Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

January 20, 2010

Tony George: ‘I Quit.’ But Why?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:20 pm

Yesterday Tony George quietly resigned his board positions from every single Hulman-George family business interest. Why he did that is certainly his own business, and perhaps one day he will issue a statement about it. What followed his action is some of the most entertaining, knee-jerk commentary ever read, not only from barely literate, mostly hostile Internet squatters but also columnists scrambling to figure out why they had little to no inkling this would happen and got scooped by an IMS press release.

Speculation runs the gamut. The most clueless and often vulgar begin with an idiotic premise that Tony George was singlehandedly ‘responsible’ for the ‘destruction’ of open wheel racing, and that this latest milestone is his just reward. Most people who share that opinion are relatively far from any coherent understanding about how the sport has evolved and know little about sportsmanship.

Others speculate he is flat broke. That type of speculation also gets formulated out of thin air. It is funny that pundits who have zero access to Hulman-George private company financial data are certain the Indy Car Series has lost $600,000,000.00 in its lifetime. Or that Tony and crew lost hundreds of millions to Bernie Madoff.

In some ways it is easy to hypothesize. The tone of the language Mari Hulman-George used in the press release could, with certain interpretation, position Tony as a petulant child who decided to take his ball and go home. That fits nicely with conspiracy theories foisted by imbecilic cart apologists who have taunted similar sentiments for fifteen years in far less colorful and literate terms.

Still others position the female members of the family as dysfunctional, out of touch, icy, socialite, vindictive bitches who care only about maintaining regular visits to the spa and cashing big checks three times a year. Those quaint ruminations also make me laugh, primarily because those making them know nothing about any member of that family, most of whom give away more to charitable organizations than those who speculate make in a lifetime. Then there are the ‘one of Mari’s grandchildren was drunk in a bar spilling his guts the other night’ fantasies. Most everyone sticking their noses and yaps into Hulman-George family business probably ought to at least attempt to get some kind of life.

Another popular supposition positions Tony as angry at current leadership for dismantling tradition. That is near my biggest worry. The folks who own the Hulman-George companies including IMS know that assets are first and foremost business entities that must be profitable. What appears to be losing steam with the family and leadership is the notion that tradition must be upheld at IMS, and that loving, passionate caretaking of the place should be the main goal. What made IMS great and special during the Hulman era, and later under Tony George, is the tenet that you needed to make the facility and the experience better the following year than it was the previous year.

Many understand the need for more accountable organizational structure. One criticism of the George-led companies over the years involves the ‘aw shucks/good ‘ol boy’ way in which they claim it was run. It appears Belskus (and crew) is changing internal culture dramatically. Is that bad? Of course not.  It happens in business every day. There is a certain amount of fear, however. If those who run the IMS portion of the business become too clinical about it, the place becomes something ordinary, like any run of the mill ISC track.

Some speculate Tony is upset with the evisceration of the month of May by Belskus. Legitimate? Definitely. There MUST be two weekends of qualifying and more on track activity in May. If the month is sliced to appease owners with self serving intentions then it appears current leadership has no problem with trampling any tradition. Whoever runs the joint must have the passion, patience and constitution to do it. History and tradition must be respected and honored. The leader has to ‘get it.’ Belskus and crew do not appear to ‘get it.’ Of all the rampant speculation, the ‘Tony-is-angry-about-May’ theory has some merit where I am concerned.

In the end, I am left with a few emotions. Sadness, because Tony did great things at IMS while in charge. It is more magnificent today than ever before. Anger because there still exist mentally deranged (meant in the most insulting way possible) dolts who created a big problem for themselves then blamed Tony George for it. There is anticipation because still another theory has Tony making a comeback with partners to take over the Indy Car Series. This one features interesting subplots as well, including rumors of a battle over a new car. Whether that is anything more than wishful thought remains to be seen.

Only one this is certain. This is the most engaging silly season in the history of the sport.



  1. i just found this so i copy and post it. i am now super mad,

    from a web:

    Word also is, and I cannot verify with anyone but word is out of the corner of W. 16th Street and Gomertown Rd, the Hulman-George Family intends to sell the IMS after the 2011 “500″.

    The proceeds would be given to the grandchildren in the form of a “trust” and the deal will stipulate the family receives an annual stipend based on somehow or other owning and maintaining the rights to the copyrighted names. I don’t know the details beyond that. Special Ed and everybody are essenntially set for life now, but this guarantees that without further losses.

    The deal supposedly includes a requirement that IMS maintains the 500 as an Indy Car race, run as always in May, and with some sort of quasi-governmental oversight to maintain the traditions and heritage of the place. In other words, lots of controls and oversight and licensing agreements in place, but plenty of profit too for a shrewd and succussful racing business. We’ll see what develops.

