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#1 Seppi_0_917PA

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 03:33

I'm learning that Tony George's father was a pretty wild character. Below is from Joe Scalzo in his book The American Dirt Track Racer (2001). Anymore stories, stats, or gossip ? How much of Scalzo's story is exaggeration?



Elmer Ray George-nobody now seems to remember who the "Ray" in the family tree was-arguably had the most humble beginnings of any future famous 1951-1971 player. His forebears were refugees of dust howl Oklahoma who relocated to central California and led a ritzy existence in one of the Depression's most miserable squatters' camps. This camp, called Alisol, outside of Salinas in the coastal San Joaquin Valley, was where Elmer got into the itinerant lettuce business-he picked it. Moving up in the chain of command, he later trucked it to market.

But then Elmer found racing and took off on the migrant dirt track highway to Indy. Like Eddie Sachs and others before him, Elmer began campaigning the prime equipment of the Mari Hulman stable-legend has it that Mari came into $14 million when she turned 21 and that she promptly purchased her first sprinter- but unlike the other drivers, Elmer subsequently courted, won, and wed the stable's owner.

You can afford lots of race cars with a budget of $14 million (and a lot more where that came from), so if anyone appeared to have it made, it was Elmer. It would have been nice if he'd possessed the same talents as racing's other speedy Okie, Troy Ruttman, but Elmer did not. His driving was a bit baffling.

Although Elmer had no trepidation whatsoever about going into the belly of the beast on the slant tracks-one season he became their seasonal champion-he could not race well on miles or at his father- in-law's Indianapolis. He was inaccurate. At DuQuoin the day he defeated Parnelli Jones for the first and only time, Elmer goofed up and committed the scandal of bumping into and overturning Don Branson-Don got so angry about it that during the rollovers he prayed he'd live just so he could go ice Elmer afterward. Aggression always counted more than patience. Elmer got so overwrought at his maiden Indy 500 that he disabled two Offy roadsters, one of them his own. This might have been forgivable, except that it occurred while everyone was just trying to get lined up for the pace lap.

Elmer was gullible, too, and trickster Rodger Ward really hung him out to dry at the 1957 Springfield 100. Fireball George Amick was on pole, Elmer was lined up next to him on the outside, and Rodger was behind Elmer on row two. "If that Amick gets loose, we'll never see him," Rodger told Elmer, drawing Elmer into a conspiracy where Elmer was supposed to keep Amick pinned at the start. Rodger stratagems invariably worked and, sure enough, as the field plunged for turn one, Elmer bit on Rodger's bait and plugged up Amick by swerving low. And this broke the top groove wide open with blue skies just when Rodger needed it. Rodger won in a runaway and Elmer was left among the backmarkers.

Elmer had a temper, but sometimes that helped him. During a tense sprint-car Sunday afternoon at Reading, Elmer qualified a poor 11th fastest, angrily dropped out of the opening scratch heat, took a mediocre fifth in the second, spun out of the third, and had to desperately overcome half a dozen cars in the consie just to transfer to the feature. Then he gave himself a stiff talking to and smashed icon Jud Larson to win it.

Langhorne, 1959, was the brawl of Elmer's life. And it was a really great 'Horne 100, without gore for a change. Jud, Sachs, Branson, and all the other major players were on form, but Elmer was on a flier. He was leading at 23 miles, had lapped up to sixth place by 40. But by then the nervous Nellie USAC stewards were worried that Elmer's ragged driving was looking even more ragged than normal. Scared sh*tless that he was about to do himself a serious injury, they wrung their hands, cogitated, and at last hung the black disqualification flag on Elmer!

It was Langhorne's 73rd mile. Elmer by then had lapped everyone but second place. Maybe never before had any leader been hauled off a dirt track merely for looking out of control, but Elmer's rotten luck was that he wasn't just "any" leader: he was Tony Hulman's son-in-law, and should the bastard yellow press get hold of a juicy story about Elmer getting snuffed, well, the thunderstorm of negative headlines and black ink could drown all racing! Tony might even close the Speedway! So apparently went USAC's tortured thinking process.

