com article put up by Robin Miller earlier today. Here is their statement:
At a regular meeting of the board of directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 26, board members asked Tony George, chief executive officer of the IMS companies, to devise a plan for management of Hulman and Company, the Indy Racing League, Clabber Girl and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that would allow him to focus on the business which requires the greatest attention. This plan is to be presented to the board at a meeting later this year.
IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George said: “There was a general discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing all of our companies and where most of our energies need to be spent. All of our properties are doing well, given the challenges of the current economy. The Indy Racing League represents our greatest growth opportunity and therefore deserves the most attention at this point.”
Tony George said: “Contrary to published reports, I continue to serve as CEO of IMS. Our board of directors met yesterday, and we did discuss how to best confront challenges and exploit opportunities facing our businesses. This is nothing new and is something that we continually do as a board. But no changes in leadership or responsibility have been made. We don’t normally comment on board deliberations concerning our family business. However, the widespread, inaccurate reports and rumors caused my mother and me to conclude that it was necessary to set the record straight. If changes are made in the management of the company that are newsworthy, we will announce them when they are made.”
Robin Miller put up his article earlier today and later the IBJ and SI.com. Channel 6 in Indy also put up an article but it was later pulled because they could not verify the sources. Channel 6 now has a new article up stating that Tony is still in charge.
To further complicate things, the IBJ has done some additional digging and is now reporting that Tony denies that he has been ousted but IMS refuses to comment on the issue. They have talked with Robin Miller who claims his sources are “impeccable”.
We will continue to wait and see what happens for sure. For now, it is best to treat Robin’s story as suspect until we hear the whole truth of the matter. As with much that Robin writes, there is probably some kernel of truth to it. But as always, he rushes his story out to scoop everybody and ends up making Speed look silly for giving him such journalistic free reign.
From the IMS statement, it does sound like there is something on the horizon as the companies try to structure themselves better as they try to grow the Indy Racing League.
Open Paddock would like to apologize to our readers for not treating this story with more skepticism. For now, there are many conflicting reports so we will let the dust settle for awhile.
**Update at 4:17 pm est***
SpeedTV pulled the article again and rephrased a couple of things. They renamed it from “Tony George Ousted from IMS” to “Transition at IMS” and added the statement from IMS, but I didn’t notice any other changes to the article. They still are stating that Tony will no longer be the CEO of IMS.