Speedway traditions sacrificed, and IndyCar better for it

May 25, 2012
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On Carburetion Day, the focus should be on the race track and the teams that make the Indianapolis 500 special.

But it’s also a good time to reflect on the bold moves made by a small handful of people over the last three years that are making this May a truly special month for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Those moves have led to revenue increases during a time when many track operators are praying that decreases don’t hit double-digits.

It’d be easy to say the ouster of Tony George as Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO is what precipitated the current rise in the track’s fortunes.

It’s true that George’s departure is a part of this story. But it’s not the biggest part.

It’s also true that this story is about the rise of George’s former chief financial officer, Jeff Belskus, who has led to a financial resurgence of the storied facility.

But getting to this point began way before Belskus was hired, and took a lot of courage by the board that oversees the track.

This story is about a family-run business and its principals realizing the salad days of open-wheel racing and the Indianapolis 500 had long since passed them by. It’s about the way the Hulman-George clan realized their business must evolve or die.

Sure, the Indy 500 has always been profitable and still attracts more than 300,000 ticket-buying fans a year. But there’s also no denying that in recent years—really, since the open-wheel civil war of 1996—that attendance and TV ratings have been down. And with that, hospitality and sponsorship revenue also atrophied.

As you’ve probably realized by now, this post isn’t about the death of open-wheel either. It’s about a family recognizing they need help to keep it alive and thriving. It’s also about the realization that without a healthy Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indianapolis 500, the death of IndyCar racing—in fact all North American open-wheel racing—is likely imminent.

This is a post about how Hulman-George family members realized they must broaden their thinking. And to do that, they had to take several mammoth steps to break with tradition. To break that tradition and take the sport forward, the Hulman-George family realized it had to loosen the tight grip the family’s inner circle had on the high-profile family-owned business.

It’s true that the revolution started by making a change at the top. It was a painful, yet necessary step to take this business forward. Feelings were hurt, and I imagine, relationships among those in the Hulman-George family were damaged. But the business of the Speedway—and its sister company, the IndyCar Series—have been raised.

And this is also a story about healing.

Tony George is no longer head of the operation. But he is on the board. This is a board that has in recent years decided to significantly expand itself beyond familial borders.

Shortly after George was replaced by Belskus in 2009, several board members were added to the mix, notably LDI Chairman Andre B. Lacy and former Anthem Chief Financial Officer Michael L. Smith. Before that move, the board was largely run by Mari Hulman George, her three daughters, and son, Tony.

Indiana Pacers President Jim Morris and Central Indiana Corporate Partnership CEO Mark Miles, who chaired the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee and is former CEO of the ATP Tour, were added this year, as was Belskus.

When I asked Lacy why he had been added to the board overseeing the Speedway, he deadpanned: “Everybody needs a boss.”

It was clear, the inner circle had been broadened by a new thinking—and a new level of checks and balances.

At first, Belskus seemed awkward in public and uncomfortable with the media. Quickly it became apparent he was serious about following the new board’s primary objectives: Cut expenses and raise revenue.

By 2010, it became clear that Tony George was just the first sacred cow to be sacrificed on this business-bolstering pilgrimage. Belskus worked hard to make the staff leaner and the bottom line beefier.

Many in the Hulman-George family remain in key positions. Jared and Kyle Krisiloff hold director level positions, and Tony George Jr. is heading up Indy Lights, IndyCar’s primary feeder series.

Belskus makes no apologies for the revolution he took part in.

“Our traditions are important and we want to continue them, but sometimes we can’t,” Belskus told IBJ earlier this month.

Board members, to their credit, have not micro-managed. They gave Belskus broad directives, but they left it up to him on how to achieve those. He wasn’t bashful about sacrificing some of the Speedway’s longstanding traditions.

Tony George, who was the first soldier in this revolution to fall, deserves part of the credit for the change in direction. He resigned from the board shortly after he was fired as CEO. But he returned in 2011. And though there was much speculation about what he might try to do as a board member, it doesn’t seem as if he’s tried to interfere with Belskus or the new direction he’s taken the track.

And Belskus has made some dramatic changes.

Last year, Belskus hung corporate signage along pit lane. This year, he made the bold move to sell wall space in turns three and four to Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka and Shell Oil Co. It was the first time such ads were hung at the Brickyard.

