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Author Topic: Humpy Wheeler To Retire?  (Read 801 times)
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Cheryl
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« on: May 21, 2008, 12:24:24 PM »

From Jayski:

"Humpy Wheeler, the "P.T. Barnum" of NASCAR promotions, will retire and step down as president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway, The Associated Press has learned. This weekend's Coca-Cola 600 will be Wheeler's last race for Lowe's Motor Speedway, two people familiar with the decision told the AP. They requested anonymity because an official announcement, which could come as early as Wednesday, has not yet been made. It was not immediately clear who will succeed Wheeler, who has managed the track for the past 33 years and was named president in 1980. Candidates include track owner Bruton Smith's son, Marcus, the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Speedway Motorsports Inc., and Lauri Wilks, executive vice president of management and administration for LMS. Nicknamed "Humpy" because of the camel's hump on a pack of Camel cigarettes his father was caught smoking, Wheeler was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006.(Associated Press/Jenna Fryer/ESPN.com)(5-21-2008)"

This sure is a surprise!  I hope his health is not the reason or something like that.  While I've had a hate/mild dislike with Bruton Smith, I've always liked Humpy and thought he really loved the fans and always tried to improve the track/racing for their benefit, not sheer greed.

Cheryl
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Desmond
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 04:25:33 PM »

I heard nothing about this until I read the story on ESPN2 Bottom Line earlier this morning, so the report also stunned me.

If this is indeed the end of the line, Humpy will be missed.  He always wanted to have fun and share his enthusiasm with the crowd, but he has always been concerned that NASCAR moved in the right direction.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 04:53:52 PM by Desmond » Logged

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Steve
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2008, 05:51:04 AM »

http://www.nascar.com/2008/news/headlines/cup/05/21/wheeler.retirement/index.html

Farewell, Humpy.
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Cheryl
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008, 12:50:53 PM »

Claire had some excerpts from the press conference on XM last night, but I didn't catch it all.  Here's some telling comments from an ESPN article quoted at Jayski:

"UPDATE 2: The announcement was scheduled to be made next Wednesday, but was pushed up after a disagreement between Wheeler and Bruton Smith, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. that owns LMS. "The suddenness was not my idea," Wheeler said. "I would have liked to have stayed around a little bit, just eased out a little easier. Maybe in a part-time role." The 69-year-old promoter that was hired by Smith before the October race in 1975 said no part-time offer was made. Asked if he was given that option Wheeler said, "No." Asked if he would remain with the track in any capacity Wheeler bluntly said, "None." Smith, who did not attend the press conference that was thrown together quickly after news of the retirement leaked out Tuesday night, said Wheeler was offered the chance to stay as a consultant. "To my knowledge, nothing has changed," he said. Smith said Wheeler was offered a consultant's salary for five years beyond the $12,500 a month that SMI has agreed to pay him over the next 10 years. He added that Wheeler holds 151 shares of stock options with the company and that he has to stay involved to execute them. Smith said he did not attend the press conference because he was not invited and because he didn't want to take away from Wheeler's moment. "It was his press conference," he said. "Not mine."(see full stor yand comments at ESPN.com)
AND Marcus Smith, the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Speedway Motorsports Inc., is the leading candidate to be voted to replace Lowe's Motor Speedway president and general manager H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler next week. Several sources close to the situation said the son of SMI owner Bruton Smith is the "appropriate choice" to replace Wheeler. Marcus Smith, attending Wednesday's news conference to announce Wheeler's retirement, was noncommittal.(ESPN.com)(5-21-2008)"

To me, it sounds like the "blood is thicker than water" deal.  And we saw how well that has worked for NA$CAR.  Bruton is making a HUGE mistake IMHO...no one is going to be as good of an ambassador for the fans or liaison between SMI and ISC.

Here's a very good article by Deb Williams with a lot of quotes by Humpy:

http://www.gofastnews.com/board/sprint-cup/924-humpy-wheeler-steps-aside-his-choice-leave-mid-season.html
 

P.S. I'm going to try and merge this topic with the one I started in chit-chat yesterday, just so everyone's comments are all together. 

Cheryl
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 03:33:10 PM by Cheryl » Logged
Desmond
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008, 05:00:36 PM »

I am wondering what some of those disagreements were about.  Did Humpy not like the recent acquisitions and money moves by SMI?  Or has Bruton Smith's ego grown to huge levels? Huh?
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Cheryl
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2008, 05:07:14 PM »

Or has Bruton Smith's ego grown to huge levels? Huh?

I doubt it has much room to grow since he stole the speedway from Curtis Turner back in 1960...

Cheryl
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Vivian
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2008, 08:20:16 PM »

I was totally surprised when I heard this on Nascar Now yesterday.  I wonder if the debacle of that boring All Star night had anything to do with it.  Or maybe it has to do with the Kentucky Speedway purchase?  Who knows?  One thing for sure, the media will give us some good and some bad info on it.
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Cheryl
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2008, 08:58:45 PM »

I wonder if the debacle of that boring All Star night had anything to do with it.  Or maybe it has to do with the Kentucky Speedway purchase? 

Not really sure how the boring All-Star Race would be Humpy's fault, Viv?   Cheesy

Claire on XM is playing a press conference with Bruton Smith right now concerning the acquisition of KY Speedway.  A reporter just mentioned that Humpy implied he was not leaving SMI on his own terms.  Bruton has pretty much been sidestepping a lot of questions, but he did say that it probably had something to do with the KY Speedway deal.  Interesting...

Also, someone asked if he planned to have a Cup date at KY in 2009 and he said a definititve "yes." 

Cheryl
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 09:26:18 PM by Cheryl » Logged
Vivian
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2008, 08:29:32 PM »

Who scheduled the 4 ea 25 lap segments that had no excitement?
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