Hulman & Co. CEO seeks to overhaul IndyCar management

November 29, 2012
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One of Mark Miles’ first objectives as new CEO of Hulman & Co. was reaching out to IndyCar sponsors and team owners. By all accounts he’s been busy doing that since being hired Nov. 20.

Miles also has been busy contemplating who will succeed Randy Bernard as IndyCar Series CEO. Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus is serving as interim IndyCar Series CEO and he has intimated that he could continue in that role. But sources tell IBJ that Miles will move to hire a new IndyCar czar, one with a solid racing background and considerable sponsor contacts. The thought is that the job of series CEO is too big for someone who needs to be focusing on the Speedway.

While the series is a money-losing operation, the Speedway is still a cash cow for Hulman & Co. Miles wants to make sure the Speedway maintains its winning ways while finding someone whose sole focus is bolstering the series' fortunes.

But Miles isn’t likely to stop at simply hiring a replacement for Bernard, racing sources said. He is also looking at building a new IndyCar Series management structure and hiring a new management team.

The series’ two biggest problems are lousy television ratings and tepid live attendance, and Miles is said to be looking for key personnel who can solve those problems. Miles wants people with “big-game experience” and “a proven track record” in the areas of sponsor relations, promotions, marketing and ticket sales, a racing source told IBJ.

Though industry sources said Miles hasn’t started formally reaching out to CEO candidates yet, the likely short list includes local motorsports marketer Zak Brown, American Le Mans Series President Scott Atherton, former NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne, former Jaguar Managing Director Mike O'Driscoll and former CART CEO Andrew Craig.

It’s a big job, but Miles would like to get the new people in place by the time the IndyCar Series season starts in March, sources said, and no later than May.

“He is set on fixing things,” a source close to the series said. “So he will be making some significant changes.”

