INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY CORPORATION (Maintaining the Greatest Race Course in the World)
INDY RACING LEAGUE ANNOUNCED FOR 1996: BOARD OF GOVERNORS NAMED, STRUCTURE REVEALED
INDIANAPOLIS, July 8, 1994 -- The board of governors and organizational structure for a new auto racing series to run in concert with the Indianapolis 500 beginning in 1996 was announced today by Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George. Named the Indy Racing League, the new series will be based in Indianapolis and will feature the world's most prestigious auto race, the Indianapolis 500, as its cornerstone event.
The Indy Racing League's structure will consist of a Board of Governors and a Commissioner. The Commissioner will have the authority and responsibility to manage a safe, competitive and financially sound series for the participants and sponsors with emphasis on the entertainment value for the race fans.
The Indy Racing League's five member Board of Governors consists of Anton H. (Tony) George (President and CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation), Richard King (President and CEO of the United States Auto Club), John R. Cooper (vice president and director of International Speedway Corporation), Daniel A. Cotter (President and CEO of Cotter and Company), and Donald F. Smith (President and CEO of First Financial and Terre Haute First National Bank).
The Board of Governors will name a Commissioner for the new league at later date.
Regarding its organizational structure, the Indy Racing League will contract with individual tracks for event promotion; with the United States Auto Club (USAC) for series sanctioning; and with IMS Properties for series marketing and television management. Jerry Hauer, recently named IMS Director of New Series Development, will begin the process of managing and coordinating this effort.
The new series structure announcement comes more than two and a half years after Tony George began attempts to negotiate a compromise organizational structure with the Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (CART) organization of race car owners. The original Speedway proposal submitted in Houston in November of 1991 was rejected, and the recent trial period (July 1992 - Jan. 1994) with George as a non-voting CART board member failed to move IMS and CART closer together.
Chassis and engines specifications for all 1996 series events are being studied at the present time and will be announced at a later date. While the race fans will see no noticeable change in the appearance of the race cars, long range cost containment and constant improvement of safety are top priorities.
On behalf of the Board of Governors, George said, "This effort is in response to the numerous pleas from the various groups within our sport to offer an alternative structure to a car owner controlled governing body for the series. We are confident that the Indy Racing League and this structure will provide the necessary communication among all parties to create a proper decision-making process enabling the series to maximize its potential."
"The unification of the series and the Indianapolis 500 not only maximizes the marketing potential of the series, but also provides the needed long term rules stability for both the Indianapolis 500 and the series events allowing manufacturers and sponsors to invest substantially in the sport," added George.
George noted that several tracks have signed letters of intent to become charter members of the 1996 series, and several more are expected in upcoming weeks. "We are more concerned about he quality of the race promoters for 1996 than we are in quantity," said George. He noted that while the new league is interested in the majority of its events being held on oval tracks, road course will be on the 1996 schedule.
One significant benefit to both the series promoters and participants is that the participants in the series event will be rewarded both financially and with performance incentives. Such incentives will include the guarantee of a designated number of the best starting positions for each league race, including the Indianapolis 500, to points leaders of the IRL series events.
The new Indy Racing League events, along with the events which CART has announced for it series in 1996, could result in a net increase of races, and the 1996 rules are expected to attract more engine manufacturers to the sport.
"The Indy Racing League offers a new series management structure and philosophy which we at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway believe in very strongly," George said. "We are pleased to include the 1996 Indianapolis 500 exclusively in this new series."