For 11 laps Elmer caused a huge stink by choosing to ignore, or not see, the black flag. Temper time clicked in when he finally did decide to stop, and Elmer ended up clipping the steward who was refusing to return his competition license. Interestingly, this particular steward wasn't the standard USAC coot but a whippersnapper Elmer's own age and of Elmer's mentality. So the two of them cordially agreed to meet down in Langhorne's dank catacombs tunnel to adjudicate matters by going to fist city a second time.

They didn't go through with it, and what a pity things weren't settled that way. Instead, gerontocracy kicked in again. Back at the USAC headquarters in Indianapolis, the old guys decided that Elmer was a rockhead in need of serious discipline and that he must stand before a geezer star chamber, with one of his inquisitors none other than the original hanging judge of racing magistrates, Art Pillsbury. This coot tribunal subsequently threw the book at Elmer, fining him a pretty buck and suspending him until he paid up. Elmer retorted that he'd never pay, and with Mari and the race cars departed to lead an exile's life barnstorming with the IMCA.

In time somebody paid Elmer's fine and Elmer returned to USAC. But he kept getting into more hot water, including back at Langhorne, where he and another relief driver struggled to subdue the hoodooed Vargo Special, and only Elmer emerged alive; and at Phoenix where Elmer veered right on the front straight and got into the spectator bleachers. After this, spouse Mari divested herself of her stable, and Elmer got out of the cockpit to became part of the Indianapolis management, though not too big a part. First he was put to work as a kind of assistant groundskeeper, then promoted to a vice presidency-but only of the Speedway Radio Network. Following the completion of the 500's 60th edition, Elmer was assigned to take the pace car and escort the winner, our buddy Johnny Rutherford, around the Speedway.

This time no earthly black flag flew for Elmer, but Fate had decided that Elmer's days were through-racing and otherwise. Less than a dozen hours after chauffeuring Johnny casually around the Brickyard, Elmer George was dead.

The details of Elmer's downfall on May 30, 1976, remain murky. Mari had filed for divorce and Elmer's life was turning to junk. Typically angry and this time carrying a firearm, he had rushed to Terre Haute to take extreme measures dislodging a defiant tenant from a Hulman estate there. Elmer succeeded in getting off two rounds but the tenant, a quarter-horse trainer stationed on the second story, fired five. A Vigo County grand jury took only a week to rule justified homicide.

Elmer obits in all the Indianapolis dailies were brief. And that was a loss; dirt track actors don't come any hotter.

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#2 Buford

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 04:39

Actually he caught the farm hand in bed with his wife. The statement she had previously applied for divorce has come up in recent years but was never reported at the time and I think it is history rewriting. On finding them in the act, George went down to his car and got a gun. There was a shootout and George was killed. The farmhand was acquitted of a murder charge on self defence grounds, and was still Mari Hulman George's "boyfriend" as recently as 5 years ago and may still be.

#3 lanciaman

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 11:33

Originally posted by Buford
Actually he caught the farm hand in bed with his wife. The statement she had previously applied for divorce has come up in recent years but was never reported at the time and I think it is history rewriting. On finding them in the act, George went down to his car and got a gun. There was a shootout and George was killed. The farmhand was acquitted of a murder charge on self defence grounds, and was still Mari Hulman George's "boyfriend" as recently as 5 years ago and may still be.


Guy Trollinger is still part of the scene. He also remains a prominent Indiana horse trainer. Another embellishment to the story is that Elmer tried to throw Mari from the the old Pagoda during the race, both of them heavily anesthetized at the time. I've never had any confirmation of the flagrante delicto business, as was suspected, because other accounts have Mari still at the track during the shooting.

In any event the case disappeared from the front pages with surprising alacrity. Mari occupies her time with saving dismissed greyhound racers, her grandson's budding racing career (youngest SCCA national champion ever) and hairstyling.

#4 Henri Greuter

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 12:28

Can't help feeling some thoughts like "Oh, now that might explain a few things...."

Henri Greuter

#5 Seppi_0_917PA

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 13:02

Originally posted by Henri Greuter
Can't help feeling some thoughts like "Oh, now that might explain a few things...."

Henri Greuter

The grandson of Tony Hulman really and truly just doesn't get it. His lack of respect for tradition and history is only topped by his incredible ignorance and arrogance. - Robin Miller on Tony George

After reading all this, I got the feeling that Tony may be more 'Elmer's son' than 'Tony Hulman's grandson'.

