Friday, March 22, 2013

Tony George is Back!?!?

OK, I'll admit, the headline is a bit misleading and was done for the express purpose of getting you here! Now that I have succeeded...read on.

Hot off the wire from AP writer Jenna Fryer is a blurb that Tony George has been reinstated to his position on the Hulman & Co. Board of Directors. My response to that?

Meh.

I know, contrary to what you might think, right? Really, it's not a big deal (for now), and in a minute I will tell you why. But in the six months since I wrote "Tony George Needs To Go Away"  which, by the way, is the most-read post in my site's history, he did indeed go away. Which was more than necessary for IndyCar (and the other empires under the Hulman banner) to move forward. Which they did.

This time, I don't really care. He is now a member of the board again, something that he has been for probably most of his adult life, and is something that he shares with many of his family members. After all, rich families always make sure everyone has something to do, even if they are not qualified to do said thing.

The reason he stepped away last September was to attempt to purchase IndyCar, which, thankfully, was not for sale. Obviously, being added back to the board is a sign that he is no longer interested in doing that, for which we can all breathe a sigh of relief. And besides, he's a Hulman...he doesn't need any official position or any type of power to get something done, if what happened last fall is any indication, he has minions to do it for him. Maybe he didn't set the dominoes in motion himself last summer/fall, but he didn't stop it, either. No one did.

I'm looking at this with an open mind because I feel like IndyCar has moved past a lot of things the last few months. While the series is far from stable, it appears for now that Mark Miles is calling the shots, and the Hulman family is giving him the autonomy to do his job.

While some of what Miles has said and done has been met with some cynicism, especially when he has floated some less-than-popular ideas, the fact of the matter is that -- at least for now -- he has the respect of the family, and most importantly, the paddock. Plus, some of his ideas are also pretty decent, albeit with a bit of tweaking.

Personally, I'm going to give Miles some time to sort all of this stuff out because the man has a track record of getting the job done. Running professional tennis for 15 years and leading Indianapolis' Super Bowl effort last year takes someone who knows what they are doing.

Maybe he is an Indy insider, that much is true. But pro tennis is a global sport and so he knows what it is like to think beyond 16th and Georgetown. How that flies with the family remains to be seen, but if he takes the baton he was given after Randy Bernard's ouster and runs with it, he will be fine.

Besides, we'll know when Tony George is really "back", and that's when crap storms start flying around the paddock. Rumors circle around him like the dust cloud around Pigpen (the Peanuts character for my younger readers). For now, let's just look as this as a mere formality and get back to the business of getting the 2013 season rolling.

Before I go, there is one rant about this situation that I want to air...why now? Yes, they had a shareholder's meeting today, in St. Pete (who's decision was that, anyway?) and that is when everything went down, but couldn't someone have held onto this until Monday? Where do the Hulman's get their PR people?

When you are dealing with a skittish fanbase that has trust issues, why on God's green earth do you decide to make an announcement like this on the eve of the start of the season? It's this kind of random decision making that just makes everyone shake their heads.

So many good things came out of today, there is no explanation to this kind of announcement. None. Are they really so insulated that they think they could drop a bomb like this and no one would notice?

Let's just hope that the drivers and teams put on a great show this weekend, and this story dies in a hurry. Usually if we ignore something it goes away.

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