IMS: Tony George still our CEO, for now

Posted by Iannucci | 5/27/2009 | 23 comments »
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(The following is a statement issued today by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway)

At a regular meeting of the board of directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 26, board members asked Tony George, chief executive officer of the IMS companies, to devise a plan for management of Hulman and Company, the Indy Racing League, Clabber Girl and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that would allow him to focus on the business which requires the greatest attention. This plan is to be presented to the board at a meeting later this year.

IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George said: "There was a general discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing all of our companies and where most of our energies need to be spent. All of our properties are doing well, given the challenges of the current economy. The Indy Racing League represents our greatest growth opportunity and therefore deserves the most attention at this point."

Tony George said: "Contrary to published reports, I continue to serve as CEO of IMS. Our board of directors met yesterday, and we did discuss how to best confront challenges and exploit opportunities facing our businesses. This is nothing new and is something that we continually do as a board. But no changes in leadership or responsibility have been made. We don't normally comment on board deliberations concerning our family business. However, the widespread, inaccurate reports and rumors caused my mother and me to conclude that it was necessary to set the record straight. If changes are made in the management of the company that are newsworthy, we will announce them when they are made."


ELSEWHERE: SPEEDtv has moved Robin Miller's article that started all of this off the front page of SPEEDtv's website, changed the URL, and had the content updated. Bruce Martin's story at SI.com has been completely redone and no longer includes the portion quoted earlier.

23 comments

  1. pressdog // May 27, 2009 12:27 PM  

    Something is hinky. Elizabeth is the Queen of England as well, but that don't mean she's running the country. Whether or not Tony George is the CEO in every sense of the word, as in making the final decisions with the ability to overrule anyone else, is something we probably won't know. If IMS hires a "consultant" that happens to be named Humpy, well ...

  2. Anonymous // May 27, 2009 1:45 PM  

    here's a thought...how 'bout Humpy stayin down south where he oughta be and let the midwesterners run the 500?!

  3. Sarah Fan // May 27, 2009 2:48 PM  

    Humpy Wheeler first and foremost is a promoter, and a darn good one at that. I don't understand why people dis him, and praise Eddie Gossage, for doing the exact same thing. Just because Humpy was the promoter at Charlotte for the last upteen million years doesn't mean he only knows how to promote that other fender series. Cut the guy a break. Having followed the IRL, CART, Champ Car, F1, that other fendered series, and basically anything racing on any number of wheels for my entire adult life, the IRL could do a lot worse than to have Humpy Wheeler promoting the series.

  4. Demond Sanders // May 27, 2009 3:02 PM  

    Robin Miller killlled Curt Cavin on JMV's radio show just now. Classic. Said Cavin and the Star should know better than to implicitly trust the Speedway's version of things. I get the feeling that Miller would rather be viewed as wrong by the public than actually be wrong.

    I'm torn on this because right or wrong RM's always been a bit of a punk (much like Bob Kravitz). But he's clearly correct on the meat of this story.

  5. Sarah Fan // May 27, 2009 3:04 PM  

    To be continued next week......

  6. Erin the Greyt // May 27, 2009 3:08 PM  

    While I am not a NASCAR fan, I think if Humpy Wheeler gets a shot, it can't hurt. I think that is a better option than some of the other decisions that they have made. Just look at Gene Simmons...

  7. Anonymous // May 27, 2009 4:34 PM  

    Humpy can pump the IRL, but leave the 500 alone.

  8. stand b // May 27, 2009 7:19 PM  

    Son, as you may know rub miller thinks of himself as the wise old man on top of the mountain when it comes to racing. but Son, let me tell you something, rub has done nothing but cause harm to open wheel racing.

    Son the best thing that could happen to open wheel racing and the worst thing that could happen to napcar is for rub miller to cover the fendered series. i think the napcar channel, aka speedtv, is learning how detrimental rub is to any series he covers.

    tony george has my support 100%. and son, rub is nothing but an old man.

  9. pressdog // May 28, 2009 3:18 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  10. pressdog // May 28, 2009 3:19 AM  

    I think Robin got it substantially correct. It's been dressed up a bit and the timeline extended, but I think what is happening is essentially what Robin reported.

