IRL Executive Director To Retire
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Leo Mehl, Indianapolis Motor Speedway vice president and executive director of the Indy Racing League the past three years, will retire Dec. 3.
Mehl, 63, a chemical engineer who previously was general manager for Goodyear’s tire’s racing program for 22 years, said today he is stepping down to spend more time with his family.
``It’s been a great privilege for me to work with all the owners, drivers, promoters, sponsors, manufacturers and especially the fans who have helped build the Indy Racing League,″ Mehl said. ``We have accomplished a great deal, and the plans for the 2000 season race cars and engines are exciting.″
Mehl was responsible for the design and coordination of the IRL’s new 3.5-liter engine and chassis package, to introduced at the season-opening Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway in January.
Mehl was hired by speedway president Tony George in 1996 during the first year of operation for the league, which broke away from the established Championship Auto Racing Teams and set up its own all-oval race schedule. Most CART teams and drivers have not competed in the Indianapolis 500, the premier IRL event, since 1995.
George said Mehl’s ``leadership and spirit of innovation have set the stage for tremendous growth for the future.″
The future could include a return of at least some of the teams from CART. No one from the rival organization has confirmed a return to Indy, but CART left late May off its 2000 schedule and several CART teams have made inquiries about acquiring IRL equipment for the race.