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Posted: Fri May 29, 2009 11:18 am
Indianapolis Motor Speedway statement 2009-05-27
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY STATEMENT
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
At a regular meeting of the board of directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 26, board members asked Tony George, chief executive officer of the IMS companies, to devise a plan for management of Hulman & Company, the Indy Racing League, Clabber Girl and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that would allow him to focus on the business which requires the greatest attention. This plan is to be presented to the board at a meeting later this year.
IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George said: "There was a general discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing all of our companies and where most of our energies need to be spent. All of our properties are doing well, given the challenges of the current economy. The Indy Racing League represents our greatest growth opportunity and therefore deserves the most attention at this point."
Tony George said: "Contrary to published reports, I continue to serve as CEO of IMS. Our board of directors met yesterday, and we did discuss how to best confront challenges and exploit opportunities facing our businesses. This is nothing new and is something that we continually do as a board. But no changes in leadership or responsibility have been made. We don't normally comment on board deliberations concerning our family business. However, the widespread, inaccurate reports and rumors caused my mother and me to conclude that it was necessary to set the record straight. If changes are made in the management of the company that are newsworthy, we will announce them when they are made."
Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:25 pm
Indy 500 driver Christie dies
INDIANAPOLIS 500 VETERAN CHRISTIE DIES AT 85
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, June 3, 2009 -- Eight-time Indianapolis 500 starter Bob "Caveman" Christie, whose rather fearsome nickname belied one of the nicest and most mild-mannered gentlemen ever to pull on a racing helmet, died Monday, June 1. Christie, who turned 85 on April 4, had been in ill health for some time.
The steadily running and dependable driver from Grants Pass, Ore., who made at least one departure from the qualifying line at Indianapolis every year from 1954 through to 1967, earned a starting position for the eight consecutive "500s" from 1956-63. He finished 10th in 1960, and 13th in three other years, losing out on a potential eighth-place finish in 1958 when taken out by another driver with only 11 laps to go.
The third-ranking AAA Stock Car driver of 1953, Christie made 14 starts in USAC National Championship competition, by far his best performance coming in the blindingly fast 100-mile race at the then-brand new Daytona International Raceway on April 4, 1959. Christie, who was celebrating his 35th birthday that day, finished an impressive third behind Jim Rathmann and Rodger Ward. Rathmann won in slightly more than 35 minutes at the extraordinary average speed of 170.261 mph.
Much of Christie's racing came in AAA and USAC stock cars, in which he placed within the top 10 in point standings three times, holding off the highly rated Marshall Teague to win a grueling 300-lap marathon in 1954 at the soon-to-close Carrell Speedway in Los Angeles. He also placed second in four others, including a 150-miler in 1953 at Milwaukee (shortly before the track was paved) and the 250-miler in September 1956 at Milwaukee (behind Jimmy Bryan).
While never quite a front-runner at Indianapolis, he absolutely loved the place, and one would be hard-pressed to find a more passionate spokesman and booster. Long after he had retired, he would spend much of the month of May at the track, holding court and telling stories. He was an excellent speaker and for many years would graciously escort special guests through the Speedway's garage area.
Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 9:32 am
EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT CHANGES ANNOUNCED AT HULMAN & COMPANY, INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, June 30, 2009 -- The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced June 30 that a new management team comprised of veteran IMS executives W. Curtis Brighton and Jeffrey G. Belskus will head the Hulman-George companies effective July 1.
Brighton, currently executive vice president and chief legal counsel, will become president and CEO of Hulman & Company. Belskus, currently executive vice president and chief financial officer for the companies, will become president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation.
They will replace Tony George, who will no longer serve as president and chief executive officer of the Hulman-George companies but will remain a board member of the Hulman-George companies.
"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," said Mari Hulman George, IMS chairman of the board. "He has decided that with the recent unification of open-wheel racing and the experienced management team IMS has cultivated over the years, now would be the time for him to concentrate on his team ownership of Vision Racing with his family and other personal business interests he and his family share.
"Tony will remain on the Board of Directors of all of our companies, and he will continue to work with the entire board to advance the interests of all of companies.
"Our family and the entire racing community are grateful to Tony for the leadership and direction he has provided since 1990. We are pleased that he will continue to be an important part of the Indy Racing League as a team owner and as a member of our Board of Directors, and we wish him every success."
Mrs. George underscored the confidence in the leadership of Belskus and Brighton, who both were originally hired by Tony George.
"Jeff and Curt have both been with the company for many years in positions of top leadership," Mrs. George said. "Tony, as well as the entire Board of Directors, has the utmost confidence in their capabilities.
"Both of these men have years of experience and leadership within our companies. In addition, each of our companies has effective presidential leadership, and that will remain in place."
Joie Chitwood is president and chief operating officer (COO) of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC. Terry Angstadt is president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League. Brian Barnhart is president of the competition division of the Indy Racing League. Charlie Morgan is president and COO of IMS Productions. Gary Morris is president and COO of Clabber Girl.
