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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. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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