By Jenna Fryer
The Associated Press
NORMAN — IndyCar founder Tony George resigned Friday from the Hulman & Co. board of directors, citing a conflict of interest in his recent attempt to reacquire the series.
“I realize that my recent efforts to explore the possibility of acquiring IndyCar represent the appearance of a conflict, and it is in everyone’s best interest that I resign,” George said in a statement. “It goes without saying that I want to do what is best for this organization.”
IndyCar is owned by the Hulman-George family, which has owned Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1945. The series is governed by the Hulman & Co. board of directors, which is at 10 members after George’s resignation.
Among those still on the board are his mother, Mari Hulman George, and his sisters, Nancy L. George, M. Josephine George and Katherine M. George-Conforti. Hulman & Co., through president and CEO Jeff Belskus, reiterated Friday that IndyCar is not for sale.
George had been rumored for months to be trying to take back control of the series he founded in 1996 and oust current CEO Randy Bernard, and he reportedly submitted a purchase proposal last week.
“Tony George has made the difficult decision to resign from the board because of his involvement with a group that has recently expressed an interest in purchasing the Hulman & Co.-owned IndyCar organization,” Belskus said. “While the business is not for sale and no offers to sell it have been considered or are being considered, we applaud Tony’s efforts to resolve the appearance of a conflict and appreciate the gravity of this decision.”
George was ousted as CEO of IndyCar by his mother and sisters in 2009. He also resigned his spot on the board of directors, but rejoined in 2011. He was president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 1990-2004, and was CEO of IMS from 1990-2009.
Belskus said there is no immediate plan to fill George’s vacancy on the board. George is a co-owner with his stepson, driver Ed Carpenter, of IndyCar team Ed Carpenter Racing.
“Tony has been involved with our businesses for many years and has contributed significantly through his leadership role with IMS and IndyCar and as a member of this board,” Belskus said. “We wish Tony much success in the future.”
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