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Is the stuff about Langhorne 1959 true? Leading the race and blackflagged for wild driving?!?!?

Or was there a better reason? I found this Googling on his name:

This was the day that Elmer George was having a tire problem with the right rear of his "HOW" offy. The tire was really hot. Smoking hot. You do not want to blow a tire at Langhorne, at speed. Black flag time. Elmer kept going. More black flag. Elmer kept going. Maybe he was leading? Possibly. Perhaps that is why he would not heed the black flag. From the starters stand, you can see the started waving the black flag. Another "flagger" is out on the track surface, black flag waving, every time Elmer came past. Eventually, Elmer pitted. I got some neat shots of that smoking right rear. Someday, down the road, some of my shots will be seen on some of Dale Snyder's videos. I am pretty sure that Elmer George got in trouble - big time, for staying on the track for so many laps while getting the black flag.

http://216.239.57.10...&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

#6 Aanderson

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 02:05

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Seppi_0_917PA
[B] After reading all this, I got the feeling that Tony may be more 'Elmer's son' than 'Tony Hulman's grandson'.

The grandson of Tony Hulman really and truly just doesn't get it. His lack of respect for tradition and history is only topped by his incredible ignorance and arrogance. - Robin Miller on Tony George

Well, for starters, Robin Miller is not exactly whom I'd look to for objectivity, because he has no idea what that word means! I mean by that, Robin Miller is an absolute horse's ass.

Now, Tony George may well have sowed a lot of "wild oats" as a teenager and young adult--but then that can be said of the scions of many "old money families", all across the world.

Why don't we leave the criticism of Tony George out of this nostalgia forum? After all, he's the next generation's nostalgia!

Art Anderson

#7 Jim Thurman

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 06:30

Originally posted by Seppi_0_917PA
I'm learning that Tony George's father was a pretty wild character. Below is from Joe Scalzo in his book The American Dirt Track Racer (2001). Anymore stories, stats, or gossip ? How much of Scalzo's story is exaggeration?

Elmer Ray George-nobody now seems to remember who the "Ray" in the family tree was-arguably had the most humble beginnings of any future famous 1951-1971 player. His forebears were refugees of dust howl Oklahoma who relocated to central California and led a ritzy existence in one of the Depression's most miserable squatters' camps. This camp, called Alisol, outside of Salinas in the coastal San Joaquin Valley, was where Elmer got into the itinerant lettuce business-he picked it. Moving up in the chain of command, he later trucked it to market.


First, that should be dust bowl instead of howl.

And, it is Scalzo. A lot of embellishment and exaggeration at best. He can spin a yarn, but it seems as if he gets more and more into creating folklore all the time. I keep waiting for his story on IMCA great Paul Bunyan ;) Have you gotten to the portion of the book about Parnelli where he touches on Scotty Cain?...the story about the engine flying out of the flipping car, landing back in the frames rails and continuing to run? :rolleyes: And that he felt the need to embellish anything about Scotty Cain, a guy that might have sent Earnhardt away in tears, speaks volumes. But I digress...

Elmer George was an Okie transplanted to Salinas, who began his driving career at Salinas Speedway, at one time known as Alisal (not Alisol - sic) Speedway. I have read that he picked lettuce at one time, which is likely, but I can't vouch for it completely (there is also a possibility that folks in the San Francisco Bay Area referred to anyone from Salinas as "lettuce pickers"). He and fellow Salinas resident Johnny Key both headed to the Midwest to further their racing careers, with Key dying in a Midget crash at Cincinnati, Ohio when he was thrown from his car after his seat belt failed upon hitting the wall. George was following and ran over Key. Ironically, George was driving a car Key owned.

Buford's story about what went on leading to George's shooting death is exactly what I've heard as well. Now, why would Scalzo add so much else and leave out such a "juicy" portion? (beats me). And I have heard that Elmer George did have a temper (couldn't have been on a par with fellow Salinan Marshall Sargent though).

