The Racing Capital
of the World
January 20, 2011 | By Leslie Bailey
Have you ever wondered what it is exactly that the “big-wigs” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway do all day? Last week, I stopped by the office of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation President and CEO Jeff Belskus to find out.
Belskus is a fairly soft-spoken man who spends his days like the rest of us, squeezing in an early-morning workout and checking e-mails on his phone through the day.
5:30-6 a.m.: Wake up, work out.
Belskus tells me he is currently hard at work training for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 7. I congratulate him and ask if it is his first time participating in the Mini-Marathon. He tells me this will be his 15th. Well done, sir.
8:30 a.m.: Arrive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
“The best part of my job is watching the personal growth of others and myself,” Belskus said. Belskus also said he makes a point to walk around the IMS building throughout the day as he believes a visible presence is important to keeping the office culture open and less intimidating.
11 a.m.: Conference call with the Indianapolis Convention Visitors Association (ICVA)
Belskus is an executive member of the ICVA board, a group focused on tourism in the Central Indiana region. In January, the top executive at the ICVA, Don Welsh, resigned. So Belskus is working with his fellow ICVA board members to locate a new CEO.
Noon: Lunch with Brigadier General Stewart Goodwin
As Chief of Staff for the Indiana Air National Guard, Brigadier General Stewart Goodwin also serves as the military liaison to IMS. Belskus and Goodwin discussed a number of topics related to the month of May, including the Indy 500 pre-race flyover and other Memorial Day weekend track activities. Belskus eats his lunch at his desk or during meetings most days.
1:30 p.m.: Miscellaneous afternoon meetings
On this day, Belskus’ agenda includes afternoon meetings with Mark Dill, IMS vice president of marketing and PR, and Bob Beasley, IMS director of sales. These are topped off with a phone call from Roush Fenway Racing President Steve Newmark to discuss the 2011 Brickyard 400.
4:30 p.m.: Heading out into the community
Belskus plans to leave the office a bit early this particular Friday afternoon to pick up his wife, Debbie, for an Indiana Pacers' game at Conseco Fieldhouse. Belskus believes it is important to support other professional sports teams and cultural entities within the community. He feels that attending various events is one of the ways that IMS can demonstrate its support for the community. When not headed to an evening engagement, Belskus usually gets home around 6:30 p.m., eats dinner and checks his e-mails.
8:30 p.m.: Winding down the day
To unwind after a long day, Belskus occasionally enjoys a glass of red wine and spends time with his wife and their dogs: Moses, a 10-year-old yellow Lab and Ellie, a 4-year-old Havanese. However, he says his real guilty pleasure is pizza. In the rest of his free time, he likes exercise, travel, socializing with friends and golf.
What the future holds:
While talking with Jeff, it became clear that no day is quite like the one before it. This week, Belskus travels to Scottsdale, Ariz., for the unveiling of the 2011 Indy 500 Pace Car and meetings with track partner Chevrolet. Then it’s off to Los Angeles next week for meetings in the new IMS/INDYCAR entertainment office to discuss various projects. Despite his busy calendar full of meetings and work functions, Jeff is also looking forward to an upcoming trip to the Super Bowl in February. His next big event after that? The 100th Anniversary of the Indy 500.
Fans, here’s your chance to connect directly with IMS President and CEO Jeff Belskus. Submit your questions for Jeff to answer an upcoming installment of the IMS Fan Connection. Learn more about the IMS Fan Connection and post your questions here.