19 January 2010

As IMS Turns...

Since the end of May 2009, the ongoing soap opera at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been interesting to watch.  It began with reports of Tony George's ouster as IMS President, then was confirmed during the summer, with George staying on the board and Jeff Belskus assuming the track's presidency.

Now - George has resigned from the board altogether.  What does any of it mean?  Well, short term, George maintains his ownership of Vision Racing.  And with the persistent rumors of his (and John Menard's) desire to purchase the IZOD IndyCar Series, maybe that's what he's planning to do in the coming days and months.

But why walk away from the family business(es) - Hulman & Company, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League, IMS Productions, etc.?  Maybe he was tired of watching the bottom line be cleaned up, resulting in layoffs throughout those various companies.  Perhaps he felt that he, in good conscience, could not remain on the board as others (especially those who showed the George Family and IMS loyalty in the lean years of the IRL) lost their jobs in a difficult economy.

To me, it goes back to last May, when he was forced out of the presidency of IMS.  To be asked to resign as IMS President, and by his family members no less, had to be disheartening.  And this signals to me that those hurt feelings have continued to linger, to an extent.

Now, that's my airchair psychologist speaking.  To be honest, I have no idea whether George resigned because of the scars from last May, hurt feelings because he hasn't been allowed to see the redesigned Indycar.com, a desire to vacation more, or because he wants to buy the IZOD IndyCar Series outright. 

In any case, it's been a helluva roller coaster for George over the last eight months, that is for sure.

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