    RM and the like do not report this because it is all in development. Let’s just say a Hulman-George grandkid, slightly buzzed at an Indy eatery a few weeks back told me this, and that kid is releived because he wants no part of running a racing entity of any sort.

    Mark my words: IMS is sold in two years time. The 500 goes on as usual, maybe even better.
    oh my gosh is all i can say



    Editor’s Note: Rational advice from someone with a brain: Pay no attention to anyone who posts any sort of nonsense such as the chum you found. People who post that sort of thing are creating fiction. If such a person were not cowardly he/she would either name names or shut the hell up. The ‘I heard from…’ gossip is not credible, nor is the person trolling with it. In short, do not worry your pointy li’l head.

    Comment by bingO jOhnsOn — January 20, 2010 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  2. Ahhhh……Fifteen years of shotguning cash at the gay.r.l. and nothing to show for it but a part time single car team and a closet coke habit. Now FTG is gonna have get in bed with Roger, Chip, Mike, Carl, Kevin, Delta Wing and the rest of the owners in CART II (coming to a track near you in 2012), the irony is intoxicating.

    Editor’s Note: Why is it the Almighty decides to snuff 200,000 mostly innocent people on an island in one fell swoop but allows sub-humans such as the contributor above to continue breathing? That is a mystery to which there is no good answer. Here is a brief list of why I laugh at such idiots:

    -‘Shotguning (nice spelling, Einstein) cash’ (these retarded people have no idea about anything remotely resembling finance, much less finances of a private company)
    -‘gay.r.l.’ – Huh?
    -‘part time single car team and a closet coke habit’ – Implication that Anton has a drug problem.
    -‘FTG’ = 2nd grade.
    -‘Now Tony will have to get in bed with cart owners’ – The purpose of that particular taunt is confusing. On the one hand we have heard about how great these owners are until Tony joins their club, then they are all bad. Curious.
    -‘cartII in 2012’ – How many dumb predictions that will make their prognosticators look even more stupid every time will such sub-humans make before they learn? It’s been fifteen years so optimism remains low.
    -‘irony’ – I suspect the Einsteins crapping here and elsewhere wouldn’t know irony if it hit them in the forehead. Preferably with blunt force.

    Now, more than ever, grow up. You are doing the sport a disservice.

    Comment by Laughing at your expense — January 20, 2010 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  3. I love that your panties instantly go up you vag everytime someone posts something you disagree with and your disapproval of my one handed iPhone typing, while in traffic, makes me equally as happy. “The purpose of that particular taunt I find confusing” that’s because your a dumbass, I said that because you always bray over how “The owners running the series ruinned CART, waaahhh” now *$#%ing Tony George (better?) is in the same boat you dolt. He is in bed with the people who want to buyout said gay.r.l., the people involved in Delta Wing LLC don’t just want their own car, they want to run the series, think outside the box, connect the dots, use that little brain of your’s. And for shit’s sake, lighten up, have some fun with it, going through life as a complete asshole is not going to net a happy life. I enjoy poking you with a sharp stick as much as anybody, but I’ll stop if it hurts your feeling or leads you to a heart attack.

    Editor’s Note: The paragraph above describes how/why cart died. Twice. It has/had some of the worst fans in the history of sport. But it IS entertaining to make fun of:

    -‘I love that your panties instantly go up you vag everytime someone posts something you disagree with’ – Supposition that I wear panties and, assuming ‘vag’ is some sort of shorthand for ‘vagina,’ that I have one. Ha ha. Pretty funny stuff right there. The fact I allow sheer stupidity to be posted in the comments section proves how tolerant of darkly retarded individuals I really am.

    -‘your disapproval of my one handed iPhone typing, while in traffic, makes me equally as happy.’ – I hope that when you smack into something while driving distracted that you injure/kill/maim only yourself and not some innocent person who is mature enough to drive with sense.

    -‘that’s because your a dumbass, I said that because you always bray over how “The owners running the series ruinned CART, waaahhh” now $#@*ing Tony George (better?) is in the same boat you dolt. He is in bed with the people who want to buyout said gay.r.l., the people involved in Delta Wing LLC don’t just want their own car, they want to run the series, think outside the box, connect the dots, use that little brain of your’s.’ MY a dumbass? ‘ruinned?’ ‘gay.r.l?’ And he’s telling me to connect dots? Now that’s funny. Let me get this straight…you blame your borderline illiteracy on an iPhone? Oh. OK.

    -‘And for shit’s sake, lighten up, have some fun with it, going through life as a complete a-hole is not going to net a happy life. I enjoy poking you with a sharp stick as much as anybody, but I’ll stop if it hurts your feeling or leads you to a heart attack.’ No…by all means…keep it up. The more you folks expose yourselves the more fun it is. Trust me, this nonsense is pretty far away from causing any sort of health problem. If laughter is the best medicine, I’ll live well into my hundreds.

