Indianapolis Motor Speedway board must point to path for success

January 20, 2010
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Monday, I had lunch with two Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials, and the level of excitement couldn’t have been higher.

The new reign of Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus was bringing about much optimism among the rank and file at 16 and Georgetown. Walls of bureaucracy had come down and there is a refreshing free-flow of ideas, I was told.
 
Belskus, my sources told me, regularly visits and talks with executives, middle managers and underlings and often takes their ideas straight to the board overseeing the racing operation.

Sponsorship talks for the pagoda among other things are warming up, and there were even ideas being discussed to diversify the famed Brickyard and bring in new events—including some non-racing events. Think music festival.
 
The more aggressive sales and marketing approach at the Speedway was lifting spirits and hopes for a better tomorrow.

Then that afternoon, IMS employees—along with its sponsors and other business partners—learned that Tony George had resigned his position as board member of the IMS and Indy Racing League. Belskus himself learned of Tony George’s resignation Friday.

And just as quickly, that optimism hit the floor. Not all of it, but surely some of it. Faster than a speeding open-wheeler, questions began to arise.

Why now? What’s the issue dividing the members of the IMS and IRL board (the Hulman-George family)? How deep is the rift? What's next?
 
Tony George wasn’t any help in answering those questions. According to officials at his Vision Racing team, George is in Europe on business. But, I was told, there would be an announcement forthcoming—from Vision’s Web site no doubt.

The board of directors let a press release do the talking for them. That's no better than a statement on a Web site. It's just not good enough any more. Not if they want to right this listing ship.

Meanwhile IMS and IRL staffers are left hoping this smoldering situation doesn’t erupt into a fire. At the very least, the uncertainty has lead to re-kindling some old questions. The very questions that Belskus has worked so hard to douse since taking his new job last summer.

Does all of this mean the Speedway will spin-off or kill the money-draining IRL? Are the Brickyard 400 and MotoGP motorcycle races in jeopardy? Is the famed Speedway itself up for sale?

Belskus has been clear that none of those scenarios is up for consideration—at the moment. But you can’t blame Speedway and IRL followers for asking. After all, not many in motorsports would have predicted one year ago where we are today.

The happenings of the last seven months have brought out naysayers from every crack and crevice. And this is the type of situation participants—and more importantly money-paying sponsors hate to have hanging overhead.

Speedway employees told me there is one silver lining to the dark cloud draped over 16th and Georgetown like it’s the Adams Family’s place.
 
There’s hope, among Speedway staffers, that all this means there’s genuine dedication by the remaining board members to this operation's future.
 
The five remaining board members are Tony’s three sisters; Nancy George, Josie George, Kathi George-Conforti, their mother, Mari Hulman George and attorney Jack Snyder.

It’s time one or all of these board members get out in front of this situation and tell their constituents—ticket buyers and sponsors not to mention team owners, drivers and track operators—their vision for the future, and a path to prosperity.
 
But first they must prove they know the way.
 

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  • Hope...
    Anthony....thanks for the great article. Please communicate to Mr. Belskus the desire for ALL AOW fans to resolve our differences and re-build the sport.

    The Indy Racing League name needs to be BANISHED....it holds a negative connotation which is directly related to the severing of the sport these past 14 years. For pete's sake, just name it Indy Car Series" and officially BURY the IRL moniker. A fresh start....

    The IRL branding is associated with cheap, phoney, replacement racing and the failed VISION of Tony George. Failure to eliminate this relationship to bad feelings will continue to separate the fanbase.

    PLEASE Mr. Belskus, NO ONE won anything in this AOW civil war....bury the part, IRL name and all, once and for all and THEN we can ALL move forward together. For the good of the sport. Good luck.
  • Thanks
    Say what you want about Tony George, but I think he has always done what he felt he needed to in order to keep the Indy 500 secure over the long term. Why do I get the feeling that pretty soon we'll see $85 tickets increase to $125, not allowing coolers, and charging $8 for beer and $4 for water? Sounds like a Colts game.....no thanks.

    Vision Racing will be the next domino to fall, and who could blame him for shutting that down?
  • Agast
    The new guy obviously doesn't know anything because TOney didn't need to visit or talk with executives, middle managers and underlings because he already knew everything. And if TOney didn't know, indyman was always there with answer to anything TOney didn't know. Which raises the question, "indyman, why didn't you give better advice on the spending of that 600 million dollars?
  • Agast
    Mark P: Why doesn't Tony feel his visions are worth spending his own money on?
  • underlings
    someone should ask the 'underlings' how they feel today after many of them were fired this week. This is after years and years of faithful service.
    • Stewart
      They need input from Tony Stewart, he loves the Brickyard and obviously knows the racing business well. I am sure he would give them several good ideas on how to appeal to racing fans and draw big crowds.
    • Mark P
      Straight foward....WHAT did Tony George / IMS need to protect the Indy 500 from?