"These changes underscore our family's commitment going forward to all of our companies, especially our commitment to the growth of the Indy Racing League and the sport of open-wheel racing," Mrs. George said. "We believe the Hulman-George family's long stewardship of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, beginning in 1945, and our significant investment in the Speedway and in the IRL demonstrates that we have full confidence in all of our companies and that we intend to grow them in the future."
Jeffrey G. Belskus -- President and CEO, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation
In his role with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jeff Belskus has had primary leadership responsibility for the financial operation of Hulman & Company in Terre Haute and its subsidiaries, including IMS and the Indy Racing League.
Terre Haute native Belskus joined the company in 1987 and was elevated to treasurer in 1989. Already functioning as the company's chief financial officer, he was promoted to vice president in 1991 and named the company's executive vice president in January 1994.
Belskus graduated with honors in 1981 from Indiana State University, where he received his bachelor's degree in accounting, and earned his CPA designation in the state of Indiana in 1985.
His professional affiliations include the treasurer of the Rose-Hulman's Board of Trustees, American Institute of CPAs and the Indiana CPA Society, and the Indianapolis chapter of the Financial Executives International. Additionally, he serves on the Indiana State University Foundation board, where he is a member of the audit committee. He also serves on the board of directors of the Morris Plan Company of Terre Haute and the Indiana board of The Nature Conservancy.
Belskus and his wife, Debbie, reside in Zionsville, Ind.
W. Curtis Brighton -- President and CEO, Hulman & Company
Curt Brighton joined Hulman & Company in January 1994 as vice president and general counsel. Brighton was promoted in October 2002 to executive vice president and general counsel of Hulman & Company, and serves in a similar capacity for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Clabber Girl Corporation and Indy Racing League, the principal operating businesses in the Hulman family of companies.
Prior to joining Hulman & Company, Brighton practiced law in Terre Haute, Ind. In addition to his duties at Hulman & Company, Brighton is a board member of several business and civic organizations, including First Financial Corporation, First Financial Bank, Indiana State University Foundation, Princeton Mining Company, Templeton Coal Company, Union Hospital and United States Auto Club. His professional affiliations include the Indiana State Bar Association and the Iowa State Bar Association.
Brighton's responsibilities have included coordinating the legal, risk management, human resource, real estate and philanthropic activities for all Hulman-affiliated businesses. He is a 1976 graduate of Indiana State University and a 1981 graduate of Drake University Law School.
Brighton and his wife, Linda, reside in Terre Haute.
Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:16 am
LONGTIME INDIANAPOLIS 500 CAR OWNER BYRD DIES AT 57
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Aug. 21, 2009 -- Jonathan Byrd, co-entrant in 1996 of Arie Luyendyk's all-time Indianapolis 500 record qualifier, passed away Aug. 20 in Greenwood, Ind. He was 57. Byrd, who had been disabled by a stroke since 2004, was a "500" entrant from 1985 until 2001, having aligned himself with a variety of other entrants, including Leader Card, Inc., A.J. Foyt, Ron Hemelgarn, d#$% Simon, Alex Morales, the Machinists Union, Clayton Cunningham, Dennis McCormack and Team Xtreme.
Strongly associated for many years with sponsorship of cars at the Indianapolis Speedrome short track, located on the east side of the city, Byrd even sponsored NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip at one point. He developed a very close friendship and partnership with Rich Vogler, which parlayed into several USAC Midget car titles and numerous wins, eventually taking the pair to the Indianapolis 500.
The charismatic Byrd, with his infectious laugh, never was rewarded with an Indianapolis 500 victory. But he saw several of his drivers land top-10 finishes, including Gordon Johncock (sixth in 1991), Scott Brayton (sixth in '93), Vogler (eighth in '89), Stan Fox (eighth in '91) and John Andretti (10th in '94).
In 1996, Luyendyk's original front-row qualifying run was disallowed when his car failed to meet the minimum weight requirement in a post-qualification technical inspection, but Luyendyk stormed back the following day to obliterate the one- and four-lap qualifying records. This being the final year for turbocharged engines, Luyendyk's marks with the Tim Wardrop-prepared Byrd/Fred Treadway-entered Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria/Bryant Heating and Cooling Reynard/Cosworth were 236.986 mph for the four-lap run and an amazing 237.498 mph for the fastest single lap.
Those records still stand.
Byrd is fondly remembered by the "500" fraternity for the many months of May in which he would set up a huge marquee near the garage area and permit literally hundreds of race personal and media per day the opportunity to experience his magnificent cafeteria food.
While Byrd never won at Indianapolis, John Paul Jr. drove one of his cars to victory in the IndyCar Series race in September 1998 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Byrd was a successful businessman who operated Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises and then opened his Jonathan Byrd's cafeteria and banquet hall in Greenwood, Ind. He also operated several hotels and operated a business trading in rare books, ancient Bibles and theology books. He also was very active in founding and supporting Christian ministries.
Services are pending.