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Tony George ousted after nearly 20 years leading IMS

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Year In Review
Belskus

Jeff Belskus became CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League July 1, replacing Tony George, the grandson of Tony Hulman—who saved the Speedway from ruin after World War II. George had led the Speedway since January 1990 and launched the Indy Racing League in 1996.

Faced with the need to save money, the six-member board of the IMS and IRL voted on May 26 to replace George. The board, which included George’s three sisters and mother, turned to Belskus, the IMS’ chief financial officer, to take the helm.

George

On May 27, amid swirling speculation and a report on SpeedTV of his departure, George held an impromptu press conference in front of the Speedway at West 16th Street and Georgetown Road to deny that he had been ousted.

One month later, however, Speedway officials confirmed that George was out. He was also removed from his executive position at Terre Haute-based Hulman & Co.

George spent tens of millions of dollars creating the IRL, crushing CART—the rival open-wheel racing circuit—and updating the Speedway to lure Formula One here. The IMS’ and IRL’s problems were compounded by a crumbling economy and a tire debacle at the track’s 2008 NASCAR race that killed attendance at the 2009 Brickyard 400.

Belskus faces a bevy of challenges, including signing a long-awaited IRL title sponsor, improving the league’s attendance and television ratings, and expanding into profitable global markets—all the while assuring the series’ teams achieve long-term viability.

In November, Belskus conquered his first challenge, as Izod was named the league’s title sponsor through 2015.

On the Speedway side, Belskus must manage the facilities’ three events while evaluating a plethora of other opportunities, including hosting a second IRL or NASCAR race on the road course, increasing commercial efforts at the Brickyard, and determining to what extent the IMS should financially support the IRL.    In November, Belskus began to do what many had expected, reining in costs. He oversaw the firing of about 40 Speedway employees, including several longtime veterans. He continued the effort in December, announcing that the schedule of events leading up to the Indianapolis 500 would be trimmed to two weeks.•
 

 

 

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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

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