      Any answer garnered would eventually wind up at "from HIMSELF".

      AOW was BIGGER than NASCAR and more respected in 1995. Then came the IRL...14 years later and we've got much less than in 1995. Believe the IRL rhetoric if you want...it was a failure then and continues to be such today.
    • terminated
      My husband was one of those termed yesterday...15+ yrs of loyal, faithful, unblemished service and they just came in and looked at salaries and took the rop 3. Disgusting...they should be ashamed of themselves. They paint a picture of family when it really is all corporate and money ...bottom line. Don't believe ANYTHING you hear or read from any official at IMS!
    • No comment from Tony George
      I was informed today by Vision Racing spokesperson Pat Caporali that there will be no comment forthcoming from Tony George about his resignation. That is in contrast to what I was told yesterday by team officials.
    • Private is Private
      Since when have we forgotten that the IMS is a privately held company and needs to answer to no one other than its stockholders? If you don't like what they do, don't buy from them. If you want influence, go buy the company and run it your way. If Tony and/or the board wants to refrain from commenting, it's their right in this country to do so. At the same time, it is a for profit entity and if it was not profitable, then steps need to be taken and like any and all entities, sometimes payroll is out of line with revenue. Unfortunate fact but tenure by itself has nothing to do with contribution or profitability currently or in the future--especially when as a private company future plans can remain private.
    • Spell Check
      Before you all jump, spell check did not work. I know how to spell "educated," the connection from brain to typing fingers isn't always perfect.
    • Arrogance & Greed
      Have you noticed all the Tony Goerge/IRL/IMS apologists have pretty much vanished recently? I have. I think they have finally seen what we have seen for years. Arrogance and Greed on the part of Tony George.

      First he sold you on this moronic, backwards "All American Series" - you know, the series with Foyts and short trackers on ovals and no dammed engine leases from those nasty evil foreigners? The series that only raced in the US, with Ford and Chevy?

      Then he found his hammer and destroyed CART, then ChampCar, then the Sport itsself.

      And now what do you have - chip ganassi designing the next car, penske owning everything else, and Andrettis partner out of cash and patience. Sarah and Milka and Princess Permapout are the only thing selling tickets, and the average Hoosier could not tell you who won "the race" the last 10 years.

      But behind the scenes, what was reallt happening, was Tony George was spending 100s of millions of his familys fortune in an attempt to make himself relevant and "important" to racing. Today, in January 2010, he walks away from the sport a disgraced man, perhaps to go down in the annuls of motorracing as THE most damaging influence on racing in the history of the sport. finally, even the most enamored gomers are seeing what this 14 year reign of terror was - an ill equipped man's journey of ignorance and arrogance, fueled by a seemingly endless fountain of cash. now the bloodletting continues with families in the unemployment line, a laughingstock of a sport, and fewer fans than a fouth grade baseball game.

      I'm afraid that Belskus knows his only way to try and salvage this thing is sell it out. Like a bad politician, outsource everything then blame them for the imminent collapse.

      Sad days for all of us lie ahead.
    • 100 Years of Racing at Indy
      1911-2011. It will be a good coffee table picture book. Say adios to the Indy 500 and IMS in two years.
    • This was all so easy to see coming...
      Anthony, you and all the other media apologists since 1994 ignored the one group of people who foretold this failure from the very beginning of the IRL: The Fans.

      The truth is that other than those who attended the Indy 500 out of tradition, or to say they had done it, or in order to drink themselves silly one more time, the fans in vast numbers abandoned the IRL almost immediately and fully supported CART. Most IRL races outside of Indy are and were ghost towns. The reason for this is that the IRL was a pathetic, phony attempt to fake real open wheel, and the fans are not as dumb as Tony thought. His ploy to steal the revenues of CART and its teams turned into a bottomless pit for his family.

      The state of Indiana should seize IMS under imminent domain and do what should have been done from the beginning: run a good facility and let the racers race. The Hulman-George family are the personification of incompetence.
    • Dragged Screaming and Kicking
      Excellent point MearsFan. For those of us who understood the impact on the sport, we were also repulsed by Tony George's arrogance and smarmy smugness....most specificly comments like "some won't want to be dragged along screaming and kicking" and "I bring my hammer to work everyday".

