In the 20 years since he took control of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tony George has taken what was considered the most important race in the world and made it arguably the fourth most important race of the day.
Under his tenure, George split American open wheel racing with his creation of the Indy Racing League, introduced NASCAR to Indy’s famous Brickyard, and built a road course so Formula One could race for a few years.
While doing this he spent money. Lots of Money!
Numbers are hard to come by, but it is estimated that George has spent more than $600 million during the past 13 years.
Nobody knows the exact costs, but it is common knowledge that he has supplied cars, engines, and parts for other teams including the transition teams from the over-hyped reunification.
He also spent millions on many abortive marketing campaigns. Remember the great Gene Simmons “I am Indy” campaign and song?
Well the spending spree is over. Reports out of Indy have confirmed that George will no longer be CEO of the Speedway after a vote of the IMS board of directors which includes mother Mari, sisters Josie, Nancy, and Kathy, attorney Jack Snyder, and George.
Unconfirmed reports have the family members tired of bleeding money. No doubt the 3.9 rating, lowest ever since they started broadcasting the race live in 1986 garnered by last weekend’s Indy 500 was the last straw.