Also this year, NTB, a national car service and retail outlet, will have signage in the grass at turn one and signage will be hung on the back of existing video boards. Also firsts at the vaunted Speedway.

IMS’ opening up of areas previously off-limits to advertisers has created a swell of interest among marketers. In addition to Fuzzy’s, Speedway officials signed new deals this year with Continental Tire, Nissan, Visit Florida, First National Bank of Omaha, 5-Hour Energy, Farmers Insurance, Nationwide and Banana Boat.

Belskus told IBJ he expects a strong double-digit increase in sponsorship sales this May at the track and a possible 10-percent plus increase in total revenue for this year’s Indianapolis 500 over last year.

IMS Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Mike Redlick said “there’s been a change in philosophy” at the track. At the heart of the change, said Speedway executives, is creating an event that is more friendly toward the track’s corporate partners.

It seems like such a simple idea. But it’s taken a dramatic shift in thinking and a risky break with tradition to get here. So far, Belskus—or anyone else I’ve talked to—hasn’t heard any backlash over the changes.

“People understand that sponsorships and advertising are a part of racing and sports,” he said. “Lucas Oil Stadium and [Bankers Life] Fieldhouse are full of corporate signs. As long as we don’t block anyone’s view or disturb the experience, I don’t expect many complaints.”

Belskus is promising to make more dramatic changes in the months and years to come.

This is a story about change. It’s a story about growth. It’s a story that three years ago I would have sworn somewhere along the line would have an ugly outcome. I thought it might even end up in court.

While the IMS and IndyCar Series, and the people that run these enterprises, still have challenges before them, things are largely turning up.

And with the green flag in sight, the leaders of this 103-year old facility are yelling “go, go go!”

  • Well written Anthony. I think the toughest thing for the Hulmans and true of any family company is that reality was getting more complex than could be handled by the family. Almost any family owned business must realize that or die. Tough decisions, but ones that had to be made.

    I don't like the wall signage, but in this era of sports marketing it is almost required. Many folks cringed at advertising at Assembly Hall and Hinkle fieldhouse, but times and finances change.

    Thanks also for reminding us the other blue chip sponsors IMS has picked up.
  • Kudos
    Great article Anthony. Glad IMS is finally being run like a business and not a personal check book to finance the "Vision".

    Things are looking up but 15 years of scorched earth won't be fixed overnight. Unfortunately the TV ratings are still poor and that won't change anytime soon with the brilliant 10 year contract signed under the former regime.
  • Really?
    TV ratings anyone? Name a driver that is not Penske or Ganassi? Ads on the turns? "It's a business..." that is the problem. It's racing and they are ruining it. Tony H. is spinning.
  • fan or sponsor?
    "At the heart of the change, said Speedway executives, is creating an event that is more friendly toward the track’s corporate partners." What about the fan? For the first time in my 15 years going to the track, I was confined to three small, cramped sections of turn 4 on Pole Day. Not enjoyable. Sponsors banners may generate revenue in the short term, but I don't see IMS/IndyCar doing anything to make the product they are selling more desirable. Sponsors only come where the fans are, so seems to me they have to do something to get more fans in the seats before selling advertising space on the walls. And 220 MPH ain't going to do it!
  • Finally
    something to take iman's mind off CART,,,the league itsownself doesn't do it
  • Give it time
    To Mytwocents: Josef Newgarden. Rome wasn't built in a day. Nor was it destroyed in a day. Nor will it be rebuilt in a day. Give Jeff Belskus and his staff some time to make the improvements necessary. As for fan experience, you have to pay the light bills first. The rest will be addressed in good time.
  • Truth, unlike you, I will be enjoying my favorite racing series this weekend. The only thing to remember about cart is to not forget why it died. Because the team owners were allowed to run it. no major race series follows this model. Those who do not remember their history are forced to repeat it.
    • CARTization has begun
      Sorry to tell you but it is starting to get that way again. Penske controls who gets the Ilmor and KK will control who will get the Cosworth when they end up back into the series. We have already seen examples of this when Penske led the campaign that kept the Judd under powered even though the rules agreed to by the manufacturers allowed Indy Car to make modification in order to equalize competition. Didn't have the power to fight Honda, but walked all over Judd.
    • I heard its gone to be
      If you add up 3 or 4 IRL 500s, you might get the TV audience that the owners of CART were able to draw in one afternoon. Iman knows suckage; it's his favorite
    • iman is doing such a good job
      of covering the IRL 500 that USA Today isn't even going to bother with it.
    • IRL Headline from another national paper
      IndyCar gets set for its biggest day of the year, but it’s back to anonymity on Monday
    • Trouble brewing, don't count your chickens YET
      Apparently in a story released by Jenna Fryer of the AP one hour ago, a rift has developed between Owners and Indycar.