      In 2002 with CART on it's knees, the speedway under George's control, rejected merger or anything that would have brought the series together....rejection of Lola as a chassis partner, rejection of COsworth as an engine supplier, the FALCON chassis etc. All designed by Mr. George to satisfy his desire WIN control at all costs. WELL, he did succeed in control, BUT he destroyed the fanbase and severed AOW's life blood...distancing the FAN from the sport.

      ONLY the IRL remains now...the last piece that MUST be resolved before the sport can move forward. I say it again....do away with the IRL and the fans can wash their hands of the past 14 years. No change in this direction? Then you can flounder on in the limp wristed way the sport has since the "merger". Merger...supposed to launch the sport to height unimaginable.....WAS SQUANDERED by arrogance and IRL control domination. "Transition teams", used cars, backmarkers...no respect AGAIN for the fans.

      Bury the IRL name....rebrand as "Indy Car" and the sport can recover.....

    • This
      "In 2002 with CART on it's knees, the speedway under George's control, rejected merger or anything that would have brought the series together....rejection of Lola as a chassis partner, rejection of COsworth as an engine supplier, the FALCON chassis etc. All designed by Mr. George to satisfy his desire WIN control at all costs. WELL, he did succeed in control, BUT he destroyed the fanbase and severed AOW's life blood...distancing the FAN from the sport."

      The attempted compromise of 2002 was the last chance for the whole business of AOWR...everything else that came after on both sides was just playing out the string, which is unraveling still. What were serious wounds in 2002 were mortal wounds by 2008.
    • why would TG apologists still be here? I mean it would be like cart/owrs/ccws apologists still being here....oh right, years after the series went under for the last time you guys are still here.

      I do like how somehow my love of IMS and the 500 has somehow convinced the mental midgets,who continue to post about a track and series that they hate, that I am a TG apologist, or some how connected to the track or whatever their weekly excuse is for not facing facts.

      The reason most real racing fans do not post here anymore is because the haters have turned what was an inteligent blog into another Indy Star style hate fest. Don't like someones opinion, attack them. It is sad, but was only a matter of time.
    • Anne,

      Of course the economy can be blamed for some of the layoffs, tracks and businesses across the country have laid off many long time employees due to the downturn. That said, the track is no longer run by the family. They have turned the day to day reigns to a non family member who is cutting everything he can, loyalty and tradition be damned. These haters can say what they want, but TG hung on to many employees for longer than a cutter like Belaskus would have. Unlike how many here portray him, he did have contact with the common employee. My grandmother in law worked for 20+ years at the Speedway laundry. TG could easily have cut her department and outsourced, but he had loyalty to that department and held it open for years. He pretty much allowed most of the older ladies retire before they finally closed it. But that does not matter to the haters, for whatever reason they feel TG is the antichrist, they do not have the balls to explain why they really hate him, but they will rip him apart at every turn. Truly sad. But hey, it is a new day at IMS.
    • HoHum
      Indyman....what a broken record. This is not a blog for racing discussion, it's for business discussion. You've pretty much labeled IMS and everybody else as haters but yourself.

      The IMS and Hulman Companies are/were in financial trouble...most specificly due to mismanagement over the past decade. They ousted the source of the mismanagement and are getting their businesses in order. Just looking at one of their businesses, the IRL, it's clear it's been a dog since day one. Strangely, the speedway lived off of ONE RACE for decades before the 1994 inception of the IRL....and has been in the RED pretty much everyday since.

      I have empathy for the folks who lost their job, but in my mind they were innocent victims caught up in Tony George's meglomaniac obsession, the failed IRL concept and execution.

      Orient yourself to the current millenium fella for the betterment of AOW because that's the outcome of all this....IMS has control of a wide-reaching sport now. They need to do something to keep it going.... if not, they should get out of the way. Stop blaming everyone else for IMS' problems...and take some responsibility for your own negativity.
    • and what business content have you brought to this blog? Really, are attacks on other posters a part of your business?

      I label those who attack posters on here as haters. I label those who have openly said they want IMS demolished and turned into strip malls haters. I do this because they do not bring anything constructive to this blog. They have a grudge against IMS and TG that is spawned by more than just being a cart et al... fan.

