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So where's Tony George, the man who brought NASCAR to Indianapolis...and changed history?

  Tony George, the man who, as Indy boss, invited NASCAR to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and helped launch NASCAR's charge up the American sports ladder (Photo: IMS)

   By Mike Mulhern


   For the first time since then-boss Tony George boldly turned tradition on its head and invited NASCAR to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994, George apparently will be missing Sunday's green flag for the Brickyard 400.
    George, third-generation racer in the family-owned track, is expected to be in Edmonton, Canada, this weekend with his own Indy Racing League team.
    George, never one to speak at length about much, hasn't said much publically about the big family shakeup here, which began a month ago when his family asked him to step down as boss of the Speedway and focus on developing the IRL – the Indy-car league he formed to challenge the CART owners' association then dominating that part of the sport.
   "I was asked to continue as CEO of the Indy Racing League, reporting to a new President and CEO of IMS," George says.
   But he turned that down: "In my view, this would have created an unnecessary bureaucratic layer between the people in the operations of the IRL and the CEO of IMS that had not previously existed.
   "I did not feel that a subordinate position as CEO of the IRL was a management vehicle which would allow me to accomplish the objectives that the family and the board requested me to pursue. I declined that position."
   What all that means – for the Speedway and for the IRL itself, and perhaps for Indy star Danica Patrick -- is unclear, particularly with the surprising decision this week by Joie Chitwood, George's number two here, to leave the Speedway too, to take a job with the France family's International Speedway Corp.

   Jeff Belskus, the new boss at Indianapolis, has a lot on his plate (Photo: IMS)

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