Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Breaking News: Robin Miller At SPEED Says Tony George Is Out At IMS (Updated Continually)


SPEEDtv.com reported it and almost immediately ESPN.com got Tony George to deny it. Then, Sports Illustrated confirmed it again and George went on-camera to deny it again. The battle for motorsports credibility is underway as this story continues to unfold.

Click here for Miller's original story about George being removed as the Indy Speedway CEO for spending too much money. His family was actually at the center of this issue.

Already the talk is about who would replace him and what kind of person the facility really needs to get the positive feelings back for this great speedway. One name already being tossed around is Humpy Wheeler.

His connections run deep to all kinds of racing series. He was a great promoter for Bruton Smith for decades and still has plenty of ideas about how to make motorsports better for the fans. George just suffered through a lackluster Indy 500 after losing the Formula-1 race and continuing to have a tire debacle with NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series.

We will keep an eye on how this story unfolds in the media today. It certainly should be an item for host Nicole Manske on NASCAR Now at 6:30PM. Manske was just at the Indy 500, as her fiance Ryan Briscoe is a driver in the IRL Series.

More stories:
George and family deny report: USA Today
Tony George is out at IMS: AOL FanHouse
Tony George out and announcement Wednesday of new CEO: Bruce Martin at SI.com
George denies ouster with video attached: WISH-TV Indy

Updated - Here is the new press release from IMS about the issue:

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.”


So, maybe Robin Miller and Bruce Martin have some explaining to do. Click here for a live link to WNDE-AM in Indy. Live talk on this issue right now and Robin Miller supposed to be on around 4PM.

We welcome your comments as this story unfolds. The Brickyard 400 is one of the biggest NASCAR races. It starts the ESPN/ABC coverage and is the final stretch to the Chase for the Championship.

To add your opinion on this topic, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for stopping by TDP.

47 comments:

Dan said...

The Indy Star/AP/local TV stations are reporting that this has been denied by both George himself as well as Mari Hulman George.

Sophia said...

I hope this is true but not sure about other official sites claiming it's not true.

I want to believe Robin Miller, since he has such a passion for the sport...maybe he's been wrong before but this is pretty big. He knew of the reunification long before others did in the media.

Spending money like a drunken sailor to the point of honking off his own family, NOT GOOD.

Stay tuned, eh?

Anonymous said...

Just remember....TG sisters have not been happy for a long time about his spending.

TG has said the annual meeting was in the morning..RM & SI both said the meeting to vote him out was yesterday evening.

Should be a lot of fun in the Circle City this evening!

kbaskins said...

As a former fan of CART, I view this as a karmic balancing of the scales for Tony George. I'll never forgive him for the spiteful way he broke up the best North American open-wheel series of its time. Sure, CART wasn't perfect, but the years of in-fighting and decline can be laid directly at Tony George's feet.

BTW, I though Robin Miller's article gave an excellent overview of George's place in the annals of racing.

--KarenB

Daly Planet Editor said...

Bruce Martin at SI says they will make it official soon.

Anon 3:05 said...

JD...WNDE 1260 has read the IMS statment....he is NOT out..but they are reviewing ALL operations.

R Miller is going on the air @ 4.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks, just added the IMS press release to the main page.

Where is Robin going to be on the air and is there a link?

JD

Sophia said...

Anon 305

Robbin Miller going on air WHERE?? WNDE? is there an online source..is this in INDY?

Anon 3:05 said...

http://www.wnde.com/main.html

Click on Listen Live...good luck

Sophia said...

THANKS ANON! Got it before you posted :) THANK you so much for posting on this blog.

I WANNA hear Robin!! :-)

Sophia said...

LOTS of commercials..MERCY

Sophia said...

Now they are saving Robin won't be on until 5.10??WTHeck?

Anon 3:05 said...

Robin has been pushed back till 5.

He will be in studio.

AND I HAVE A SOCCER GAME WITH MY KIDS.....AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh well...the my family is a little more important than the Hullman family feud.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Robin Miller now at 5:10 Indy time live on WNDE and taking calls.

