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Indy's Tony George resigns as Brickyard boss, to concentrate on the IRL

Tony George: the man who brought NASCAR to Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo: IRL)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Just three weeks after strong denials of any management shakeup at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the track owners reversed themselves and Tuesday night confirmed those dramatic changes – that Tony George, who has been running both the Brickyard and the Indy Racing League, will in fact no longer run the legendary track but will focus on the IRL.
   The Indy board of directors finally confirmed that shakeup Tuesday, after denying media reports earlier in June.
   The new men running the track will be Curtis Brighton and Jeffrey Belskus, effective immediately. The board said the two "will replace Tony George, who will no longer serve as president and chief executive officer." George will remain with the company.
   In a statement Mari Hulman George, who is chairman of the board of the family-owned company and who is George's mother, said "Our board had asked Tony to structure our executive staff to create efficiencies in our business structure and to concentrate his leadership efforts in the Indy Racing League."
   Tony George, 49, has been running Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1990, and he was the man who brought NASCAR to the track in 1994, with the summer Brickyard 400, which has become one of the most prestigious races on the stock car tour.
   George also created the IRL, to wrestle control of Indy-car racing away from team owners. However the IRL has struggled to catch fire, even with the recent reunification of the long-split Indy-car world. The IRL has been partly sponsored through Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the expenses involved in running the IRL were apparently a factor in the shakeup.

Tony George refused to

Tony George refused to continue as CEO of the IRL, per Indy Star and other sources.Belskus will act as CEO for the League. Personnel formerly reporting to George will report to Belskus. No further IRL personnel changes are anticipated in immediate future. That a financial person is appointed racing CEO is widely regarded as most significant.

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