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.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Are you kidding me? TG Back?

( 2-26-11)

Originally Posted by panchess

A lot of family scions make their progeny go work in another business for a while before coming home to the family business. Not only does it bring fresh ideas into the business, it cuts down the sense of birthright entitlement many family enterprises have.


I’m not sure I understand your point. In this context “scion” and “progeny” mean essentially the same thing: namely, “a descendant, heir, or young member of a family.”

Mari Hulman George is seventy-seven years old and her son Tony quit his positions in the family businesses on his fiftieth birthday in a gesture probably meant to symbolize that he was “disowning” his family (before they could do it to him).

Prior to his ouster Tony George reportedly never worked a day in his life outside appointed positions in his family’s businesses. It took him six years to get a bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University, evidently because he did more partying than studying. He married his pregnant college sweetheart in his senior year and upon graduation reportedly lived “the high, fast life” of a trust-fund baby (according to his divorce papers). Between 1984 and 1987 he tried his hand at being a racecar driver, like his father Elmer, eventually competing in the American Racing Series (forerunner of Indy Lights) for his godfather A.J. Foyt’s team. George “retired” from racing in 1987 after Foyt reportedly told him that he would never be any good at it. His grandmother then appointed Tony to a position as vice-president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he was given an office down the hall from that of the Speedway’s president, Joseph R. Cloutier (who was Tony Hulman’s former “right-hand man”). There’s no report of Cloutier mentoring 26-year-old George – Joe was a busy man – and Tony credits his Speedway education to the time he spent with Charlie Thompson, the IMS grounds superintendent, learning the facility and its procedures. Thus, when Tony speaks of “maintaining the greatest race course in the world,” he probably means that literally.

Cloutier died in office on December 11, 1989, age 81, and 30-year-old Tony George was appointed to take his place as Speedway president in January 1990 by his mother and grandmother. Less than two years later, 31-year-old Tony George attempted to force the team owners of the CART PPG Indycar World Series to sell the sport to him. He threatened that if the team owners didn’t sell to him, he would use his control of IMS and the Indianapolis 500 race to ruin them and the sport. The team owners declined to sell and George made good on his threat.

The only time that George has worked outside the shelter of the family businesses as an adult (that I am aware) was the brief period between December 30, 2009, when he resigned from the family, and February 17, 2011 when his mother and at least one sister allowed him back in. In the interim he became a franchisee for a German car-care product line (SONAX) and closed the doors of his race team, Vision Racing, due to lack of sponsorship. According to at least one sister, Tony spent most of the time after his somewhat impetuous resignation trying to rescind it and begging to be reinstated. He also attempted to buy the IndyCar Series with the backing of investors but his mother refused to sell it to him.

So, if it is Tony George you are referring to in your post, the only “fresh idea” he has had recently was that it was really, really stupid to quit his cushy jobs in the family businesses during a recession when he hasn’t any job skills to speak of. As for cutting down on his “sense of birthright entitlement,” it’s too late for that; Tony could serve as the poster boy for birthright entitlement or the Lucky Sperm Club’s national ad campaign.




Maybe someone can fill in the blanks for me, but, 400 barrels a day @ $100 barrel is $40,000 a day. I'm sure the family does not get all of that, though I don't know what is normal for oil well leases. Let's say the H-G's get half. That's $20K per day or $7,300,000 per year. I could live on that and if it was all used to fund the .irl the .irl would STILL be a money loser. It is estimated the .irl will lose $15,000,000 this year.

We all know however, that not all of this money will be poured into the .irl. So really, this will not help the .irl all that much.


I think possibly you overlooked the bigger picture. According to the announcement:


… 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.


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.

So, potentially, the drillers have discovered an entire oil field on the Hulman farm, not just a single well. Also, the well is apparently capable of producing more than 400 barrels a day, but “the flow is being held down to preserve the natural resource rather than let it run unchecked.”

Ignoring for the moment the potential size of the oil strike, I think you are entirely correct about its negligible effect on the future of the IRL/ICS. As you said, ”… if it was all used to fund the .irl the .irl would STILL be a money loser….”

Moreover, there is no indication that there will come a time when the league will NOT be a money loser. League supporters, like Defender/Disciple, who spend all their time arguing about the size of the Hulman-George family’s losses overlook the fact that the more important issue is whether or not the losses are ongoing (which most credible reports indicate that they are). Hence, it doesn’t really matter if the family has lost $60 million (the reported cost of the Formula One track in the IMS infield) or $600 million (their widely rumored total losses), if the leaky league could easily devour another $600 million and STILL not become profitable.

That’s one reason the income from the oil wells on the Hulman farm should be very attractive to the other Hulman-George heirs: they don’t have to wait for Mari and Tony to try to get their money back out of the bottomless pit of the IRL/ICS, this is NEW money that hasn’t been earmarked to go down the drain. If I were one of the H-G heirs I’d look into the possibility of trading my share of the IRL/ICS for Mari and Tony’s share of the oil royalties.


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