Player link on the main page.

JD

Photojosh said...

I'd love to see Humpy at Indy. But I somehow doubt it will happen. Why would they make the kind of change that might improve things? It's much more fun to stand around watching indy spiral into the drain with disaster after disaster.

Sophia said...

Anon

Thanks for posting this when you have soccer! MUGGY out. AAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh.

I want a podcast of this show from yesterday when Robin went nuts...anybody know if there is one available?

Gymmie said...

This keeps getting more and more interesting. hmmmmmmmm...I know in NA$CAR it seems the more something is denied the more it turns out to be true.

I still laugh at Rusty swearing up and down that Mr. Penske Sir wasn't changing to Dodges and guess who was front and center a few weeks later at the press conference announcing the change.

glenc1 said...

Seems to me over the years Robin's right more often than he's wrong...he seems to have ears everywhere...and yes, I think it is karma...

Sounds like maybe they're trying to find a way to say it 'differently' than what it is.

Daly Planet Editor said...

You have NASCAR looking at the COT unable to run at Indy just like the F-1 guys. 2 of the biggest series in the world and they can't even race at IMS the way it is right now.

Dan said...

Assuming that Robin is correct (and I have my doubts), I just don't see Humpy being a good fit at IMS. That place, along with Indiana as a whole, is incredibly tradition-bound and resistant to change. Someone like Humpy who is willing to implement just about any crazy idea that comes down the pike would not be received well. The locals would be beside themselves over any but the most minor changes to "their" traditions.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Dan, Humpy was at the Indy 500 and the buzz is he has some ideas and wants to be involved.

Anonymous said...

Get ready to get dizzy from the Robin Miller "Spin"!!!

Anonymous said...

Well he got his name out there(Miller) and made a splash. Seems this is the goal of reporters today..heck with the truth and fact checking or comments from those involved!!

Sophia said...

This radio staiont is hiccuping really bad...stuttering repeating..anybod else notice this..happenign more and more...darn

hope it gets fixed before Robin is on

glenc1 said...

JD, you make a good point about F1 & NASCAR, especially since he recently said he would not make any changes there. That's a lot of potential revenue.


He's not always right, but I don't think Robin cares that much about making a name for himself. Just a crusty old reporter who cares about the sport. Anyone hear his answer about the lucky dog on Wind Tunnel? Priceless.

Sophia said...

Dang..technical issues..Robin is NOW in studio...hope the stuttering stops..major streaming issues...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Robin Miller now live on WNDE-AM. Player link on the main page.

Anon 3:05 said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Just out of the car...trying to feed 2 boys 7 & 5...WNDE is good about podcasting items on the web site (usually 12-24 hours later).

Oh well...hope my boys have a great kick in the grass tonight at our game..coaching 10 7 year old boys is a hoot!

Dot said...

Why couldn't this same happen to Brian France?

Is Tony George the third in line who took over Indy?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Nice interview with Miller. Basically, he said the IMS press release agrees with his story.

George is out of the IMS day-to-day and will focus on building the IRL brand while running his own race team.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, from everything I have read - US and UK sources - the problem with F1 at Indy was that Bernie E wanted too much more than Tony G was willing to pay. From all I have read, the F1 problem is Bernie, not Tony G. My understanding is that all the new asian races have massive government support, and, of course, the Canadian GP is gone also. The UK and Australian F1 races are also having problems about money with Bernie.

Robin may talk a lot, but he seems to be right most of the time when he reports something big.

It seems to me that the status of the tires at Indy for the NASCAR race is yet another story the media has dropped. I have never seen a thorough explanation for the 2008 problem at Indy and I find it hard to believe the problem can be solved if the 2008 problem cannot be explained.

Sophia said...

I am LOVING this interview but one computer would not play it for some reason in FFox so had to use IntExplorer.

I wanna find yesterdays podcast where Robin flipped out on Barnhardt and maybe Chitwood :-0

Dan said...

