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Tony George Jr. new boss of IndyCar feeder series

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IndyCar Series officials on Monday announced a leadership restructuring of the organization's top feeder series, Firestone Indy Lights.

Tony George Jr., who previously served as Indy Lights' manager of business development, will take over as director of Indy Lights from Roger Bailey.

The changes to the Indy Lights series continue a management overhaul begun by IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard late last fall. Earlier this month, Bernard told IBJ he has replaced 15 percent of his management staff since the 2011 season finale in October.

Bailey retired, Bernard said, after more than 25 years in a leadership role with the open-wheel series.

George, 28, is the son of former Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series President Tony George. Though the elder George was replaced by Jeff Belskus as IMS president and Bernard as IndyCar Series CEO in 2009, he maintains a position on the board of the company that oversees both operations.

A graduate of Indiana University, the younger George has spent 12 years working his way up the series management ladder, starting as an intern with the Speedway’s facilities department and IndyCar’s competition department with an emphasis on Indy Lights.

Since joining the IndyCar Series full time in 2008, George has been “a key figure,” Bernard said, in developing Indy Lights’ footprint as the third step in the Mazda Road to Indy, IndyCar’s developmental ladder.

Despite speculation he might depart to focus more on his own motorsports consulting firm, Tony Cotman has been retained to handle Indy Lights race control and officiating.

Cotman has long been involved in open-wheel racing, dating back to the CART and Champ Car days. He worked full time for the IndyCar Series, but left in 2010 as vice president of competition to start a motorsports consulting firm.

It was speculated that Cotman, 44, would replace Brian Barnhart as head of race control for the IndyCar Series earlier this year. But Bernard instead hired Beaux Barfield in that position. Barfield, 40, previously worked as race director for the American Le Mans Series.

At the time, Cotman said he preferred to stay focused on his consulting business, which concentrated on track design and operation, and worked closely with several IndyCar Series venues.

Also on Monday, Bernard promoted Jason Penix, who has been with the series since 2010, to director of grass-roots initiatives.

Vince Kremer, longtime team manager at HVM Racing, has joined Bernard’s staff as Indy Lights technical director.

The technical director position was formerly filled by Butch Meyer, who departed following the 2008 season to form his own Indy Lights team. Since then, various members of the IndyCar technical staff have filled the role.

The 2012 IndyCar Series and Indy Lights season kicks off March 24 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
 

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