      This has advanced so far in secrecy that Penske and Randy Bernard hadn't spoken since the Chevy appeal was denied over the Honda turbo issues.

      Fryer also stated the owners are banding together in an effort to have Bernard removed. YMMV.

    • Chief, thanks for the heads up, Jenna repeats what I have been saying for 16 years. The Cart model fails whenever it is tried. I hope she is wrong, the owners can't run the series, it kills racing series.

      "The team principals fight for power with the league, fight with each other over rules and generally search for just about anything to complain about. Unlike Formula One and NASCAR, which both succeed operating as virtual dictatorships, IndyCar has moved closer to the model that ultimately killed CART—the inmates trying to run the asylum.

      "You are never happy with a racing association, they've all got problems," A.J. Foyt said Monday. "I don't care if it's NASCAR or its SCCA, or whoever. Somebody is always going to be upset with something." "

      So Chief, TG, IMS, IRL, did not kill cart, cart killed itself. That is your quote, and you are right. TG, IMS, IRL saved American OW racing. Hopefully Belaskus can resist the urge to give in to the inmates.
    • iman is still having trouble
      with CART owners choosing to let the Hulman family bankroll their racing businesses twice
    • I Listened to about half
      of Justin Bieber's new song and realised the only difference between him and the IRL is that he is popular. I mean they both suck but at least he is popular.
    • obvious delusion
      I don't tell Jenna Fryer what to write, or Penske or the owners banding together what to do...

      You make a set of rules you stick by them. Don't change them up mid-stream. Inmates don't want to run the asylum...they are happy dominating the Hulman series.

      I think this is about favoritism, especially the loyalty kind. IMS wouldn't do something like that, would they?

      Where IMan is wrong, this isnt about power or control, nor is it about running the sport. So, IMan, give it a rest.
    • We know you don't tell Writers what to write, but you did call up an article that perfectly explains what i have been saying since the split. You cannot let the team owners run the series. Obviously the writer that you called out feels the same way. Obviously so does the rest of the major racing series. F1 team owners even tried take over F1, and failed.

      Did you say this isn't about power or control, but is about running the sport? First, this is all about power and control. Cart forced a takeover so they could have power and control. They wanted the power and control to run the sport. They got it and they ran it into bankruptcy.

      it is all about power and control
    • Chief talks about his singing and dancing shows, truth chimes in about bieber fever, starting to wonder what sort of sports fans these folks are.
    • new crapwagan are ugly i love the old car
      4.1 over night rating so what in 15 to 20 years when irl go back to american racing irl will be number 1 too bad nascar own all the ovals
    • Truly humbled
      Hey Truth and Chief. I know how you guys love to blame the Hulman George family and the IMS for all evil in the world. Try watching the 500 awards banquet some year and see how truly humbled these drivers are to have participated in the 500 and thankful for all that is done to make racing as safe as it is. The people who are really in the know (The drivers) don't seem to buy into your half baked theories of conspiracies. I saw many hearfelt memories of Dan Wheldon the last week from his buddies and not a bunch of garbage about who killed him. The new chassis although not perfect providing some very entertaining racing
    • Not the hole werld
      just the ever dwindling werld of American opened wheeled racin. nice try tho. And on the weekend when the Hulman George family sets a new track record for futility. 4.1 4.1 lmao down to a 3.7 or 3.8 final
    • just think how humbled and thankful
      they would be to participate in a real 500 where the rules and traditions aren't modified every half hour to compensate for the inept leadership and the boondoggle the family is responsible for
    • Of course since truth and chief didn't make it to the track, they will not realize how well attended it was. With the exception of some empty seats in the north and soutth chutes, that place was packed. The infield was the most full I have ever seen it. Turn 3 was packed with people as was the mounds along the back stretch.

      If we are going to see this kind of driving action out of these cars, it is going to be an exciting future. The last 30 laps most people were standing and cheering. They really wanted to see TK or Carpenter take it. When Sato hung it all out there and lost, you could hear the collective cheers and groans from the crowd.

