Tony George's resignation as chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League this week came as a surprise to his boss.
George's mother, Mari Hulman George, the chairman of the board for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp., said Wednesday she still can't explain why Tony George vacated the position after being replaced as president and chief executive officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. and Hulman & Co.
"I was surprised, and I'm still surprised," George said in a telephone interview from her home in Terre Haute. "I don't really understand. I'm disappointed that he didn't want to continue."
Tony George declined to comment until he posts a statement next week on Vision Racing's Web site. He co-owns the IndyCar Series team with his wife, Laura.
Tony George, who retains a board seat at IMS Corp., is expected to negotiate a contract with the board to serve as a consultant to the IRL and perhaps the Speedway. Both subsidiaries will report to his successor at IMS Corp., Jeff Belskus.
Mari Hulman George said her son didn't want to be an intermediary between IRL presidents Brian Barnhart (competition) and Terry Angstadt (commercial) and Belskus. Tony George hired them.
"He's got a lot of confidence in who he's got, and he just felt he didn't want to get in their way," she said. "It really wouldn't be like that. There are other things to do."
George, 74, said she did not consider retiring as board chairman.
"I said I really didn't think it was the time to do that," she said, adding, "that I really am getting up to where I wouldn't mind."
George also said Belskus and Curt Brighton, who was named the president and CEO of Hulman & Co., which controls the family's real estate, banking and investment properties, were "kind of surprised" to learn of their new roles. She described the family power struggle that led to Tony George's resignation as "not that unusual."
But she acknowledged there is no certainty for the company as it moves forward.
"We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope everything goes well," she said. "I don't know what's going to happen next." Indy Star
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