  11. Demond Sanders // May 28, 2009 5:19 AM  

    Agreed, Pressdog. It kind of blows my mind that anyone would bother attacking Miller over this. I'd rather spend my time trying to figure out where the series goes from here.

  12. Anonymous // May 28, 2009 5:38 AM  

    robin miller got it right. let's not believe for a minute that there isn't truth to everything he reported. the hulman's are tired of his spending: '96 split, irl, f1, etc... The sport was at a height in the early-to-mid 90's and now it's not even an after thought. all b/c of tony's tremendous ego.

  13. Humpy Hump // May 28, 2009 6:21 AM  

    All right!
    Stop whatcha doin'
    'cause I'm about to ruin
    the dull image of IMS that ya used to.
    I look funny
    but yo I'm makin' money see
    so yo IMS I hope you're ready for me.
    Now gather round
    I'm the new fool in town
    At the track ten miles from Indy’s downtown.
    I drink up all the moonshine ya got on ya shelf
    so just let me introduce myself

    My name is Humpy, pronounced with an Umpy.
    Yo drivers, oh how I like to pimp thee.
    And all the owners in the top ten--please allow me to bump thee.
    I'm steppin' tall, y'all,
    and just like Humpty Dumpty
    you're gonna fall when the PA system pumps me.
    I like to rhyme,
    I like my racin’ funky,
    I'm spunky. I like my racecars lumpy.
    I'm sick wit dis, straight gangsta mack
    but sometimes I get ridiculous
    I'll drink up all your Bud and eat your licorice
    hey yo Danica, c'mere--are ya ticklish?
    Yeah, I called ya sexy.
    Look at me, I'm chubby
    It never stopped me from gettin' money
    I'm a freak
    I like promotions that boom
    I once crashed a stockcar into a Speedway bathroom

    I'm crazy.
    Allow me to amaze thee.
    They say I'm goofy but it just don't faze me.
    I run races that’ll make ya jump outta ya pants
    and I even got my own dance

    {Chorus:}
    The Humpy Dance is your chance to do the Bump
    Do the Humpy Bump, come on and do the Humpy Bump
    Do the Humpy Bump, just watch me do the Humpy Bump
    Do ya know what I'm doin', doin' the Humpy Bump
    Do the Humpy Bump, do the Humpy Bump

    Verse Two:
    People say "Yo, Humpy, you're really funny lookin'"
    that's all right 'cause I get things cookin'
    Ya stare, ya glare, ya constantly try to compare me
    but ya can't get near me
    I give 'em more, see, and on the track, G,
    all the fans they adore me
    Oh yes, fans, I'm really bein' sincere
    'cause in 2010 my Humpy plans will be clear.
    My ego is big, uh-uh I'm not ashamed
    Bigger than Andretti, I'm still gettin' paid
    I get love from the fans, ya know I'm in charge,
    both how I'm livin' and my ego is large
    I get stoopid, jumpin’ cars off a ramp like an arrow from Cupid,
    I use a word that don't mean nothin', like looptid
    I owned Charlotte Motor Speedway, and if ya missed it,
    I'm the one who told Bruton Smith “Bite me in the biscuits!”
    All ya gotta do is give Humpy a chance
    and now I'm gonna do my dance.

    {Chorus}

    Breakdown:
    Oh, yeah, that's the break, y'all
    Let me hear a little bit of that Turn One groove right here
    Oh, yeah!
    Now that I told ya a little bit about myself
    let me tell ya a little bit about this dance
    It's real easy to do--check it out

    Verse Three:
    First I flood the airwaves until they’re broken
    runnin’ crazy racecars with the tailpipes smokin'
    Crazy wack funky
    People say ya look like Helio on crack, Humpy
    That's all right 'cause my plan’s in motion
    It's supposed to look like a fit or a convulsion
    Anyone can play this game
    This is my dance, y'all, Humpy Wheeler's my name
    No two people will do it the same
    Ya got it down when ya appear to be in pain
    Racin', skidin', crashin',
    spinin’ around, shakin' ya rump,
    and when the NASCAR dudes point their fingers like a stump
    tell him step off, you’re hirin' the Hump!