      Good to see Chevy Honda both thrive out there. Well designed engines, I never remember seeing a new enginer introduced that did not have reliability issues. I hope Lotus gets the bugs worked out, a three way engine race will make it fun.

      Next year the action will get more interesting with the Mr. Potato Head cars. Mixing and matching aero packages will keep everyone guessing. Kudos to a little noticed, but ingenius marketing plan. The numbers on the cars are so hard to read, you have to learn the colors and sponsors names to know which car is which. Great job for giving value to the sponsors.

      Very few incidents even with a record number of passes. This was a great show, and great showcase for Indycar. Lets see how the rest of the season goes.

      Great crowd, great racing, great day, can't wait until the next race.
    • The truth
      Second lowest rating since going live in 1986. The Northeast Vista, Tower Terrace and Pit Road Terrace were the emptiest I have ever seen. Huge cheers when Kanaan took the lead and when Special Ed ran out of talent. CART team/driver wins 13th in a row.
      • crowds
        Looked pretty packed from the Penthouse A. Best of luck to the series and their continued marketing plans!
      • Attendance DOWN
        500 attendance down from 2011. TV ratings LOWEST EVAH!

        I know this will be proclaimed as headed in the right direction...but why does it look so bad?
      • Chief, care to give us your source for attendance?

        Brett, I sat in North East Vista, third year in a row. Only one section on the far south eastern section was only half full, most of the rest was full. You may not realize that much of that section is reserved for Military and their families, many of which were not there until second half due to performing pre race activities.

        I checked the prerace aerials on ABC and the main straight was nearly packed for the start.

        Huge cheer when TK passed for lead is correct, but also big cheers for Ed when he was moving up. Sorry boys, twist it anyway you want, but this was another successful 500. Better racing cannot be found, or contrived as NASCAR tries to do.
      • Burl was there
        Burl here now to chime in. I was there with the crew, NE Vista. There were empty seats/rows, yes. But not large swaths of aluminum. From our vantage point, the seats in the distance looked 80 percent full. I am guessing there were 225,000 in attendance. Not bad.

        Overall, it was a great day and the Speedway lives. Great race. Exciting. Fun. One complaint: It was obvious the closing stages were manipulated for a big finish. The Series needs to quit on "manufactured" action and let the chips fall. That is what makes all sports great. Sometimes the endings are dull, sometimes they are electric. I sense the league favors Penske and TCGR for whatever their motivations are and it is wrong.

        Otherwise, no complaints. Hot day. But fun. I think there will be a few more 500's.
      • No spin
        No spin here, sitting in NW Vista Deck and the NE backstretch was empty on the end, North light and the replay shows the terraces EMPTY during the race. But i'm sure all 75,000 folks all went to get a tenderloin at the same time.
      • Empty seats or maybe it's just brains
        Hey Truth, Chief, and Brett you guys still don't get it. Racing is not that popular these days. Apparently you didn't see all the empty seats at Charlotte Sunday nite. The empty seats in the NE Vista were no different than they have been for the past several years. The ONLY seats empty are the absolute worst seats at IMS. I find it comical that all you can manufacture up are some empty seats (even though a record purse was handed out). You guys can't even talk about the racing which is the only thing that really matters which happened to pbe outstanding. I have been to 51 Indys and the crowd was as engaged as ever. It is ironic that you guys must have an interest in OWR since you are always on this blog but all you try to do is it kill it. Ain't gonna happen. Go to a race and find something positive like the rest of the 1/4 milliion at the 500 on Sunday
      • So Brett, are you saying the folks showed up for the prerace and start and then left when the race started? As was stated on ABC, many of the folks were under the stands trying to stay out of the sun. Blistering day. We had respite in Turn 3 due to the breeze, something you rarely get on the main straight.

        I would guess 200,000 in seats, and 50,000 to 100,000 in the infield. Again, Turn 3 infield was packed. to the gills. Even had an idiot jump the fence and get tackled by ISP attempting to run out on the track.

        Great race, great racing, can't wait until the next one.
      • LOL
        Saw the video of the moron in turn 3, he was out there way too long before he was detained, I'm not use how that happened.Series has a ways too go but Randy seems to have things going in the right direction if they can survive the low TV ratings. If the owners oust Randy and we go back to the old regime it's over.
      • Don't disagree, can't go back to the owners running things, that is guaranteed failure.
      • Proof
        Attendance was down from 2011. You really want to dispute that?