      Case in point
      "Burl HatterleyJanuary 21, 2010 12:53 AM
      1911-2011. It will be a good coffee table picture book. Say adios to the Indy 500 and IMS in two years"

      I could go back to any of a number of stories on IMS and you will see dozens of comments just like that by the haters. The beauty is their predictions have been pretty far off.
    • I Wish
      I wish that NASCAR would cancel the Brickyard 400 so I could laugh at the clowns at 16th and Jonestown while they stand there with their yard-o-bricks in their hands wondering what they're going to do to keep the Inept Racing League afloat.
    • Why?
      Gee wiz Indyman, please do tell the class what it is you are standing up for? In this topic's responses alone you have trashed everyone including Bellskus. Since TG left town and the track is being run by "cutters", what is it you even care about anymore? PARTYS OVER RIGHT?
    • Defense-less
      Starting the IRL was a BAD business decision, whether its $250+ million or $600 Million. I'd be curious to see how much IMS LOST during the years 1979 through 1995 just to make comparisions.

      Indyman, why was the IRL created in the first place? What is the IRL worth today? Seriously...$25 million? That would be 1/10th the cost to create it and nurture it into the crippled cyclops it is today. Best half-month of regurgitation ever...10 yrs old cars, same chassis and engines, same momentum racing at its finest won by either Ganassi or Penske. Who won? Penske, ganassi, andretti....the same guys the IRL was started to replace. Enablers rejoice!
    • It's ALL CART's Fault!!!
      A revelation struck me this morning.....it was CART and eventually it's long dead rotting corpse the eventually WON...and took Tony George DOWN and out of power!!!

      CART is born...Tony George creates IRL....CART dies.....Tony George ousted from power and slunks away after squandering family fortune trying to kill CART and it's memory....former CART owners make up majority of IRL team ownership/race promotion/engine/chassis distribution etc etc.

      So, in actuality Indyman, it WAS cart's fault after all....hooray. :(

    • iman's issues
      iman, it was grate when momey was growing on trees. TOney and JOie cut them down along with the motel. Have you bothered to talk with the people whose money your hiro TOney was spending?
    • It is fascinating watching you guys avoid facts like watching I465 drivers dodging a ladder in the highway.

      I have major concerns about Belaskus While I am willing to give him a chance I am concerned about his cutting of expenses and search for additional revenue will kill IMS and the 500. Both are heavily steeped in tradition. I am not really sure I have been trashing him, definitely not the way you guys trash anything IRL related.
    • Chief,

      So how much is cart worth today? I mean the series with the cars and the stars has to have value. Did they even make a $1 million when they auctioned off their remains? This from the series that you guys hold up as a well run racing series. So how did it hit the wall?

    • who?
      Who, pray tell, is Belaskus?
      • chuckleshorts
        http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/racing/indycar/columns/story?columnist=oreovicz_john&id=4849355
        • Business comment
          IMS is in the crapper!
        • Out of Leverage
          Indyman... CART is DEAD, but it's racing legacy will continue to aspire WHATEVER the IMS does with the IRL for DECADES to come. WHY? Because the IRL was only created to KILL CART and put control in the hands of the speedway.

          The speedway has LEVERAGED it's legacy and mystique to do this CART conquering and SEVERELY tarnished it's reputation EVERYWHERE in the racing world. YOU should be ashamed of yourself for sticking up and continuing this rant about anything and everything Indy 500 when it's YOU that should stand tall and accept responsibility for the damage Tony George and the speedway have caused and your support of it.

          YOU want status quo....we want AOW to soar again, and not to the height the dallaras have reached with disasterous consquences in recent memory. EVERYTHING the IRL has touch has turned to CRAP.

          The majority of folks in the IRL today WERE CART owners/teams/promoters of yesteryear. If nothing other than token IMS ownership and mindless Brarnhart, IMS is powerplay away from having nothing again. SO, what is the IRL worth today? Your answer must be "What is CART worth"? Right? Gotcha...
        • My Next Prediction
          indyman will forever refuse to face reality

          600 million dollars
        • Ask Dahooey who Bellskus is. I am still trying to get used to my new laptop. Keyboard is a little larger than i am used to and I tend to miss keys. At least i do not intentionally do it out of some odd urge to insult people.
          • You guys are starting to remind me of the movie Dodgeball. You definitely have the 5 rules down pat. dodge, dive, duck, dip and dodge.
          • huh?
            Bellskus or whatever is tony's buddy from Terre Haute. he's now in charge of liquidating or selling IMS.
          • Consistency
            Dodgeball? It's more like "Castaway" and you've got the Wilson part down pat. The more is said, the less you have anything to say.
          • Balteemore
            Report out today sez a Baltimore street race is all but a done deal. Many ovals depended on the IRL to race on their tracks in 1996. Now, not so anymore. I wonder why? I guess the IRL failed in that too...saving american oval roots racing. Good Job Tony George.
          • The more you guys repeat yourself, the more boring it gets around here. The same complaints, the same predictions that never come true. Over and over. Why should I repeat myself when you ignore facts?