One serious error, particularly from Scalzo, who has spent plenty of time in California...Salinas is in the Salinas Valley, not the San Joaquin Valley. The San Joaquin is the Southern half of the great inland valley and is located between the Coast Mountain Range and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. To put it into racing context: Fresno and Bakersfield are in the San Joaquin Valley, with Fresno being home of the Vukoviches, Duane Carter, Johnny Boyd, the aforementioned Scotty Cain and the Gerhardts and Bakersfield being home to George Snider and the Mears clan (though the latter relocated from Kansas). The San Joaquin Valley was carved by the San Joaquin River and it's many tributaries - which flow through the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta on into a series of bays, most notably San Francisco Bay, and then into the Pacific. The Salinas Valley is a valley carved out by, strangely enough, the Salinas River, and opens to the coast at the mouth of the river. It is located in a gap between portions of the Coast Range. To put it in racing context: Laguna Seca is in the hills to the West of the Salinas Valley and Elmer George, Johnny Key and Marshall Sargent were from Salinas. Both traditionally heavily agricultural areas, but rapidly developing through the 80's and 90's to present. Lettuce in particular in the Salinas Valley (known as the Salad Bowl) and other vegetable crops. San Joaquin Valley a wider range of crops. So, the Salinas is on the other side of the mountains from the San Joaquin or vice versa.

Ok, so much for the California geography lesson ;)

I didn't even mention Porterville, Tulare and Visalia being in the San Joaquin Valley between Bakersfield and Fresno...Porterville being hometown of NASCAR driver Dick Brooks. Or tiny Tipton, home to "Slug" Lesneski :) ...or Hanford, or Modesto...

#8 Jim Thurman

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 06:36

Originally posted by Aanderson
Well, for starters, Robin Miller is not exactly whom I'd look to for objectivity, because he has no idea what that word means! I mean by that, Robin Miller is an absolute horse's ass.

Now, Tony George may well have sowed a lot of "wild oats" as a teenager and young adult--but then that can be said of the scions of many "old money families", all across the world.

Why don't we leave the criticism of Tony George out of this nostalgia forum? After all, he's the next generation's nostalgia!


I've always enjoyed Robin Miller and the times I've contacted him he's been very helpful.

To me, the fact that IRL supporters feel he's biased towards CART and CART supporters feel he's biased toward the IRL, says a lot.

Definitely agree on the latter two points. But, IMO, I don't think history will view Tony George kindly.

#9 lanciaman

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 09:47

Originally posted by Jim Thurman


I've always enjoyed Robin Miller and the times I've contacted him he's been very helpful.

To me, the fact that IRL supporters feel he's biased towards CART and CART supporters feel he's biased toward the IRL, says a lot.

Definitely agree on the latter two points. But, IMO, I don't think history will view Tony George kindly.


I agree with the first point. And Robin was sacked at the Star mostly as part of new owner Gannett's purge of older, more expensive and experienced reporters.

As to your second point, is it possible the change was inevitable (market forces, cost of racing, rise of NASCAR, changing fan preferences, CART's desire to control the 500) and it happened on Tony's watch so he gets the blame? If someone else had owned the IMS, Penske, say, in an alternate universe, what would have been done differently (other than the Chief Factotum speaking in complete sentences)?

#10 Seppi_0_917PA

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 15:23

Aanderson - my interest here is multilevel. I'd like to learn more about Elmer George. His career* spanned 1954 to 1964. And I think that understanding this past will provide some understanding of the present. I always hear that Tony Hulman was a saint. Tony George is often referred to as Tony Hulman's grandson (Robin Miller's quote is an example of this) - never that he is Elmer's son. Research into someone's parent is a common and valid history exercise.

* http://www.motorspor...?D=Elmer_George

Jim - sorry about the typos. The Salinas Valley/San Joaquin Valley error went right by me. I should have know better, I have driven Davis Road through the Salinas lettuce fields many times on my way to Laguna Seca. Congratulations on describing the area without once referring to it as "Steinbeck Country".

Originally posted by lanciaman
If someone else had owned the IMS, Penske, say, in an alternate universe, what would have been done differently (other than the Chief Factotum speaking in complete sentences)?

What if Elmer hadn't been shot and somehow he ended up in charge of IMS?!?!?

