Highlights of Belskus and Chitwood press conference
Outgoing Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Joie Chitwood confirmed Tuesday that a sports car race could be in the track's future. (See full transcript on our home page)
The subject of another race on the road course was one of several topics discussed as Jeff Belskus was formally introduced as the president and chief executive officer of the Speedway and IMS Corp.
"Nothing substantial (being planned), but I've had many people write me letters saying they'd like to see a 24-hour race or a 48-hour race," Chitwood said. "(The road course) is such a great part of our property and we use it once a year with MotoGP. Is there a way to use it more?"
Chitwood might be able to help facilitate another IMS event in his new role as vice president of business operations for International Speedway Corp., the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based organization that owns the Grand Am Series.
Chitwood said staging an IndyCar Series race on the Speedway's road course has never been discussed by senior officials.
"Their place is in May," he said.
Also discussed Tuesday:
» This week's stock car race.
Chitwood, who steps down Aug. 6, expects NASCAR's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard to be held without the widespread tire failures that spoiled last year's race. "I think I still hear NASCAR cars testing; they tested so many times this year. With a green racetrack, they went out and ran 26 to 30 laps on a set of tires, so we feel very comfortable that they put the right effort into (fixing) the tire situation," he said.
» The future of MotoGP.
"We're in the second year of a three-year deal, and we need to see how this year goes," Belskus said. "The first year we had all sorts of weather issues that I don't think allowed that event to show its true color. Hopefully this year we'll have better weather and it's a great event."
» The return of Formula One.
"I guess I hadn't thought about F-1 in a while," Chitwood said. "I guess once they figure out who's in charge of (the governing body), then Jeff and the team will be willing to talk to them. But at the end of the day, that's a true financial decision."
» On replacing Chitwood.
"We are not planning an active search," Belskus said. "We're trying to leave our options open. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
» On pressure to tighten the company's financial strings.
"We all feel pressure to bring results," Belskus said. "Joie's been under pressure to deliver results. We're doing the best we can given the economic situation that we find ourselves in. Actually, we're doing quite well. We feel like we're well-positioned for the future. The future is very bright." Indy Star