            The vision of the IRL was to run more ovals than cart, have lower costs then cart and give American drivers a chance. how many ovals did cart run vs. IRL? How much did cart cost to run vs. IRL? How many Americans ran cart vs. IRL? While not perfect, the IRL is still closer to that vision than cart. If anything, the increase in road races is/was an attempt to bring in carters and try to unify the series.
          • But...
            The series was unified BEFORE the IRL. The series at that time was riding it's highest upswing of popularity EVER.

            Remove the blinders and you see adding Baltimore and a parking lot race in New England 2 years after the CARTers merged doesn't hold water. Now, less americans, less ovals, foreign influences and $$$. This is what Tony George created. It's CART II and frankly never needed to be created.

            IF CART had failed and the IRL was born to replace it...thats a different story. BUT, the IRL was created as a DIRECT competitor that fans have turned away from in droves. Thats the point in fact you refuse to acknowledge. Just like $600 million.
          • Ovals
            What do these all have in common? Why do they all share the same commonality?

            -Pikes Peak
            -Louden
            -Charlotte
            -Atlanta
            -Gateway
            -Michigan
            -Milwaukee
            -Fontana
            -Nashville
            -Richmond
            -Nazareth
            -Phoenix
            -Walt Disney World
            -Dr. Jack Miller
            -Tyce Carlson
            -Joe Gosek
            -Ricky Treadway
            -Steve Kinser
            -Donnie Beechler
            -Greg Ray
            -Davey Hamilton
            -Brad Murphy
            -Paul Dana
            -Buzz Caukins
            -Jim Guthrie
            -Billy Boat
            -Jimmy Kite
            -Sam Schmidt
            -Jeff Ward
            -Billy Roe
            -Paul Durant

            Well, I guess the oval vision was an idea no one needed or called for, huh? I mean, based on the success of these drivers and the tracks they piloted...
          • Agast
            indyman and TOney destroyed open wheel racing and are the reason IMS will become a mall development and the only racing in indy after 2011 will be at O'Reilly. Great work iman
          • It's all part of my master plan
            Tony,myself,Indyman and Gene Simmons will purchase the IRLICS. I am flying down now on my private jet with Harold Katz of ABC. Howard get me another Cristal with a twist. After the purchase we will make some changes. First of all, any driver or team that ever raced in CART/OWRS/CCWS will be banned. So goodbye Penske/Ganassi etc. Only teams that believe in the Vision will be allowed to race in the greatest series ever. Second a new version of 25/8 will be installed. 25 spots will be reserved for deserving American oval track drivers. Documentation must be provided and DNA test will be given. Third, all foreigners will start a lap behind at all races and only receive 50% of the purse. The remaining percentage of the purse will go to USAC to further the development of a new breed of American Indy heroes like Jack Miller, Jeret Schroeder, Tyce Carlson and Shiggy Hattori.
          • Chief,

            So should I put on a list of all of the races cart is running these days?


            There, done. once again, cart was a failing proposition. Again, that is why they failed multiple times in less than 15 years. I mean the epitome of their failure was there attempt to kill the IRL rather then try to live with it. i mean the disaster began with the us 500 and cart went down from there. Any attempt to blame others is silly.

            Nascar was going to rise because they gave the public what cart did not. Competitive races, run with cars they can identify with on ovals, on American tracks with American drivers.

            So what happened to the stars and the cars?

            By the way, it was good to see izod buying quality time on both the afc and nfc Champ games. good for them, and good for the irl.
          • IMS FATE
            I don't care what any of you say about Tony George, I have been in and around IMS for more than 20 years and in my mind Tony did one heck of a job doing what he has done for the track. I truley believe the talk about outsourceing, was the straw that broke the camels back...the track has always been a family owned and ran by the family since the beginning, now with everything going on...it was to much for him to sit there and watch the downfall of IMS. His grandfather has to rolling over in his grave and wondering, WHAT THE HELL THE FAMILY IS THINKING!!!!!! And as far as Belaskus, you are making a BIG MISTAKE....leave the track the way it is, or you are not going to have ANY fans to show up for any of the races. My heart goes out to all who have lost their jobs because of the new CEO....Shame on him, I bet he did not take a pay cut.
          • Hooter Morgan
            Grate for you to show up Hooter, and by the way, your hiro quit, gave up, sore loser because the family doesn't have 600 million more dollars for him to do a grate job liek he did with the first 600 million dollars.

            you gomers are freeking clueless.