    Comment by Laughing at your expense — January 20, 2010 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

  4. defenderwordpress.

    if you want i will pop him a good one at the 500 if i see him. just like aj popped arnie at texas.

    hes a mean cart fan and i dont much care for it.

    downforce #248
    Mars Hill, in

    Editor’s Note: That’s OK Bingo. Violence rarely solves problems. Education does. Sadly, it appears you would be unable to help in that regard either. But definitely thanks for asking.

    Comment by bingO — January 20, 2010 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  5. you can call me wingman 🙂

    lets talk about positve stuff, like brazil race in a month.

    df #248

    Editor’s Note: You realize, Bingo, that the Brazil to which Indy Car refers is in South America and not Clay County, Indiana, correct?

    Comment by bingO — January 20, 2010 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

  6. I too, have wondered why the sudden resignation of Tony George and resulting near-chaos of Indy car racing as a result. Mr “Defender of the IRL” writes a very thoughtful, and thought-provoking column. This is something that could invite debate for a long time, but probably nothing definite can be found out. Anyway, we’re stuck with the present situation, so enjoy deal with it and enjoy.

    Comment by DOUG ALBORN — January 20, 2010 @ 8:11 pm | Reply

  7. Sorry about the first “enjoy”–I meant to delete it.

    Comment by DOUG ALBORN — January 20, 2010 @ 8:13 pm | Reply

  8. “Mentally deranged” “Imbecilic” “Sub-humans” Defender, Defender, Defender, Defender, Defender. Nice to see you’re finally describing YOURSELF. Doesn’t it feel good? The truth shall set you free.

    Let me also say this, you are in no position to tell anyone to “grow up.” YOU are the whiniest, petulant, immature blogger on IndyCar there is. Go right ahead and write some snotty-ass response. I honestly don’t care what you think.

    BTW, you can’t have a heart attack. You’d have to have a heart for that to happen.

    In a perfect world, contributors who are both smart and mature would confine commentary to the topic. That is too evidently too much to ask from the usual suspects. What a shame.

    Comment by Thevoiceofreason — January 21, 2010 @ 12:59 am | Reply

  9. Machinations over the past, or attempts to read Mr. George’s intentions, seem pointless to me. I’m looking towards tomorrow.

    The IMS and its owners are secure if a healthy IndyCar Series can be reconstructed. Today they have every reason to keep the IMS, and sell the ICS.

    The fate of the ICS is the question: if it cannot prosper, both entities fail.

    That’s the future…who will control the ICS. Current ownership can divest themselves of the liability, and new ownership can redirect the Series. If new ICS ownership is successful, both entities win.

    Then the IMS owners can “cash out” any time they wish. A prosperous new IndyCar Series raises the value of the IMS. And the sale of the Speedway would not deter the IndyCar Series, unless new ownership locks the gates and forms “IRL part deux”.

    Is there fault in that logic?

    Editor’s Note: Not really. The only thing with which I might disagree is a presupposition the IZOD Indy Car Series needs ‘reconstruction.’ They acquired a long term sponsor worth multiple millions a year, and their television package is solid and worth multiple millions every year. New venues like Birmingham are paying top dollar and will draw good crowds. Two things that actually need to happen to enhance (not reconstruct) the series is an opening of the rule book to provide incentives for expanded participation by manufacturers. We need new cars. Management also needs to take their heads out of their nether regions regarding ovals. They can work if marketed and raced on correctly.

    Comment by Andrew Bernstein — January 21, 2010 @ 4:23 am | Reply

  10. Defender, it must be computer day in the special education class given the above responses.

    We got a great one from Andrew. Maybe he’s the teacher.

    Comment by Some guy — January 21, 2010 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  11. I have an on-going argument with a friend
    who thinks that Tony George has a “personal wealth”
    of millions, or “more money than he could ever spend.”
    I disagree, and am convinced that his own, personal
    assets are much less (possibly $1 million or less)
    and that his “notoriety” and “social prestige”
    were only residual blessings of his being Tony Hulman’s nephew,
    and a recipient of a portion of the Hulman Family fortune.
    Does anybody really know?
    After an exhaustive web search, I can find nothing about
    Tony George’s personal fortune–but way too much press
    about his “glory days” as the CEO at IMS.
    I am curious?
    Did he actually “dent” the Hulman Family fortune
    in his years as the boss at the Speedway?
    And, is his own bank account a “little thin”?
    Can anybody answer the question?

    Comment by clark quinlan — May 17, 2010 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

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