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  • Mark Miles
    The market lost its luster when there were no more Unsers or Andretti...instead drivers that I cannot pronounce. Call me an old man but I need marque names. Doubt I would continue season tickets for the colts if they had no names are were lousy. Same with Indycar. Cars are boring amd what if you made deals with Smoke or Jimmie J or Jr to give them a ride for a few races? Don't care what the "purists" says but names bring out the people and who watches races? Salt of the earth people not people who want to be seen or impress....got to make it a series we all can relate to.
    • Money losing operation
      That is the key phrase in Anthony's article. The series is, indeed, a money-loser and any new CEO coming into it must understand the reasons behind that. The series today functions like a bloated relic of the CART-past. Those golden days of mainstream relevance and fan interest are long over. Costs cannot be sustained. There is not enough fan interest for ROI. Indy Car racing's status on the scene today is similar to what is was in the late 1970's or early 80's. No matter how well-connected or influential a new CEO may be in teh racing and sponsorship world, nothing is going to change that. Not even NASCAR can maintain the lofty heights it enjoyed for so long. Motor Racing is America is gradually returning to second-tier, niche status. To that end, a new CEO would be advised to position and cultivate IndyCar in a manner that emphasizes the history, tradition, and magnitude of the great Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, companied with a smaller, much less costly, oval series of no more half a dozen races, carefully placed on the calendar from the March to October time frame. And the actual Indy car itself, needs to be redrawn. Something similar to the sleek March or Lola chassis, updated to 21st century safety standards, coupled with an engine formula much like the series has now, but open to manufacturers and in the hands of the teams, with strict rules on development and testing in the name of cost control (a race car cap similar to a salary cap), is much in order. Any thought that a new CEO is going to come in and magically make the series mainstream and profitable in the image of the CART-era is folly. Pure folly. There is a small, niche audience for this sport with one annual event of magnitude. Cater to that concept and deliver product to the only market that exists and matters and the sport can not only survive but there may be a path to profitability. The key is restructuring the product to meet the market that exists while reducing the costs significantly to reflect the reality that is the sport today. Small, lean, efficient, and centered around the Indy 500.
    • Mark Miles
      Foreign names like Power, Wilson, Dixon? While the Americans have names like Andretti, Rahal, Josef, Marco? Indycar got its American champion and it doesn't seem to have made that much difference. Maybe Ryan needs to get drunk on sportscenter. Miles did a good job with promoting the new generation of tennis stars in the early 00's so let's hope he can get a management team that do the same here.
    • Interesting....
      Well, well, well...imagine my surprise after reading Anthony's blog to see 'Burl Hatterley' contribute almost exactly the same post he/she/it 'offers' after every single Anthony blog that is IndyCar related. I would have speculated 'Mark Miles' is actually Chief, but the grammar and punctuation are way too precise. Meanwhile, on topic, bad ideas for CEO successor include Scott Atherton (he presided over another failed road racing series), and the Jaguar guy. Don't know enough about the NASCAR guy. Even considering Andrew Craig constitutes ultimate stupidity. The owners bagged him when cart was actually popular. Zak Brown might be interesting but he is probably wary of the dysfunction of the IMS clan. It is a good idea in any event to not having Belskus in that role long term. One drive under the tunnel into the infield at IMS solidifies that notion.
    • Andrew Craig
      Please, Please, Please hire Andrew Craig, seeing the reaction from the faithful that an Ex-CART CEO was just hired as the CEO for the IRL would be the best Christmas present ever. LOL
    • Lingner
      Miles should be considering Terry Lingner. Racer, driver, businessman, television producer, motivator, and fan. Smart man
    • The Score Blog for Dummies
      The unbolded type IS the subject, the BOLDED type is the person posting the message. However, some can't figure that out. But, I digress.....MARK MILES needs to hire someone who can fix that UGLY car. No one buys tickets to see losers, and no one watches loser sports on TV...MARK MILES, hear my plea...the car is ugly. You can hire all the sports marketers you want, but the car will still be a visual repellant. Mark my words Mr. Miles. Oh, and NEVER listen to anything Disciple sez...he's part of the problem.
      • I offer my consultation to Indycar FOR FREE
        Pretty simple advice from a lifelong AOW advocate: 1. make the car SEXY again. 2. Fire all IRL hanger-on's like Brian Barnhart. 3. UNLOAD that albatross TV contract, even if you have to BUY TV TIME. 4. Understand you have to have something to market BEFORE you market it. The IRL/Indycar today is NOT MARKETABLE. 5. Open development rules for chassis/engines. Number 5 might just be the remedy to no's 1 and 4 and would likely impact #'s 3 and 4 so much you wouldn't have to do anything to them. But, knowing how much the Hulman clan shoots themselves in the foot, I suspect Mark Miles wouldn't take any real advise anyway. We'll see....free advise and consultation from the Chief. Again.