        TV Ratings are (at this point) tied for second lowest EVER. Look it up...but I think this will be the lowest ever when finished. Like 3.9 low.

        Maybe next year they will market/advertise. Maybe next year they'll have ABC have qualifications. Maybe next year they wont have goofy white glasses to hand out. Maybe next year the ugly car will be gone. Maybe Lotus will be around next year. Maybe they will have sexy sporty bodykits. Maybe next year they will keep the new cars from flying/flipping driver cockpit into the fence.

        Maybe. I predict continued downward trending for this sport.

      • Who done it
        Looks as if Penske is off the hook for the revolt.

        Could it be the old IRL brethren stirring the pot? Could it be an old time IRL regular be wanting Randy out of the picture? Could this powerplay be at the orchestration of none-other-than Lord Sagamore hisownself!???

        This is going to be interesting. Bwahahahhaha!
      • Word out of Indy...
        ...Ashley Judd has appointed herself as Royal Queen of IMS. She is ordering us all to humbly refer to her husband as Lord Dario.
      • Kudos

        Nice civil discussion on some common ground.

        Anyone know what stands are being removed?
      • Hay MArio
        when are them 1/4 million going to become racing fans instead of place fans. When are them 1/4 million going to go a race other than the one in May. I'll help you out. They aren't. They are IMS place fans and they won't attend or watch another race all year long. Bloviation is all place fans have
      • Something has hit the fan
        Looks like ol' Robin has opened a can of worms...sez John Barnes and Tony and Nancy George want Randy OUT.

        Oh boy, the IRL split from within it's self!!!! WoOT! Only one day after the Greatest Race in the Universe was run to 2nd lowest TV ratings in all time and attendance DOWN from 2011!!!

        Gonna be a showdown at 16th and Jonestown tonite for sure! What side will AJ be on? Bwashahahahhhaa!
      • Ouch! This will not end well
        I just read the Robin Miller article. It looks like things are starting to fall apart from the inside out. I have a feeling this will not end well for anyone associated with the sport. This will turn off sponsors wanting to be associated with the series. This is not good timing after a pretty good 500 too.
      • The IRL Chapter 3
        You read it hear first. Look for the return of the IRL!
      • I Heard Tony George
        is gone to put them motors back up front where they belong, like they was when he was running indycars
      • Support the TG led owners revolt
        Isn't it ironic Tony George will lead an OUSTER attempt against the goodwill of IMS/Speedway?

        So, in this scenario, who do you pick? The CARTesque TG led OUSTER group of disgruntled owners, or IMS Speedway proper w/ Ropin Randy un-apologetic in his ways?

        This is so screwed up even I can't find something funny in it all. We were right all along...in EVERYTHING. I revel in that...I really do.
      • Non Truths
        Hey Truth. The vast majority of the fans at Indy didn't go to another race n the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or 2000s. Why should we change the rules now.
      • Buhbye IZod
        now why would IZOD leave this vibrant series when it just had its only race of any significance

        Hey Chief, have you received any emails from Mike "300% return" Kelley lately?

        CART fans did 40-50,000 Randy has noi CART fans, that is why his league is a runt
      • pressdog
        final rating 4.3 up 7.7 percent from 2011
      • Wow
        Do that 7.7% increase for 10 years and you still won't be close to 1995
      • Chief, I do dispute that attendance was lower. Unlike you, I actually attended this race and last years. Sat in the same spot both years. Fewer empty seats and a much larger crowd in the infield. Since you were wrong again with the tv ratings, forgive us if we doubt you on the attendance. I don't really trust someone who was not there.

        TV Ratings. While not where anyone wants them to be, they are the best since 2008 and came during probably the best 500 in 30 years. Hopefully people liked what they saw and will tune in for future races.

        Provide the link to Robins article. All I have seen are posters talking about it, no actual article. Of course forgive me if I doubt Robin "Mr. Irrelevant" Miller. He was on tv earlier this month kissing up to IMS. I wonder if he did not get the credentials he felt he deserved and is now attacking IMS.

      • Attendance was lower
        Iman, I seen the pictures, they even removed seating. Attendance down. Trust me Iman, you can't evaluate from a single position in gomerland. How was DJ Kwanzami in the snake pit? Are packed turn 3 snake pit dwellers even cognizant of a race going on? Do they really count for the future of the sport? More place fan action.