JD - Humpy may have ideas and wish to be involved, but my point is that change typically comes slowly in these parts. I'm just not sure how well a massive overhall of the 500 Mile Race would be received. The fact that several aspects of the event desperately need an overhall doesn't matter, to a lot of people, it's tradition and you just don't mess with tradition. I may be dead wrong here, but I don't see the Hulman/George family allowing anything but incremental changes to the way the track is run or the way the 500 is run. The stage is big enough for Humpy, but can he live with the restrains put on him by the conservative track ownership?

fbu1 said...

IMHO, IMS would benefit from a consulting relationship with Humpy Wheeler. He understands the synergy between the fans and the racing industry. He creates an "us" environment where people can work together. (Unless, of course, you are Mr Smith.)

As arrogant and aloof as we sometimes perceive young Mr France to be, he is much preferable to Tony George, if for no other reason than the strong NASCAR infrastructure. Tony George participated in the destruction of the open wheel racing infrastructure.

Newracefan said...

Ok Hell has officially frozen over, Robin Miller just showed up on Nascar Now on ESPN, standing by his story in a Got Speed? T shirt.

glenc1 said...

Richard, I had the same impression on the tires. Last I read they still hadn't decided on what to bring but they weren't satisfied with what they tested. Makes me kinda nervous, not to mention how the drivers/teams are going to feel.

Evernham had a long explanation of what *he* thought happened (the different weight shift of the cars), but I don't recall any official story.

I think Humpy in a 'consultant' role is a great idea. He'd probably throw a lot of ideas out, and maybe some would work for the Hulmans.

glenc1 said...

nrf...I'd almost forgotten...I laughed my butt off when I saw that shirt!

Dot said...

Robin Miller always seems to have the correct info. I cannot recall him ever being incorrect.

Sophia said...

Rats! still listening to Robin on radio until 15 minutes ago (ran past 7pm) I am listening to his ranting from yesterdays' podcast..re: Barnhart. HA!!

Missed him on ESPN darn it.

Robin just cracks me UP!!Dot he was wrong about Tony Kanaan changing teams last year but apparently Tony had changed teams but then changed his mind...so it can happen.

But Robin would NEVER write a story of this magnitude without impeccable sources!!

He's answered any email I sent to him either on his column or PRIVATELY (three times!) even if it takes DAYS for him to respond. Course I cracked him up in my emails recently and then I sent condolences in another. And amidst all that ANSWERS little ol' me..so you know he answers EVERYBODY...just takes a while. He is da bomb in my book!!

Most writers think they are too good to do that...course they don't have to answer everything but you know Miller gets 1000's of emails.
I appreciate his hard work and passion for Open Wheel.

Gymmie said...

@nrf--that must have been HILARIOUS! seeing him with his Got Speed? Shirt :) Robin's a hot mess!

@Sophia--thanks for posting it's up listening now :)

Sophia said...

Gymmie, 5/27 podcast is up

but LISTEN to the 5/26 podcast..it's about 21 minutes. Robin is off da chain! LMAO. The longer he spoke the madder he got but I so get his passion.

Some people don't...I laughed and smiled listening to his getting all fired up...about the micromanaging behind the scenes at the track.

Makes me feel better about ol' NASCAR's Powers That Be!! :-)

Robin may be seen as the angry pontificator but his heart is in the right place and he knows the direction IRL so desperately needs to go.

Thanks for the column JD. So great to talk about IRL and Miller and NOT have it be off topic.

I don't see NN listed for repeats either. Heck I never dreamed Robin would be on there or I would've taped the show.

Anon 3:05 said...

Dot...do you realize on the TK story...that Robin was receiving his info from TK's camp...and truly helped TK profit!

Got to listen to about 15 minutes..classic Miller.

The most important thing...we won both of our soccer games!

JD-great job today!

Gymmie said...

Thanks Sophia! Yes I listened to the 5/26 one first and he had me rolling! He's so spot on! He's a great guy and I love him!

Vicky D said...

Tony George sure looks a lot better in JD's picture then he did on tv today. I think Robin has many sources and he's usually correct. We're staying tuned for updates.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up about Robin Miller's appearance on the Wednesday edition of NASCAR Now.

Thanks,

JD

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