According to an article by Robin Miller at speedtv.com, Tony George is no longer the CEO at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A vote was reportedly taken by the board of directors which consist of his mom, his three sisters, himself and the speedway’s attorney which relieved the grandson of Tony Hulman from his position as top man at the most famous racetrack on the planet.
This leads one to ponder the possible reasons why the family has replace Tony.
First on the list is the most likely to me. Tony is tired of being the front man who gets vilified for every word that comes out of his mouth. Granted, he has made some bad decisions with the track and the IRL, but don’t let that fool you too much. He has at all times had the backing of the board at IMS, so his decisions have all come through their approval. Most likely, Tony is having more fun as a team owner than he has ever had running the track and prefers to go that direction instead.
It is certainly possible that the board had enough of the massive cash outlay that has been made to keep the IRL solvent, but we can only speculate on the actual amounts. With the addition of the NASCAR event and the F1 USGP and then the MotoGP race, the speedway has diversified their product offering under Tony George’s reign and continues to print money with every event they run (with the exception of the F1 race which only made money for Bernie).
As Robin Miller pointed out in his article, one can only speculate if their is any significance that recently replaced NASCAR promoter Humpy Wheeler was in attendance at the 500 this year.
Tony George will continue in his role as CEO of the Indy Racing League and in his capacity as team owner of Vision Racing. I would speculate that the board wanted to clearly separate IMS from the IRL at least publicly so that they could move forward and continue to maintain good relations with the other series’ that run at the speedway.
Obviously, the last thing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wants this to sound like is a spat between trust fund babies. And most likely, it isn’t. But since 3 of the board members collect from the same funds as Tony, who has spent vast sums from that trust…. one can only draw conclusions.
Clearly, IMS will be releasing statements to the media about this soon. Whatever the case, we will surely hear more on this story as the day goes on. Keep it tuned to Open Paddock and we will keep you updated.