            CART, just one of the victims of TOney GEorges' 600 million dollar war on open wheel racing
          • Also it was interesting to see AJ IV on the Colts victory podium. I did not know until last night that he is engaged to Irsays daughter. She is rather hot and definitely not a bad deal marrying the daughter of the hottest pro team in the country.
          • IRL is a failure
            Indyman...the thread is about the IRL, my question to you specifically was again NOT answered.

            The ever-growing list of OVAL tracks that the IRL was supposed to populate is no longer populated with the IRL. What happened? Tony's VISION was a failure, a short term ploy to destabilize the AOW market. And it worked real well as you can see from my list and the current state of affairs in AOW.

            You realize outside the gates at 16th and Jonestown the world is not flat like you constantly perceive. IMS has don a world of harm the AOW sport and Tony George is responsible for it all.
            • How many ovals did cart have in its final years? Was there even 10 total in the 2000's? How many American Drivers ran in cart in their last year? How many years ago was it that an American won the cart championship?

              TG's vision was to make a race series that included ovals, about half of 2010's races are on ovals, that gave American drivers a chance, at least 13 American drivers raced in 2009 and that they could win in, more than half of the IRL championships have been won by Americans. It seems like TG held true to his vision. Did the plan change? Yes, all plans change, but he did keep the main tenents of his league intact.

            • CART-obsessive
              Dude, you've got CART-envy.

              Why did the IRL abandon those ovals? The IRL was not about giving Americans a chance, Tony said so himself in the epic 2004 interview with Dave Despain on WindTunnel. Despain and George agreed to disagree about the "American roots racing" angle that George himself said Despain overplayed. During a commercial break they dropped the subject....
            • No envy, just trying to figure out how cart failed and answering your questions. was there some rule that the irl had to keep all of its original tracks? Did cart race on all of there same tracks they started on? Nascar? Do you have a link to the Despain deal or is this just like all the other claims you guys make?

              you asked why he abandoned the vision, i believe he was on the vision. More ovals than cart, more American drivers than cart, less cost, more American champions then cart.

            • iman's issues
              TOneys' 600 million dollar war against open wheel racing
            • Agast
              Tony George took money from the France family to destroy open wheel racing. That's the truth.
            • Road to Indy BLOCKED
              INDY Lights dumped by Versus. Apparently no ROI for Versus (or the time buy for IMS).

              That's not good....heck, even them commercials with IZOD don't even tell what network you can see the races on. What good is that?

              Versus partnership with IRL in decline in only 2nd year of 10 year contract. They aren't even on Direct TV! CART will probably be blamed though because they are dead and bankrupted 6 years ago....
            • Izod Indycar Series
              Playing before an audience of bare aliminum in southern Florida and a zero point whatever TV audience, it was abundantly clear that nobody cared who the 2009 indyscar series champion would be. That's the truth.
            • WHo was the champeen?
              All americans no doubt...Scott Dixson or Dario Franseschetti? Both good law abiding Americans! Helio Castro Neves, American and not convicted of tax evasion. Ryan Briscoe he'as another good American the IRL stuck to it's "Vision" with. Good thing the IRL was created to provide opportunity for Americans! Sounds like success written all over this Tony George feller. Geez, I wonder why they ousted him from his CEO of all things IRL and why he just quit it all and walked away? You know, with tremendous successes like the IRL and Indy Lights you'd think he'd stay....makes ya go "hmmmm" doesn't it?
              • chief,

                still dodging I see. did TG not bring more Americans to OW then cart? Yes. cart turned its back on Americans.

                "Where would NASCAR be today without Jeff Gordon?

                Gordon came so close to taking a different path in his racing career. Had just one CART team owner in the early 1990s had the sense to say yes, Gordon probably never would have sat in a stock car.

                But no one in open wheel gave him a chance.
                Gordon and his parents had no money to bring to the table, so the Indy car teams told him to move on down the road.

                That one decision changed so much in American racing. NASCAR gained a superstar, a transforming icon for the sport.

