Earlier today, an article by Robin Miller at SpeedTV.com was published that stated that Tony George had been ousted by a vote of the board comprised mainly of his family as CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Later, they rephrased the title to “Transition at IMS” and added the speedway’s rebuttal to their article. SI.com, the IBJ and Channel 6 all got involved in the act, but at the end of the day, we have had no confirmation that Robin Miller’s assertions were correct. The article on SpeedTV has not changed again, but we are starting to get the impression that Miller was partially correct but mostly wrong in the facts and also the tone he chose to frame his article. Miller used his long article as a way to bash Tony George, stating that the family “ousted” him from his position in what would have amounted to a secret meeting behind his back, since the supposed meeting took place at night, not during the day when the normal board meeting was held. This was done in response to Robin’s assertions that Tony George had spent some 600 million dollars to prop up the IRL and lost money on the F1 deal. Both assertions were challenged by Tony George, who wondered where Miller got his numbers.
We will await any further developments, but this is our read of all that has transpired today. It is my opinion that the board meeting had long discussions about how to best position all of the Hulman family properties to face the challenge of the current economy. The idea was floated to have Tony George focus on the IndyCar series, and to allow someone else to lead IMS. No decision was made on this, but Robin Miller got a secret transmission from the girl who filled up the board meeting water glasses about the talks and Robin printed his article about Open Wheel Armageddon ensuing. Curt Cavin from the Indy Star and the guys at Trackside Online have indicated that there may be some truth behind this whole ordeal. But it would appear that Robin took some incomplete information and went crazy with it. I thought that was what bloggers were for. Anyway, Tony may be on his way out at IMS, but probably not anytime soon. But it is clear that the board’s desire is that the IRL become the most profitable venture that it can be.
***Update May 27th @ 8:15 am***
Curt Cavin has weighed in on the issue but has added no new information. He used the Tony George press conference and the IMS press release as sources for his story. His take on all that transpired yesterday was that the board has asked Tony for a long term management plan to be presented later this year. That management plan may or may not include Tony stepping down from his position as IMS CEO.
It would appear that the only new source that is sticking by this story is the “impeccable” sources of Robin Miller.