It's the end of an era for open-wheel racing in America as Indy chief Tony George has stepped down from his post. The long-time president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, George was widely seen as the impetus for the 1996 split in Indy racing that created the Indy Racing League (IRL) and the rival Champ Car series (formerly known as CART), but he was also instrumental in fostering the merger of the two championships into the new IndyCar Series over which he's presided.

During his nearly two-decade tenure as the head of the famous race track, George also brought NASCAR, Formula One and MotoGP to the speedway for the first time, vastly expanding the calendar of events at the iconic venue. However, elements within the Hulman-George company that controls the business were concerned with the amount of resources their chief executive put into the reintegrated IndyCar Series and recently asked him to reorganize the company, but Tony evidently decided to step down instead. He'll be focusing his energies on the Vision Racing team which he fields in the series, while the job he vacates will be split into two: CFO Jeffrey G Belskus will take the reins at the speedway, while chief legal counsel W Curtis Brighton will oversee the operation of the series.

[Source: Autosport | Image: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty]