Angry Gore lashes out at IRL management
Surfers Paradise is the second biggest Indy event after the Indianapolis 500 itself, but Indy Racing League management has failed to realize it, says Indy team owner Craig Gore.
In an unusual broadside at some of the IRL management team yesterday, in which he threatened to axe his team if the Gold Coast race was dumped, Mr. Gore said while IRL supremo Tony George probably recognized the scale and importance of the race in the Indy schedule, his 'lower management' just didn't get it.
"I think Tony George's management has a huge influence over his decision-making process and in business you employ people to give you advice so you can understand the path forward," said Mr. Gore. "I just don't think he has the best people advising him."
In what seemed a dim take on the IRL negotiating team, Mr. Gore said although Mr. George would have a better understanding of the significance of Indy here by Sunday evening, his management probably would not.
Mr. Gore said the Surfers race was 'far and away' the second most important race on the calendar and must be retained at all costs.
"I just hope that Tony George and the rest of his boys of the IRL see sense and recognize that this is probably like throwing away the Indy 500," said Mr. Gore.
"It is far and away their second biggest race. They ... probably need to hand out corn cobs at some of the races to get people to some of them. This (Surfers) is an already made up and set up race for them."
Mr. Gore made a shock appearance yesterday at Indy, dragging himself out of a British hospital bed to come home to cheer on his team.
He was secretly taken into the Indy precinct on a rubber ducky and greeted with open arms by Team Australia officials.
Mr. Gore was expected to miss the race after undergoing emergency bowel surgery in a London hospital earlier this month, but said he was determined not to miss Indy for the second year running. Last year he had to watch the race from his lounge after suffering an inner ear injury on a helicopter flight.
The local developer and business identity repeated his previous warnings that he would end his association with IndyCars if the Surfers race were to go.
"I can tell you now if there's no IRL on the Gold Coast, there's no Team Australia," he said. "I have invested $20 million into this event and this team and flying the Australian flag, and made a significant contribution to the state and the country. Hopefully we can win it this year so if I do have to walk away, I can say we that have achieved what we set out to do."
Mr. Gore said he understood Mr. George had many things to consider in his decision, such as issues of TV rights, but he should make the decision alone.
"Tony George needs to make a decision and needs to make that decision without the influence of his lower management. He needs to decide based on the merits of the event," he said.
Meanwhile, Premier Anna Bligh said yesterday the Government was unlikely to back a stand-alone V8 event on the Coast if the IRL did pull out.
"We certainly see the V8s as an ongoing variable part of it but we said from the outset that we think the success of this racing festival is the combination of open-wheelers and V8s," said Ms Bligh from the track. Goldcoast.com