IRL plays down effect of Tony George's exit
A trio of key Indy Racing League officials held a late-afternoon press conference Saturday at Watkins Glen to offer a midseason update on the IRL and, of course, to offer their answers to some of the questions inevitably arising from last this week’s news that Tony George is stepping down from his posts as president of the League and of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Jeffrey Belskus has assumed the role of president and CEO of IMS.
The message consistently offered up by Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL’s commercial division, Brian Barnhart, president of the IRL’s competition and operations, and Charlie Morgan, president of IMS Productions, is that very little has changed, be it day-to-day operations or in terms of more long-term issues. They emphasized that George had distanced himself from the operations of the League a couple of years ago, when he appointed Angstadt and Barnhart as presidents of their divisions and, as a practical matter, the changes at the IRL and IMS will have little impact on the management side.
“Jeff Belskus is technically not the CEO (of the league) but we report to the board through Jeff,” said Angstadt. “Jeff is who we submitted our budgets to before and that will continue to be the case. As far as Tony goes, he is still on the board of directors, he still has an ownership position in the business and he owns a race team.
“For us, not much changes. If the results are not positive, they (the board) should make changes. But the board has indicated to us their confidence level in us is high. Tony is still on the board, we report to the board and the whole (Hulman George) family is dedicated to the IRL.”
As far as results go, according to Angstadt, the IRL is on the way to meeting the sponsorship and financial goals set out for it.
“We have taken on the challenge of making this a viable and sustainable entity on its own and we’re well on our way to achieving that,” he said