Tony George Wants To Buy The IndyCar Series*aWV8ZP9je2tPNbvJ-Kyvu1MlzfIAM8GBZPdfwcHfaUVJsT0YvvohtGrv2N9mPdzibWJfXROuafY9ZVpQB80*9PhBg8HeYZ/Tonyg.jpg

(Tony George at the IMS pogoda)

The cat is out of the bag.  Robin Miller, who writes for the Indianapolis Star and is a contributor on Dave Depain’s TV program Wind Tunnel, has reported that Tony George has submitted a bid to purchase the Indy Racing League/IndyCar Series.  The IndyCar Series is presently owned by Hulman and Company, of which Tony George was formally the CEO.  Hulman and Company are also the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and many other products including “Clabber Girl” baking powder.  For those who may not be aware, Tony George is the grandson of  the late Tony Hulman who bought IMS from Eddie Rickenbacker after WWII.

For those of you who do not remember the “hair-brained” idea that Mr. George came up with beginning in 1996, let me refresh your memory.  George announced in 1994 that beginning in 1996 he was going to start the Indy Racing League.  The premise for this new sanctioning body was “to keep the cost lower for the car owners” by having one type of chassis and two engines.  The engine selection was either an Oldsmobile Aurora or a Acura Infinity, both had a tendency to “grenade”!

George’s plan was for the IRL to race solely on ovals.  He also develped the 28-5 plan for the 1996 Indy 500.  That plan established 28 slots at the 1996 Indy 500 for his IRL competitors, and 8 slots for the non-IRL competitors. 

That idea went over like a turd in a punch bowl!

With that grenade thrown by Tony George, the division in US open wheel racing began a long and downward spiral that was to last for more than a decade.  The end results was CART, the sanctioning body for open wheel racing, filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and merged with the IndyCar Series, additionally, as a direct results of this ill conceived idea, the attendance has been down at most all open wheel racing venues over the past 16 years!

However, the scuttle butt is that the IRL board is not entertaining the idea of selling the IRL to Tony George.  Their idea is to let the new team of directors try to iron out the IndyCar Series deficiencies, and try to promote the sport back to a healthy status.  After all, Tony George had 15 years in control and really couldn’t make it work prosperously, so why would they want to return him to the throne of control?

What is your view on Tony George trying to purchase the IndyCar Series?


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