                Indy car racing lost a driver who might have become its biggest star since A.J. Foyt."

                http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/columns/story?columnist=blount_terry&id=4349839

                They rejected Tony Stewart and Sam Hornish among others.

                Cart slit its own throat when its owners decided to run mostly foreign drivers, foreign tracks and road courses. blame TG, but cart was on its way down on its own. They spent through hundreds of millions of their money, of their sponsors money and over $100 million of investors money. They had the cars and the stars, and they killed themselves.
              • iman's issues
                indyman should be happy the Versus people weren't planning on using a real number above 0 before the . in their TV ratings.
              • What about Smoke?
                Tony Stewart....what happened there? Here was the perfect scenario for Tony George to realize his visionistic dreams and POOF!

                Certainly CART is to blame for not giving Tony a ride too...then forcing him into IRL and eventually to NASCAR? Right?

                What do these all have in common? Why do they all share the same commonality?

                -Pikes Peak
                -Louden
                -Charlotte
                -Atlanta
                -Gateway
                -Michigan
                -Milwaukee
                -Fontana
                -Nashville
                -Richmond
                -Nazareth
                -Phoenix
                -Walt Disney World
                -Dr. Jack Miller
                -Tyce Carlson
                -Joe Gosek
                -Ricky Treadway
                -Steve Kinser
                -Donnie Beechler
                -Greg Ray
                -Davey Hamilton
                -Brad Murphy
                -Paul Dana
                -Buzz Caukins
                -Jim Guthrie
                -Billy Boat
                -Jimmy Kite
                -Sam Schmidt
                -Jeff Ward
                -Billy Roe
                -Paul Durant
              • lol
                How about Americans that win? LOL x 492000000000000
              • IZOD COmmercials
                IRL is touting hundreds of millions of eyeballs saw commercials this weekend...too bad Izod commercials didn't tell the viewer what channel to see the BRAZILLIAN STRRET RACING on. And in the middle of MARCH MADDNESS too. The famous line from the song is "...how can a loser EVER win"?

                And CART still dead with higher Indy 500 ratings and regular season ratings for a foreign drivered, street trackin' dead series. Not too shabby (for a dead backrupted series 2X!
              • Do you want me to list the cart races and drivers who are no longer running that series? The easy answer would be all of them. Multiple bankruptcies will do that to you.
                But of course you can do that with any series. Recent NASCAR tracks no longer used, Rockingham, Ontario, Riverside, North Wilkesboro, Texas World Speedway and on and on. What does that prove, I can make lists just like you.

                Dodging the Jeff issue? I would too if I were you. He is the posterboy for what went wrong with Cart. but in '91 they found better drivers to give rides to like Tero Palmrath,Guido Daccò, Vinicio Salmi, and Didier Theys.

                Fascinating, you complain about the IRL not having a title sponsor. They get a multi million dollar international clothing brand with a lot of partners and you say not good enough. You complain about no ad time, and Izod forks over to put their ads on the two most watched NFL Conference championships in the last 20 years and you complain. You say TG abandoned his vision, yet i show you that he had more American drivers than cart did, more ovals, more Americans winning and you say that does not matter. And you wonder why I call you haters.

                You do not complain because you care about the sport, you complain because for some reason you (and I mean this for all haters) hate TG, IMS, the IRL, and really open wheel racing.
              • Keep dredging
                You can dig up any list you want, especially the dead bankrupt series. Fact is Indy 500 TV ratings in 2009 were lowest since live broadcast began in 1986. Down 40% since 2005.

                Tony George is to blame, IMS has ALWAYS been in control, the creation of the IRL has DESTROYED AOW in this country. The Indy 500 limps on to your joy Indyman because the IRL, IMS and Tony George are in control.

                You go right on deflecting all of these points and the $600 million claims. Rome burns under IMS control....and it's no one elses fault but their own.
              • Tony Stewart was in the IRL? WHEN?
                IRL's only true export...became NASCAR phenomenom...why didn't Tony George keep Tony Stewart? It was what the VISION was for....CART had nothing to do with it, IMS "saved" the speedway and the 500 to launch this new league....FAILURE of the IRL if you ask me...now they're racing on strrets in Brazil with no SMOKE's in sight. Who's fault is that?

              • iman's issues
                why is the iman fixated on ten years ago? because his and TOneys' present sucks and their future is even suckier.
              • IMS has always been in control? really? so TG created a series to wrest control from himself? do you people listen to yourselves?

                IRL limps along? then what do you call what cart is doing?