        Truth, Mike Kelley has been suspiciously absent ever since spouting 300% ROI for IRL investment. Then the IRL got sued and they just settled with a big payout to them guys. Smoke and mirrors...and with the shrinking footprint of IZOD's "race to the show" at every race it makes you wonder WTF is going on at IRL headquarters. Now, Randy sez both parties are "re-evaluating". Doesn't sound good...no siree Bob. Averaging 0.4 on VerSUs and hovering around the lowest Indy 500 ratings records since live TV began...it ain't looking good. This deal is on a thin tight rope.

        I was told 4.3 is meaningless. Still got whooped by NASCAR Coca-Cola 600. I don't believe that's the final numbers though....
      • Have you ever sat in the Northeast Vista? From there you can see the stands of the south short chute, all of two, the back stretch, all of 3 and most of turn 4 stands. With the exception of about a half empty section in north vista some open spots down close to the track and a half empty section at the end of the north east vista, the stands were packed. Much fuller than the same vantage point last year.

        I watched the replay of the race. Front straight was packed, all of the turns packed, it was the largest crowd in a decade.

        So what stands did IMS remove this year?

        So now you question infield seating? I realize you are a young pup at IMS, and you certainly don't know, don't care and don't want to learn about its history, but infield seating has been a mainstay since its earliest days. I, like many people saw my first race from the infield. It was an inexpensive ticket. I eventually moved up to seats, but many people still see their first race from the infield. I would tend to believe many race fans today started out in the infield.

        So still not admitting you were wrong once again on tv ratings. First to believe any rumor negative against the 500, never believe anything good. Typical Chief.

        So still no comment on the fact that even Jenny Fryer admits the owners running the asylum is not the way to run a series? the basic argument is still there. with cart owners running the series, it was doomed. Just a matter of time. We still see that today with the supposed meddling of a few teams unhappy with a ruling.
      • Huh
        I don't want owners in control anywhere. But they are...
      • I heard
        IMS is going to start selling under-the-stands tickets negst because according to the apologists that's where everbody ends up any ways
      • Chief, that is what your favorite race series was. A little history for you. Before cart, Tony Hulman and IMS controlled American open wheel racing through USAC. Things went well, crowds were up and it was good racing. Then the team owners felt they were not getting enough money, nor enough say. They formed cart to be an advocacy group. When they were rejected by USAC, cart formed a full fledged break from USAC with the owners firmly in control. that is the series you hold out as the model, the series where you feel racing was at its pinnacle. But as has been pointed out by me, sportswriters and the fact that no major series survives that way, carts model was unsustainable.
      • Are you saying CARt is back?
        So IMam, are you saying CART is rising up again? Gonna run off an start a 1979 again? You're skeeered, aren't ya?

        Is Dan Gureney and Pat Patrick behind this? What side is AJ on? Whta does Joe Cloutier think about this? Ronnie Van Zandt? Who is the white house?

        I see your paranoia runs deep.....

      • Indy holds the cards
        IMS is God in this sport, as it should be. Or at least ought to be. Think not? Name the winner of Edmonton last year without looking it up? Was there an Edmonton? Quickly, who was the winner of US 500 in May 1996?

        No IMS, no Indy 500, no sport.

        Against this simple backdrop, a supporting sport for one race must be governed. To that end, IMS must maintain control of said series so that all roads lead to Indy. The IMS Board must appoint a Commissioner, beholden only to the IMS Board. That individual must be Bowie Kuhn/Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis capable and strong. He should oversee a series of about 8 to 10 annual races, all but two of which are conducted on ovals IMS either partners with or owns outright. Iowa, Gateway, Milwaukee, etcetera.

        The Commissioner shall inform the owners the gospel rulebook will be enforced and races conducted accordingly. If they are not acceptable to those terms, they may leave.

        Six "house cars" shall always be kept on hand at Indy, liveries reflecting IMS and/or series sponsors as an insurance against less than 33 situations in which the series pitifully must go hat in hand to owners and request they field extra cars in exchange, no doubt, for favors.

        USAC is a suitable governing body in the way umpries in baseball are employees of MLB and answer to the league presidents and commissioner's office. If not them, then IMS must create their own again.

        Indy Racing Legaue was a fine moniker. "IRL" was just beginning to ne the identifier when Mr. Beranrd listened to CARTisans and dropped it.

