Chitwood III becomes IMS president

Updated: December 10, 2004, 3:33 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Brian Barnhart became president of the Indy Racing League and Joie Chitwood III president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday.

Tony George, whose family owns the track, will remain president and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. and its parent Hulman & Co.

There will be no change of duties for George, Speedway spokesman John Griffin said.

"Tony is very much involved day-to-day and the overall boss of everything," Griffin said of the restructured operation of the IRL and its premier venue.

Barnhart, senior vice president of IRL racing operations the past two years, who previously joined the Speedway staff in 1994 as track superintendent. He became IRL director of racing operations when Leo Mehl retired in 1997, vice president in 2000 and senior vice president two years later.

Earlier, Barnhart worked for the Galles, Penske and Patrick race teams.

"Brian brings experience and a reputation for solid leadership to his expanded role," George said. "Brian's commonsense approach is recognized both inside and outside the company. His loyalty to the Indianapolis 500 and the IRL personally means a great deal to me."

Chitwood, formerly a stunt driver with his family's Thrill Show, was vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway, which is partly owned by IMS. He joined the staff at Indianapolis as senior vice president of business affairs in 2002.

His grandfather, Joie Chitwood, drove in the Indianapolis 500 seven times from 1940 to 1950.

"That, coupled with the experience he gained working with the IRL ... and as vice president and general manager of the Chicagoland Speedway, gives him a well-rounded appreciation for the challenges and opportunities that go along with promoting three world-class events," George said, referring to the Indy 500, NASCAR's Brickyard 400 and Formula One's U.S. Grand Prix.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press