                Sorry, you have been dodging for a long time. since i have called you out, you are accusing me of it? How unoriginal. I have answered your questions over and over. you have been playing keep away from reality....and winning.
              • Still no comment on Jeff Gordon? Cart flat out blew it. and set the tone for what was wrong with cart for the rest of its short life. Eliminate American drivers, American tracks, Ovals, and on and on.

                Nascar flashed some big bucks and off Tony went. Unfortunate, but you can't blame him. did cart ever try to give him a chance? Again, another American overlooked by cart.
              • truth,

                Why are you so fixated on dodging the questions? you say TG destroyed ow. I say cart was on a death spiral long before the split. You seem to want to ignore everything prior to the split like TG just woke up one day and thought it was a good idea. Lets try it again, how did the series with the Stars and the Cars go under in just a few short years?
              • Bull
                Apparently the IRL has offered the Bull Rider dude, Randy Bernard of Professional Bull Riders to be CEO of the IRL. EXCELLENT MOVE....Hahahhaaa

                What does any what CART did have to do with the IRL now? It's ok for Tony's OVAL series to lose Tony Stewart after having him...yet CART, long dead, never wanted Jeff Gordon. You have lost it...what does one have to do with the other?

                Why does the IRL suck? Answer that. 0.14 ratings tell the story...40% drop in TV rating since 2005. What causes that? CART? Jeff Gordon? Nope...IMS is in control, they are responsible for everything. Keep avoiding the questions with your obsession with CART failure so it makes your adopted series look good.
              • TOney TOney TOney
                Key Liquidators knocking on the door of Vision-less Racing this morning.
              • He saw viSions
                Hot hot rumor abounds this AM:

                VISION RACING is DONE. KAPUT. DONE. FIN.

                Holy Mackerel! You think TONy GeorGe would sabotage his very own creation? How could this be that a man, so successful etc. ad nauseum, be so UNFORTUATE enough to not find sponsorship for this birthright creation???

                Sarah Fisher cultivated "DOllar General" into a household name....Tony can't even get family run "CLabber Girl" baking powder to sponsor his car?? Some businessman!

                Bwbahahhahhahhhha! IRL is all BULL, no facts! And the Delta Wing is a coming too!!! Hold on to your talipipes fellas!!!
              • What about Special Ed?
                Indyman...if Penske or Ganassi, or even NHL (the top tier teams in IRL/CART II) don't pick up ED CARPENTER what's gonna happen? he's American, famed midwest DIRT tracker star...he's going down with the ship. You gonna cut off your head to spite your face over this one? Letting the American DiRT tracker roots racer the IRL was formed for.....you gonna castrate the IRL/IMS for letting him get away??? CART did it with Jeffy, you know what happened to CART. IRL next???
              • OUCH thats gonna leave a mark
                From ESPN's Terry Blount 1/28/10:

                "Not everyone agrees, including Indy car legend Mario Andretti. "Tony's legacy is not a very good one from my standpoint," Andretti said Thursday. "His grandfather, Tony Hulman, did more for open-wheel racing than any other individual. Tony George did more to destroy it than any other individual. "That's the only way you can put it. It is diminished today because he started the IRL."
              • Chief i think you answered your own question. which series made the bigger mistake, the one who did not even give one of the hottest young american drivers a chance, or the one that did and then lost him because they could not match the offer from another series?
              • Izod Indycar Series
                the one that didn't match the offer, because it had that one race that used to be bigger than marion county indiana an if they had that there was no way they couldn't've matched the offer. the inheritor just figgered liek indyman that he would've stayed because they had that one race an all.
                • That is the same logic that caused cart to fail. Everytime you post, you prove my points. Thanks
                • powerless
                  For $600 millions wasted they coulda kept Tony Stewart and won...but they lost to their own stupidity.

                  I know, IF CART woulda taken Jeff Gordon the birds would chip and the it would be sunny and warm everyday and the world would have been perfect...yada yada yada. And then NASCAR woulda waved a big check and Jeff would be gone too..... Hahaha your point holds no water.
                  • i am sure you know this, but it wasn't just Jeff Gordon, but he was the most visible part of what the issue was. cart was trying to be f1 light. ignoring Ovals, and American drivers which was the begining of the end for cart. They turned away from what had made OW with drivers with names like Tom, AJ and Johnny and replaced them with names like sebastien, gil and christiano.

                    nascar on the other hand kept to its roots with American drivers, courses and ovals.

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                  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

                  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

                  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

                  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

                  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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