    {Chorus}

    IRL Fans, do the Humpy Bump, do the Humpy Bump
    NASCAR Fans, do the Humpy Bump, do the Humpy Bump
    F-1 Fans, do the Humpy Bump, just keep on doin' the Bump
    ALMS Fans, do the Humpy Bump, do the Humpy Bump
    Let's get stoopid!

    {Chorus}

    Oh, yeah, come on and break it down

    Outro:
    Once again, the Humpy Wheeler is in the house
    I'd like to send a shout out to the whole world,
    keep on doin' the Humpy Dance,
    and to the fans,
    peace and humpyness forever

  14. Iannucci // May 28, 2009 8:03 AM  

    Now THAT'S a comment, Humpy Hump!

  15. Anonymous // May 28, 2009 9:48 AM  

    They.... (that comedy troupe they refer to as the IMS board) can word the press release any way they like, TG is outta there. And we had all better hope that Humpy Wheeler or someone very much like him is being brought on board. Otherwise this drug induced coma that the IRL is currently enduring will end badly thanks primarily to TG... The Hulman family wunderkind who managed to take an American auto racing crown jewel and turn it, albeit painfully & slowly over a 15 year period, into a sows ear. Regards, Ken from Melbourne.

  16. SkipinSC // May 28, 2009 4:18 PM  

    I will preface this post by saying that I have been a fan of the Indy 500 since 1961, when A.J. Foyt won the race driving a car sponsored by a client of my grandparents' risk management consulting firm (Bowes Seal Fast.)

    Accordingly, I probably predate a lot of posters on here, as well as many of the bloggers whom I read on a regular basis.

    To hear the barely muted cheering at the potential ouster of Tony George is, to me, patently disgusting.

    Perhaps those of you who gloat so loudly would have preferred that the split never would have happened; so would I. But the fact remains that the powers that be (CART at that time) were driving the costs of racing right through the proverbial roof.

    Had the split not occured, there probably would not be ANY open wheel racing in America anymore. The "wizards of smart" running CART were ready to consume every available dollar (of other peoples' money!) And, under their final incarnation, CCWS, they all went broke. Where I went to school, that was a colossal failure.

    Tony George, for all his faults, kept OWR viable and under his watch, IMS became MUCH more fan friendly.

    Consider that the last time I attended the race (I moved to South Carolina in 1990) was 1987. That was the last of a 15 of 17 year attendance record that began in 1970.

    The "snakepit" had gotten totally out of control (and yes, I spent several 500's there,) the restrooms were horrible, there were no "jumbotrons" to allow the entire seated crowd to keep abreast of the race, "Carb Day" meant only an hour of practice and the Pit Stop Competition, the food was deplorable, (well, you really can't screw up beer,) infield parking was a nightmare, and yet the place was packed and everyone thinks of those as the "glory days."

    While I still attended time trials after 1987, I avoided the race for the simple reason that I had the best seat in the house in front of my TV (LIVE, once I moved away from Indy,) where beer wasn't the only beverage of choice, I could eat either filet mignon or barbecued chicken if I chose, and the restroom was right down the hall and (at least most of the time) did not stink!

    Things, under TG, have changed, some for the worse, but much for the better. Is the 500 still the "greatest race in the world?" Well, we can debate that from now until forever, but the fact remains that even in the leanest of years, the racing has been exciting, the facility has improved dramatically, and this has been done with NOT ONE DIME of money outside the HG family.

    So, before you all send Tony George off into oblivion, maybe you should thank him. Were it not for his improvements, I doubt there would be a blogger section in the media center, (or even a media center for that matter.

    And, for anyone who reads this, I'll put my name and email behind it.

    Skip Free
    SkipinSC
    IDIDIDONE@aol.com

  17. stand b // May 28, 2009 5:40 PM  

    Skip,

    i agree whole heartedly. the speedway, home of the greatest spectacle in racing, is a private enterprise and has been run with the best long term interests of open wheel racing in mind.

    IMS is a business that relies on the success of the indy 500 and hence the success of open wheel racing. whatever you think of the split it was done with the intention to remain a viable business for the next 100 years.

