Like most American kids that grew up in the 80's I watched the Indy 500 every year and became interested in motorsports thanks to that race, but I didn't really get hooked until I started watching Formula 1 racing in the late 90's. My favorite era were those years with the great Mika Hakkinen/Michael Schumacher battles. (I was a Mika Hakkinen fan) So my fondness for Formula 1 waned once Mika retired and Schumacher started winning everything, even at the expense of his teammate Rubens Barrichello. My interest in F1 has only been lukewarm since.

Then I turned to Champ Car racing here in the US for my motorsports fix. However that was quickly extinguished once Champ Car and Indy Car merged and we were stuck with Tony George and his many foibles. (It was entertaining to watch the Hulman/George drama I'll admit.) My interest has been less than lukewarm with Indy Car lately, even without Tony George at the helm.

Over time however, the excitement I once had for motorsports has slowly gone. Maybe it has to do with my age, I don't know. But I think I will pour my efforts into my Trooper and my interests in the outdoors to add excitement to my life.

Thanks for checking out my blog, I hope you enjoy it. I will still post racing news when I find something interesting or noteworthy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

George's mother 'surprised,' 'disappointed' by resignation

(by Curt Cavin 7-2-09)

Tony George's resignation as chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League this week came as a surprise to his boss.

George's mother, Mari Hulman George, the chairman of the board for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp., said Wednesday she still can't explain why Tony George vacated the position after being replaced as president and chief executive officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. and Hulman & Co.

"I was surprised, and I'm still surprised," George said in a telephone interview from her home in Terre Haute. "I don't really understand. I'm disappointed that he didn't want to continue."

Tony George declined to comment until he posts a statement next week on Vision Racing's Web site. He co-owns the IndyCar Series team with his wife, Laura.

Tony George, who retains a board seat at IMS Corp., is expected to negotiate a contract with the board to serve as a consultant to the IRL and perhaps the Speedway. Both subsidiaries will report to his successor at IMS Corp., Jeff Belskus.

Mari Hulman George said her son didn't want to be an intermediary between IRL presidents Brian Barnhart (competition) and Terry Angstadt (commercial) and Belskus. Tony George hired them.

"He's got a lot of confidence in who he's got, and he just felt he didn't want to get in their way," she said. "It really wouldn't be like that. There are other things to do."

George, 74, said she did not consider retiring as board chairman.

"I said I really didn't think it was the time to do that," she said, adding, "that I really am getting up to where I wouldn't mind."

George also said Belskus and Curt Brighton, who was named the president and CEO of Hulman & Co., which controls the family's real estate, banking and investment properties, were "kind of surprised" to learn of their new roles. She described the family power struggle that led to Tony George's resignation as "not that unusual."

But she acknowledged there is no certainty for the company as it moves forward.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope everything goes well," she said. "I don't know what's going to happen next."

Meanwhile, those in the motor sports industry are trying to come to grips with the changes.

Belskus, who knew Tony George from their younger days in Terre Haute and as students at Indiana State, has worked for the Hulman-George family since 1987, most recently as its chief financial officer.

Most people know him as a quiet, guarded numbers expert.

"He's not a public figure, and I don't think he has any desire to be," said Zak Brown, the founder and CEO of Just Marketing International, a Zionsville-based company that pursues motor sports sponsorship packages.

"He's got good business acumen. He's a good, level-headed businessman."

Where Belskus stands on financial support for the IRL or other Speedway endeavors remains to be seen. An IMS spokesman said Belskus wants time to absorb his new role before speaking publicly.

Belskus is not expected to attend this weekend's race at Watkins Glen, N.Y.

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