Over time I will continue to look into the 1959 Langhorne race. I still can't believe Scalzo's rendition. Maybe Dick Wallen's books have something?

#11 lanciaman

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 15:50

Originally posted by Seppi_0_917PA

What if Elmer hadn't been shot and somehow he ended up in charge of IMS?!?!?


IMS might now be the longest greyhound dog track in the world.;)

#12 Buford

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 01:59

Originally posted by Seppi_0_917PA

What if Elmer hadn't been shot and somehow he ended up in charge of IMS?!?!?


I don't think he could have screwed it up any more than his son did and since he was a party animal, I doubt the would have employed $1.00 a year Marion County Deputy Brown Shirts to beat up kids in the infield like his son did.

#13 Aanderson

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 04:20

Originally posted by Buford


I don't think he could have screwed it up any more than his son did and since he was a party animal, I doubt the would have employed $1.00 a year Marion County Deputy Brown Shirts to beat up kids in the infield like his son did.


Buford,

Actually, the "cleanup" of the graphic debauchery in the various snakepits at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway began before Tony George took over day-to-day management, in fact within a year after Mari George, his mother, was arrested for kicking the crap out of a Marion County Deputy Sheriff in a fit of drunken rage on the morning of the 500.

And, while, since the early 1970's at least, the city of Indianapolis, Marion County, and the State of Indiana have been billing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for crowd and traffic control services, the the Indianapolis Police Department & Marion County Deputy Sheriffs take their orders from the Indianapolis City County Building, and Indiana State Police from their headquarters at Stout Field in Indianapolis, not from the Master Control Tower.

Frankly, if the majority of those punk kids who made such mockery of decency in the 4th and 1st turn snake pits at Indy had had their butts sufficiently dusted by responsible fathers as youngsters, perhaps they wouldn't have had to be cold-cocked by cops as 20-year olds, huh?

AA


#14 Aanderson

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 04:32

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Seppi_0_917PA
Aanderson - my interest here is multilevel. I'd like to learn more about Elmer George. His career* spanned 1954 to 1964. And I think that understanding this past will provide some understanding of the present. I always hear that Tony Hulman was a saint. Tony George is often referred to as Tony Hulman's grandson (Robin Miller's quote is an example of this) - never that he is Elmer's son. Research into someone's parent is a common and valid history exercise.

[B]I cannot comment on the potential "sainthood" of Anton Hulman Jr.--that's way beyond me! However, he was, by all accounts, a very courtly man--although I have heard, as hearsay, that he once remarked, upon overhearing disparaging comments about his management of USAC and the Speedway, that he'd be more than willing to kick the then-upstart Roger Penske out for good (well, we all know that he didn't do that!).

Mari Hulman, on the other hand, seems to have been a wildly independent girl and young woman--after all, her inheritance is based on two Indiana fortunes, that of her grandfather, Anton Hulman Sr, and from her mother's side, the La Fendrich cigar fortune (Mary Fendrich Hulman). However, in Indiana in the 1940's and 50's, there was no "Debutante" thing, no way for eligible wealthy young bachelors to scope out "eligible" wealthy young women to marry, as there was on the East coast

With her father's sporting passion being auto racing (in addition to Anton Hulman Jr.'s having been a founding member of AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) in 1935, it is little wonder that Mari Hulman might have found what she believed to be true love in a race driver. After all, by the time she reached adulthood, auto racing was in her heritage.

During my teenage and early adulthood, however, Elmer George was not well-spoken of--more the hard-partying, hard-driving, but less-than-successful race driver.

AA


#15 Buford

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 05:03

Originally posted by Aanderson


Buford,

Actually, the "cleanup" of the graphic debauchery in the various snakepits at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway began before Tony George took over day-to-day management, in fact within a year after Mari George, his mother, was arrested for kicking the crap out of a Marion County Deputy Sheriff in a fit of drunken rage on the morning of the 500.

And, while, since the early 1970's at least, the city of Indianapolis, Marion County, and the State of Indiana have been billing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for crowd and traffic control services, the the Indianapolis Police Department & Marion County Deputy Sheriffs take their orders from the Indianapolis City County Building, and Indiana State Police from their headquarters at Stout Field in Indianapolis, not from the Master Control Tower.