        The Indy Racing League. It was a perfect, catchy name.

        Bring it back. Appoint a Commissioner. Have an 8 to 10 race series. Go to another network. Make it about the INDY 500.

        Nothing, NOTHING else will ever work. It has not. And it won't.

        It is very much about the Indy 500. And the Indy 500 only.

        I think it is time for the old owners such as Penske and Gannassi to move along. Their day has come and gone as viable direction for the sport.

        It is a new Indy500-centric and managed era.

        Seize the reigns, IMS. Seize the reigns.
      • Who knows
        I don't think Randy is going anywhere, I don't think there are enough votes against him on the board, and that's who he answer to. Ratings appear to be flat and a majority of people I talked to who actually attended the race say attendance was down, it would be better to judge attendance in a non record heat year. However the new car and new race control put on a hell of a show. If the owners don't want that then I really have no idea what they are thinking and I most likely have no interest, again. Sad really.
      • So Burl
        having a racing league whose fans only care about one race is working out grate is it? It would be grate to have 18 to 20 racing leagues, each centered around the only race it own fans cared about.
      • Hay CHief
        Mike Kelley is no longer the Izod marketing manager. So apparently he was the only one at PVH who saw any value in the league that never has
      • No One Has A Clue
        Just read through all this nonsense you are all typing. It's sincerely laughable. The speedway has NEVER released official attendance numbers. But to claim it was "down" is a flat out lie. Sorry, Chief, I was there. It was just as full as it was last year. That's as black and white as it gets.

        Final ratings were posted and they were UP from last year and edged out the 600, so again, you are speaking nonsense (not a surprise).

        One last thing. You also claimed a few weeks ago that Lotus would NOT be on the grid in Detroit... Well, guess what? Wrong again.

        Go ahead, throw in your 11th hour caveat that there is only going to be one car running a Lotus. Either way you are incorrect.

        As a recap: Indy was awesome. Great time, great race, and Chief hasn't a clue.
      • No Chief, just giving you a little history lesson since you admit that your knowledge and experience basically began in the mid '80's. No fear, just hoping that the powers that be learn from history so we are not forced to repeat it.
      • Prognostications
        I missed on Penske winning. I missed on most caution laps ever. I missed on lowest TV ratings ever (allegedly). And, I missed on lowest attendance ever, apparently though there is no official number released.

        I was correct that a non american would win. But seriously J, we don't come here to hear my poopy prognostications. We all just come here to talk about the business of Auto racing, Indy style.

        Some are saying Randy was playing the owners....an ownership manipulation tactic. Pretty cool if true....
      • Iman is wrong
        No IMan, you concluded that my history and knowledge are limited...not me. You don't even know me or what I know, so it's quite presumptive of you. And it's not Indycentric, either.
      • You are the one who said you remember watching quals live when you were growing up. ABC did not air live quals until the mid '80's. To meet what you said, you must have been a mere child at best when the split happened. That is unless you lied.

        So 1 for 5, not very good guessing. Of course that goes with your almost yearly prognosticating of the end of the Indycar. Epic fail there. I am guessing you do not work in predictions for a living.
      • What I think is grate is
        the league is still spending tens of millions to stay afloat even tho the only competition it has is Chief's internet connection
      • The hapless racing league
        should be on Comedy Central cause it sure is funny
      • more races
        the series need 22 race to stay afloat probly going to more street race what i hate but must stay alive i guest look like its going to be for while 1 oval 19 street race 2 natural terrian race track business is business smith and nascar have to get the message no more bullying irl
      • No aero kits
        The ICOLONIC Committee car choice has fallen on rough times. It can't race in Detroit, the owners havve voted down aerokits for 2013, AND 0.7 on ABC for the Detroit race.

        Banner week for the IRL when you toss in the owner revolt.
      • Look CHief
        this season is over and it's 51 weeks before the next season starts. they have plenty of time to work it out. Because Indy is all they've got left.
      • duck car
        they need new aero kits because the car is ugly if it did look good keep it
      • you almost feel badly for the Indy haters. After a successful 500, they are trying to lather themselves into a frenzy over the eminent failure of indycar again. Guys, any predictions? Chief, maybe you can get the car owners to make an apology to you as one of their conditions

        Disappointed that Penske could not put on a better show at his place. i will give him benefit of the doubt he did not know the track would fall apart, but that is unfortunate. They really need to run an oval after Indy. Milwaukee was always a good follow up race.
      • Yes it was
        before Tony killed open wheel racing
      • The Dreaded Anton Crutch
        The definition of complete and total ignorance: Blaming Tony George for all real or perceived problems in racing.

