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.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Big oil gusher found on Hulman Indiana farm

(by Bruce Smith 2-25-11)

Indianapolis-based CountryMark announced today that one of the biggest oil discoveries in years has been made on the Hulman family farm near Terre Haute.

Yep, it's the farm of the family best known as the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Known as Hulman Farms #1, the well has been flowing in a test for 21 days and is producing about 400 barrels of Indiana oil a day. The well could produce more; however, the flow is being held down to preserve the natural resource rather than let it run unchecked, according to an announcement from CountryMark.

The well is within an ancient geologic formation known as the Illinois Basin, which has been a dependable source of domestic oil covering about 35,000 square miles in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

CountryMark, which has 95 gas stations in Indiana and neighboring states, buys only crude from the Illinois Basin and refines it into gasoline at a plant at Mount Vernon.

Company officials said a typical oil well in Indiana flows about 4 barrels a day, and good wells produce closer to 100 barrels a day.

So a 400-barrel well is considered one of the most significant oil discoveries in 25 years and it may signal an important new oil field for Vigo County, in the southwest Indiana area east of Terre Haute.

CountryMark is a farmer-owned cooperative and is Indiana's only American-owned oil exploration, production, refining and marketing company. Its plant refines about 26,800 barrels a day.

CountryMark President Charlie Smith said the Hulman farm discovery, along with other drilling activities by CountryMark and other producers in the state, are steps toward American independence from foreign oil.


Are you kidding me? TG back?

Is there no justice?!

Another confirmation of the adage that “it’s better to be lucky than good.” Sheesh!

Still, though, looking on the bright side this windfall will probably hasten the breakup of the Hulman-George dynasty.

That’s because dollars to donuts, Tony is going to want Mari to flush the new wealth down the same IRL/ICS toilet in pursuit of another of his false promises of league success.

However, before they struck “Texas tea” on the old homestead, the two sisters who oppose Tony (Josie and Kathi) were stuck: their mother and brother had consolidated most of the family’s assets into the family motorsports businesses; which have yet to stop hemorrhaging red ink. They couldn’t get their inheritance out because it would mean selling the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at a fire-sale price and their mother would never go for it. One of the few motorsports assets they had that was worth anything, their share of the Chicagoland track, was sold for $69 million and the money was given to Tony so that he could help his lame motor sport limp to the Indy 500 centennial year. The rest of their motorsports “assets,” save IMS, aren’t worth spit. So, the sisters were stuck with the impossible task of trying to turn Tony’s sow into a trio of silk purses.

Sister Josie, for one, was fighting to win a place for her two sons, Jarrod and Kyle Krisiloff, in the family business. A place that her brother Tony seemed less and less inclined to offer; what with his sudden attempt to restructure Hulman & Co. to consolidate power in his hands alone.

This was obviously a bone of contention in the acrimonious board meetings leading up to Tony’s dismissal. One of the first things that Tony said in his defense in his first interview after his ouster was:

Originally Posted by Boss Gomer

“But having said that, I did expect I would reduce my role with both and work on transitioning members of the family into leadership positions. In fact, in March of 2009, (March 17, 18, and 19 to be exact), I organized an initial meeting with an executive leadership consultant that I had worked with previously, to begin working with my son and nephew, both of whom were working in the business.”

Brother, there’s a patsy off excuse if ever I saw one. After all the talks about succession over the course of years, Tony had just scheduled an “initial” meeting with a friend of his to talk about grooming his nephew and son for the long process of taking a leadership role in the family business a few short months before the women gave him the axe. Is it any wonder they socked it to him, he obviously had no intention of handing over the reins of power short of his death bed.

So, Josie stuck it to Tony, for her kids; it was probably the only way they were going to get anything (assuming of course there is anything left after Tony’s mismanagement).

Now, who do you suppose Boss Gomer was referring to in the same interview when he said:

Originally Posted by Boss Gomer

Any family enterprise, with the size and breadth of holdings like our extended family, especially by the fourth or fifth generation, likely foments internal grasping and deceit that can come from a lifetime of deep-seated resentment and anger that only a family can inflict on each other.

This is so common in large family enterprises it is almost a cliche. This can be painful and damaging not only on the current generation, but also on spouses and children of the next generation. The bottom line is that I truly love my mom and sisters, but I am truly grateful and relieved to now get the opportunity to explore other ways to live the most productive years of my business life and attend to the needs of my own wife and children.

In case you lost your scorecard, the grasping, deceitful one filled with a “lifetime of deep-seated resentment and anger” is probably someone whose name begins with “J”. And the “spouses and children of the next generation” who took it in the head are most likely wife Laura, who the sisters fired from her IMS make-work position a week or so before deposing Tony, and their daughter Lauren (a part owner of the moribund Vision team along with her folks) and step-son, sometime Indycar driver “Special Ed” Carpenter.

Tony’s other son by his first marriage, Tony Jr., is probably in the same boat as Josie’s son Jarrod Krisiloff. Meaning if Ed Carpenter had had to wait for his Indycar seat as long as Tony Jr. and Jarrod have waited for some real authority in the family business, Ed would probably still be driving midgets in USAC’s Regional Series.

Now, as they used to say in the Grindhouse movie commercials: “Tony’s baaa-ck! And he’s looking for revenge!!!”

Why mother Mari and sister Nancy allowed Tony and his carpet bagger yes-men on the new Hulman & Co. board of directors is a mystery; but it bodes an ill wind for sisters Josie and Kathi.

Which likely divides the family and sets the stage for a battle over division of its resources. I think it is pretty clear that Tony and Mari have badly mismanaged the family’s assets and it’s probably going to become even clearer when the family is once again asked to pony up big bucks for Tony’s folly come 2012. If Tony is once again in charge, de facto or otherwise, and Josie’s Messiah (Ropin’ Randy) is pushed aside at least one segment of the family is probably going to be feeling pretty hopeless. Maybe enough to take the oil money and other assets and run for the hills (Beverly, that is).

Time will tell.


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