Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George has denied rumours that he has been removed from power at the Brickyard, following rumours citing the end of his reign.
Contradicting reports of his dismissal, a statement issued by George revealed that his summons to an IMS board meeting on Tuesday had been to discuss means of improving the image of the Indy Racing League, and ways in which he could concentrate his energies in that direction.
“Contrary to published reports, I continue to serve as CEO of IMS," he wrote, "Our board of directors met yesterday, and we did discuss how to best confront challenges and exploit opportunities facing our businesses. This is nothing new and is something that we continually do as a board. But no changes in leadership or responsibility have been made.
"We don't normally comment on board deliberations concerning our family business. However, the widespread, inaccurate reports and rumours caused my mother and me to conclude that it was necessary to set the record straight. If changes are made in the management of the company that are newsworthy, we will announce them when they are made.
"I am still CEO and still president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, Hulman and Company, and CEO of the Indy Racing League."
Chairman of the board, and George's mother, Mari Hulman George, was also quoted by the statement confirming that the unified IndyCar Series now represented an opportunity for the future that needed to be harnessed.
"There was a general discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing all of our companies and where most of our energies need to be spent," she wrote, "All of our properties are doing well, given the challenges of the current economy, [but] the Indy Racing League represents our greatest growth opportunity and therefore deserves the most attention at this point."
According to the Indianapolis Star
newspaper, Hulman George also confirmed that there had been no move to remove her son from the roles he has held since 1990.
"There haven't been any changes," she insisted, "We just discussed things like we usually do and how to make things better."
George himself has admitted that the entire empire takes a lot of time and money to keep in shape, but agrees that the the IndyCar Series, particularly now that it has secured the position of premier open-wheel series in the US, needs nurturing.
claims that, 'between paying purses, supplying cars, engines and parts for other teams, hiring high-powered public relations firms and starting his own IRL team' - plus remaking Indianapolis Motor Speedway to accomodate Formula One - George has spent more than $600m during the past 13 years.
"Certainly, the Indy Racing League has, in the past, required a lot of capital to keep it going when there were two competing series, and a lot of money was spent last year trying to unify. We got that done and everybody's hoping to catch a tailwind, but the economy's in our face. We're just dealing with that.”
The 2009 IndyCar Series continues this weekend at the Milwaukee Mile, one week on from the Indianapolis 500.