        It would certainly be novel if/when those predisposed toward such ignorance or in many casees blind hatred developed just a tad of sense and/or the ability to use a mirror.
      • imminent mean "about to happen"
        I hear that the week following the 500 was quite a tough one for the sport. Owner revolt, no aero-kits for 2013, 1.5 mile oval questions about safety, disasterously low TV ratings 0.7, falling attendance, the Detriot pavement abomination, the Qingdao race collapse etc.

        Care to discuss any of the above topics?

        Seeing as all this affects business
      • Let's all go, down to do Milwaukee...
        ...Burl will be there, third IndyCar Series race of this stanza. Milwaukee should always follow Indy within a week, two tops. Make it happen.
      • Is that what his mother did
      • Is that what the family BOD did
      • Chief we are still waiting for you to provide us with some honesty.

        Truth, Chief and Chief's favorite reporter have both told us cart killed itself with the inmates running the asylum, how can you blame it on Tony?
      • IMSman
        what does CART have to do with the current failure? If that was all that was wrong, why isn't the IRL a blazing success?
      • I mean
        the IRL has the track and the one race, what's your problem?
      • Rumor has it....Rumor has it...
        ...Rumor has it...Qingdao is No Mao. What happend?
      • Nothing says American opened wheeled Oval racing
        like Qinqdao. Hey Chief, do you have the list of midwest dirt track racers who were scheduled for Qingdao
      • Don't worry, bernard has a backup plan
        How much anyone wanna bet IMan will accept hook, line and sinker the Qingdao race cancellation notice the speedway is about to deliver...and then deflect by not answering question about indycarz 2012 current problems? I got a $100,000 bar on it....
      • Truth, You said TG killed OW, I was reminding all that what Chief and his favorite reporter said about who killed ow. Thats all.

        Chief, you are the chief dodger. You wrote the book on hiding from facts and making horribly wrong predictions.
      • THE IRL: cut rate racing league
        IndyCar slashes its race fee for Baltimore’s Grand Prix
        Jack Lambert
        Researcher/Reporter- Baltimore Business Journal
        Date: Friday, May 25, 2012, 6:00am EDT

        IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said his league is deeply discounting the million-dollar-plus fee required to run this year’s Grand Prix of Baltimore and is committed to bringing in big sponsorship dollars to help the race succeed.

        Bernard declined to say how much Race On, a financing company led by J.P. Grant of Columbia-based Grant Capital Management, and Greg O’Neill of Baltimore’s BMW Construction Specialists, will pay in sanctioning fees. But he said it was much less than last year’s race organizer paid in 2011.
      • Here's another ONE for you
        IMan....Indycarz shopping for a new sponsor...reportedly somebody wants out of their 6 year title sponsorship. 300% ROI and Mike Kelley out of a job...bye bye IZOD.

        Dodge that, Indy propaganist. What else could be a brewing out there you don't want to talk about....hmmm.
      • Milwaukee is a freebee too
        No sanction fee at Milwaukee either. Seem that no sanction fee New Hampshire race last year...and the Las Vegas race where they couldn't give tix away is the new way to do business in the IRL. No one wants it, give it away!
      • THe IRL
        Home of discount racing

        Hey CHief. They'd be happy (and lucky) to be the Dollar genral Racing League
      • Rumor
        Rumor has it Conkles is a possible title sponsor contender. You heaRd it hear first.
      • THE IRL: cut rate racing league
        Gossage has watched IndyCar give better financial deals to other tracks, and he asked for — and received — a sanctioning fee reduction for this year. But his track is still paying more than some, and he knows it.
      • The IRL didn't do anything for Detriot
        Detroit To Run Out Of Cash By June 15
      • This Blog Post has it all Wrong
        The sole purpose of the IRL was to protect ALL of the Speedway's traditions. It has even failed at that..
      • Texas...
        I think we've seen the last 1.5 miler, friends...

        There was NO ONE in the stands...
      • Hold on there
        Randy "Track Rentals R US" Bernard might have a different opinion.

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      1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

      2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

      3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

      4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

      5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.