Frankly, if the majority of those punk kids who made such mockery of decency in the 4th and 1st turn snake pits at Indy had had their butts sufficiently dusted by responsible fathers as youngsters, perhaps they wouldn't have had to be cold-cocked by cops as 20-year olds, huh?

AA


Total baloney. I made the "Official Snakepit videos" from 1988 through 1993 which were underground classics in both the racing world and the infield world. Many top drivers and press people and mechanics appeared in the videos and it was a much sought after, often rumored, but rarely seen outside of true racing insider series of videos. You had to know somebody to get one and that somebody was me or one of my partners. Or you had to have been in one of the videos in one of the comedy scenes.

The first four years were four hours long and the last two were 5 1/2 hours long. They were a combination of the actual snakepit footage and acting scenes with the infield kids and the racing people, along with a fantasy plot and music sequences and were roll on the floor funny. Don't tell me when TG sent the Gestapo. I know. I was there every single day. It was 1993 when they caused a riot by arresting people for playing Frisbee etc. It was 1994 when the infield was finally "tamed. Yes the police were there for years but they did nothing but keep an eye on things and break up fights until after TG announced he was going to get rid of the "riff raff" and that is when they started in on random arrests and actual brutality. It was no longer the State Police who had kept their distance for the most part for years and for the most part were friendly.

It was One Dollar a year Marion County deputies who are not regular police at all but are known as the "Brown Shirts" and were only called out in emergencies, or in this case specifically to rough up the kids. You do not know what you are talking about sir.

#16 Buford

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 05:12

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Aanderson
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Seppi_0_917PA
With her father's sporting passion being auto racing (in addition to Anton Hulman Jr.'s having been a founding member of AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) in 1935, it is little wonder that Mari Hulman might have found what she believed to be true love in a race driver.
AA
[/I] [/FONT] [/COLOR]
[/QUOTE]

Yeah after screwing her way though everybody in the sport. My father who just turned 91 knew her at the tracks in the 1950s and his stories indicate to me she was not an east coast debutant type of "lady."

#17 lanciaman

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 11:52

Tony Hulman was a reknown tippler, and a running joke (though apparently more true than not) was that he had to have his famous line written on a piece of paper, which he held at every start.

The "reverence" for Mr. Hulman (and courtly is a good description) came about for several reasons. He operated the Speedway as a sportsman rather than a businessman, ploughing revenues back into improvements (one of the benefits of independant wealth). I imagine Briggs Cunningham might have run the place the same way, had it been his. And he had a respect for tradition and customs. Tony Hulman had been something of an athlete in his youth, and stayed looking fairly fit in spite of the drinking; with his good breeding he always dressed the part, favoring light colored suits and ties, and always played the role of Prince of Motorsport. It was no secret that he favored certain drivers and opened his checkbook when they needed help, but he was able to adroitly avoid rules or sanctioning confrontations, letting USAC take the heat. Hulman, I think, was viewed as being above the petty squabbles and bickerings that went on with drivers and teams and USAC, though it was rumored that he had far greater back room influence on events than supposed.

#18 Buford

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Posted 26 March 2004 - 08:08

Actually I never saw him drunk and I observed him and talked to him many times over many years. Of course his wife was a drunk, his daughter was a drunk, his son-in-law (Elmer) was a drunk, and his grandson was a druggie. So while he may have been the only sane one in the bunch, maybe he also just could hold a drink better and run several multi-million dollar businesses at the same time.

#19 lanciaman

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Posted 26 March 2004 - 11:37

Originally posted by Buford
Actually I never saw him drunk and I observed him and talked to him many times over many years. Of course his wife was a drunk, his daughter was a drunk, his son-in-law (Elmer) was a drunk, and his grandson was a druggie. So while he may have been the only sane one in the bunch, maybe he also just could hold a drink better and run several multi-million dollar businesses at the same time.


Mr. Hulman also surrounded himself with shrewd, competent retainers who managed his interests, a trait that Tony G. has not entirely mastered. But in fariness, Tony G.'s people have had to do their jobs in the heart of a maelstrom.

And you are right, TH was not a public drunk like others in his family; but he did like the sauce...which I heartily endorse myself.