      • Agree with Chief
        I have to agree with Chief about the car. Why on earth does an open wheel car need fenders and a back bumper????? And why oh why it is so freaking ugly. Build a sleek attractive car, give it more power then a run of the mill mini van and make it an open wheel car for crying out loud. The sport I have loved for 35 years is making me sick these days.
      • Bluebugger
        Get drunk on ESPN? Don't be a codswallop.... tennis vs racing? Are you serious?
      • Solution For Those With Continuous IndyCar Angst:
        Solution: Don't watch. And if you don't watch, kindly refrain from commentary. As any adult would. Oh, and 'advice' is spelled with a 'c' and not an 's.'
      • "...And Miles to go before we sleep."
        Mark Miles success that includes Pan Am games and the Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee chairmanship + his work in the business world make him a key player in reinventing the IndyCar series. With growth will come new faces and personalities that will be tomorrow's Unsers, Andrettis, Foyts, etc. First have vision,then direction, and finally a plan. That kind of management is what Mark Miles can bring. The IMS family and the open wheel racing world needs to believe and support the efforts of keeping the ultimate racing expereience alive and thriving.
      • Layers of hope: Through the smokescreen
        Wait a minute here....Mark Miles is only going to HIRE this new visionary, he-himself is not the SAVIOR! This is like "Wack-a-Mole" at the county fair with Indy CEO's. Is it me, or are the problems with this sport SO plain to see that they just can't see 'em? Mark Miles is covering ground already covered by soon-to-be-deposed Jeff Belskus. Will any of these "new" CEO prospects have the guts to bring the wrecking ball to this rotted Indy shell and start us fresh? Thats whats really needed...EVEN Zak Brown knows that.
      • the h/g clan don't know what they're doing
        because the defender of the .1rl says the tv ratings are great and that attendance is great everywhere. People just hide under the stands to escape the ugly cars and terrible drivers. Seriously, they think the ratings and attendance are a problem???? Something doesn't add up here... Anyway, F1 is the only OWR that matters anymore. Look for them to increase their presence in the American time zones, with N.J., Mexico and Long Beach added to the existing Austin, Canadian and Brazilian races.
      • Vision!!!!!!!!
        Even A Blind Man Could See Tonys Vision As A Disaster!! The IMS Board Is Blind!!! 2012 Was A Great Year For Indy Car Racing!!! Now We Will Wait And See Who Will Screw Up Indy Car Now!!! I AM MAD AS HELL AND I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!! NO FANS NO RACING!!
      • Cutesy Teeth Gnashing Evident
        The Indy Car Series seems to attract a number of obsessed fans in really young demographic groups, as evidenced by much of the meandering above. More specifically, young in terms of maturity and thought.
      • U KIDDING ME?
        You can't just decide to get Tony Stewart or Jimmie Johnson, or even Dale Jr. if they DON'T wish to RUN in any races for IndyCar. There's A LOT of young AMERICANS coming up through the ranks. No they're NOT Unser, Foyt, Rutherford etc... These young guns are making names for THEMSELVES and I believe you should give them the opportunity to live up to your expectations instead of just writing them off as FURRINERS! I'm NOT being crappy, but YOUR remarks are very similiar to those that persisted during the SPLIT! It's time to move on and give these young drivers a chance to show their OWN talents.
        • @Kevin
          Well said, I would rather watch the 20 best drivers that can be found regardless of their birthplace. This we need Americans otherwise I won't watch has always struck me as odd. @ Defender, time to update your rhetoric, it's getting as old, tired and pointless as you are. Please keep to TF where everything negative is shouted down by the placefans and the fans that are still stuck in 1958.
        • Series is NOT profitable
          Can an actual adult explain why the series as a whole is NOT profitable? What, if anything, can be expected to change with this management shift? Leigh Diffy will scare people away, the ugly car should go the way of the ugly championship trophy....into the garbage.
        • czar
          csar is a Marxist/Communist term that is appearing more and more in this country, to my dismay. Re: reorganization......Atherton is a proven commodity...Craig has has his time, and didn't pan out.
        • Andy
          Andrew Craig is the man for the job, preferably because it will make Defender/Disciple/Indyman's heads collectively explode upon announcement.
        • Next...
          Despite your healthy, adult sentiment (LOL) Mr. Craig has removed himself from consideration, so that is one less thing about which your quaint little klatch will have to fret.
        • No one on that list
          There isn't one person on that list that can save that Indy shipwreck. It's a good thing Belskus isn't the man anymore because he can go back to letting the speedway's infrastructure rot. Right Discpile?
        • The Cheap Entertainment of Children
          You continue fostering some sordid delusion that Indy Car needs to be 'saved.' Let's review a few actual facts, shall we? The Indianapolis 500 has been held for over 100 years, and its only interruption was during world war years. The current version of IndyCar sanction has been around for 16 seasons, and a full schedule is set for 2013. Now I understand the same cannot be said for predecessor series that killed themselves, twice, after their egos got in the way of sense, but projecting that type of failure onto today's IndyCar seems well beyond ignorant. Why not simply attempt to mature and enjoy the sport we have? 2012 was a pretty racy year. But you already know that since you follow every morsel. 'Saved?' LOL.
