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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chitwood latest to leave IMS

Less than a month after Tony George was asked to resign as chief executive of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Joie Chitwood has resigned as president of the organization.

Allstate 400


He says the move is not related to George's situation.

Chitwood remains with the organization until August 6, when he moves to his new position as vice president of business operations for International Speedway Corp.

ISC owns 13 racetracks around the U.S., and also promotes the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

Jeff Belskus, who took over for George on July 1, now takes on Chitwood's duties.

Chitwood joined the Hulman-George organization in 1996. He was instrumental in getting the MotoGP race at IMS.

Chitwood's grandfather competed in seven Indianapolis 500s from 1940 to 1950.

It is difficult to see what effect this may have on F1 returning to the states, but it appears on the surface International Speedway Corp. is focusing on its core races – the Indy 500 and the Brickyard – it's strongest champions for international forays exiting the organization.

While Belskus has yet to reveal his vision for the future, my guess is this will give Bernie Ecclestone the ammunition he needs to explore options elsewhere. With the road course at Indy the only FIA standard track and the only one with the infrastructure in place to support F1, short of a street race, it may be a while before we see a race back in the states.

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