x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Chitwood leaves his Indy role

Joie Chitwood will step down as president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as of August 6.

Joie Chitwood will step down as president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as of August 6, continuing a leadership shakeup at the heart of the IndyCar Series. The century-old speedway, nicknamed the "Brickyard" for the yard of original bricks at the finish line of the famed oval, saw the former chief executive and Indy Racing League founder Tony George leave last month.

Jeff Belskus, who replaced George as president and chief executive of the speedway corporation on July 1, will assume Chitwood's duties. It has not been decided if the job, Chitwood's since 2004, will be filled. "This is a disappointment for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," Belskus said. "Joie provided the leadership you would expect for a facility that hosts the largest sporting events in the world."

Chitwood will become a vice president of business operations for US stock car-oriented International Speedway Corporation in Daytona Beach, Florida. Three weeks ago, George departed the post at the head of the corporation that guides the speedway and the IndyCar series, but said he has been assured there would be no reduction in commitment to the series he founded or its premier event, the Indianapolis 500.

Meanwhile, the winner of this year's Indianapolis 500 race, Helio Castroneves, met the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday to seek support for an Indy Racing League race in the South American nation next year. The Brazilian,Castroneves, who gave Silva the helmet he wore to win his third Indianapolis 500 title, said the president promised that the federal government would do what it can to get the race to Brazil.

* AP