        • Facts
          "money losing operation", "lousy television ratings", "tepid live attendance"....all acknowledged by Mr. Miles. The same problems that have existed since the "current version of the Indycar sanction" was put into effect 16 years ago. The same problems Randy Bernard didn't improve and can't improve. The same problems that cause the ratings to go DOWN even with ugly new car and a season full of double header action. LESS ovals, MORE street courses. LESS American, MORE foreign. After $799MILLION of less is more you'd think someone might get it. They don't and never will. Too bad an actual adult isn't in charge over at IMS.
        • On What Planet Do You Reside?
          Oh...it's up to $799 million of unsubstantiated guesstimating now? LOL. I'm reading a lot of subjective, hysterical meandering but very little substance. At least you follow the series rabidly.
        • Read the article
          Apparently you consciously choose to ignore facts stated in this article. Is that how actual adults comprehend? At your blog, you have plenty of opinions...some even startlingly similar to mine. Yet here, you play childish games. How mature. So mister insider, how much have they spent? It's common knowledge the speedway has never made a penny on the series. I suppose that was all free...16 years of free?
        • Kid's On A Roll
          Facts? LOL. I have repeatedly asked you or anyone else for something resembling even basic accounting that includes both revenue; e.g., from gate, sponsorship, sanction fees, television revenue, merchandise, etc., AND expenses, but neither you nor anyone else has ever even attempted that. All we ever read is some fictitious increasing 'they lost xxx hundred million' number based more on fantasy than sense. Look, kid, no one has ever denied the lack of profitability for IndyCar. That said, having the Indianapolis 500 as its centerpiece guarantees its continuing existence. And Hulman folks are on the record as saying break even has arrived. Further, we get it that you believe the cars are ugly and despite the fact that the 500 is at the top of the most significant cash cow list at Hulman & Company that you foolishly pontificate that it's all a failure. It does not matter to anyone but you and your cutesy li'l friends. Grow up. Enjoy it.
        • Only one guarantee
          It's guaranteed to continue to flounder. That's a fact they haven't been able to change in 16 years. And, the perfect reason it will remain unprofitable. Prolly over $800MILLION by now. In the red....and counting. Good thing Mark Miles is on the job now. Bwahahhahha!
        • Garbage Minutes...
          ... sees IMS go to the invite Tony Stewart to race in the "500" game plan and even consider changing the starting time of the race. Truth is, IndyCar AND NASCAR have run their course. It is just that NASCAR has a greater descent, but they are crazily into it, inverted, free-falling, and pooping in the old nomex. Both sports are passe, fans. Passe. IndyCar, especially. An old has-bag like Tony Stewart won't do anything other than make the place smell a litlte worse.
        • Agreed
          The centennial era was a bust too. So was the giant door hot wheel thingy. Attendance went down as a result. Indy is all about gimmicks and Tony Stewart is just another one. Pretty sad, really. The 10 days of May is a pale comparison to the month of May. All the condensing did was invalidate the myth and mystery of the speedway and the series. I agree Burl, it's over...figuratively if not literally.
        • A Real Fans POV
          As a real fan of AOWR, I am sure I am not alone when I say the following. Part of the problem with the series, are comments like we have above. Instead of wasting your time arguing about whats wrong with the series. Why not point out anything that was good. If a potential new fan was to read this, why would they watch. Even if I agree with any of the above BS, what good does it do. IF you would spend the time letting friends or family know about the good things, it might help fix some of the issues argued about above. Lets work to help bring in new fans, not help them figure out why they should make an opinion of their own!!
        • Excellent point
          A FAN!!!, excellent points. Why? Because the powers that be in the sport REFUSE to listen to ANYTHING but their own self-interests. Therefore, with out a voice to express displeasure with the direction of sport, it will just continue as it has been...a single solitary track that steers in wayward directions and drags the fans with it. IF there was anything to be celebrated in this sport it would be. But there isn't. It's run like a spoiled rich kid's play room...and needs to stop before ALL THE FANS have gone. It is the faint hope that the powers that be stop inbreeding and start listening to the lifebread of the the sport...it's fans. Other than their idiotic ways of ruining the sport, the fans are the only common thread that exists. Perhaps they should listen. Naaah, that would make too much sense.....
        • orginal Article
          The orginal artice was bogus from the start You Anthony have never spoken to Mark Miles and like you have done in the past to Tony George you have written about a conversation you have not had.

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