    I still love going to the 500 but there has also been formula 1, nascar, and now motogp. heck they have even had pro golf tournaments at the relatively new brickyard crossing. that diversification and the millions of dollars worth of improvements has kept IMS and the home of the 500 a world class facility. all without going on the government dole or drinking from the community teat. in fact the race has a greater economic impact on indy than a super bowl. And we dont have to pay a dime!
    tg wants ims and owr to succeed. the past is the past and who knows where owr would be without the split, but it happened. for owr to succeed the bitching has to stop, thats whats contributed to the decline of owr. no enthusiasm, just bitterness.

    for owr to succeed every 500 fan needs to tell non 500 fans about the cool things that are happening at the speedway and in indycar racing. until the bitchin stops and a groundswell of support and enthusiasm starts the fans will not come.

    so if you really want owr to succeed start promoting the positives instead of harboring the tired biterness that is all that remains for so called fans like rub miller. son.

  18. Anonymous // May 28, 2009 7:01 PM  

    BLAH BLAH BLAH. Has anyone thought to question the competence of Tony's mother and sisters? Everyone piles on him without even questioning the others. It is a board. He does not make every decision. It is done as a group at times. Maybe someone should try to find out what the rest of the family is doing all the time. Getting a monthly check and sitting back and letting Tony do all the work maybe? He is not perfect but I can guarantee that with a little work you might find that the rest of his family is completely ignorant and clueless as to what actually is going on at the track at least.

  19. vitorfan // May 28, 2009 7:31 PM  

    Humpty Hump,

    I'm frig'n dying! LMFAO! That's some serious time you got on your hands there!

  20. Scott // May 29, 2009 10:06 AM  

    "Had the split not occured, there probably would not be ANY open wheel racing in America anymore. "

    Skip, that is the stupidest thing ever written... are you a Curt Cavin understudy?

    CART/Champcar was still alive as of 14 months ago without the 500. Hell, they put out a more entertaining product in their final race than the IRL did at long beach this year. If the 500 were still on the schedule that series would have never fallen like it did.

    The skyrocketing costs are a red herring. If it weren't for the loss of viewers and attendance resulting from the split, the revenues would have remained high enough that minor rule tweaks would have kept everyone in business. Ask NASCAR what paying customers will do to keep teams with tremendously overblown budgets operating.

    As far as Indy becoming more family friendly... it's amazing what the loss of 100K people will do to make a place more fan friendly. Its also amazing how a lack of demand for tickets will make a lot more people drag their wives and kids to the track.

  21. Scott // May 29, 2009 10:21 AM  

    "To hear the barely muted cheering at the potential ouster of Tony George is, to me, patently disgusting. "

    By the way, there's a reason that I cheer, and it's not out of revenge for the split.

    I'm happy because it gives me hope that in the near future we might again have a series where passing can take place on the track. I have hope that the pace car will actually pace the field at the start and on restarts. I have hope that when Briscoe passes two cars before the leader takes off he will receive a stop and go penalty instead of just giving back the spots.

    Getting Tony George out of the picture gives me hope that the product I see on the track on Sunday will be half as entertaining as the product that the Daytona Prototypes give us. That is a testament to how poor the actual racing has become.

  22. Anonymous // June 03, 2009 5:24 PM  

    Has it all been forgotten that Roger(Team)Penske and Chip(Target)Ganassi have a hand in all this somwhere? Roger Penske left after 1995 when he couldn't get a car qualified for the 500 and said "I will not be back if they make the 500 a Spec Series" and he took most of the best teams with him? Now, Penske and Ganassi are back and they leave most of the winning to themselves? The IRL(TG)was originally supposed to make it financially reachable to have a better chance of winning for the other teams's running in the IRL?

  23. Anonymous // July 28, 2009 9:08 AM  

    Penske and Ganassi leave Indycar Racing now, please, you have ruined Indy 500 Racing 2 times in a row now. Must you always be the Power Mongers that you are and Hog it all? You both have made it a 2 team race with a parade of followers. Get out now! Isn't 15 Indy Wins and 15 Pole Positions enough? I don't care what others think of this comment, if the truth hurts, so be it!