Indy Split is a fascinating, authoritative and overdue account of the big money battle that nearly destroyed the sport of Indy car racing. In the new book that will be on shelves in time for the 2021 Indy 500, long-time motorsports reporter John Oreovicz dives deep into the divisive battle between CART and the Indy Racing League. With insightful reporting, Oreovicz recounts the political infighting within the industry which climaxed with a 12-year “Split” from 1996 to 2007 between competing forms of Indy car racing and prevented the sport from achieving its potential.
The book traces the roots of Indy car racing’s dysfunction, which began in 1945 when Tony Hulman rescued the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from potential redevelopment. Over the next 75 years, the Hulman-George family used the stature of the Speedway to carve out a powerful position in American auto racing that sometimes resulted in conflict with Indy car competitors. A volatile period in the late 1970s sparked the formation of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), and tensions ramped up even more when Hulman’s grandson, Tony George, assumed power in 1990.
In unprecedented detail, Indy Split uncovers how the Split forced Indy car fans, sponsors, broadcasters and participants to choose sides. The book brings to light the confusion and animosity which caused unnecessary damage to the sport, and covers how negotiations driven by legendary racer Mario Andretti and actor/racer Paul Newman ended the Split in 2008, only to have George to walk away less than three years later. The long struggle for stability was finally resolved in 2020 when Roger Penske acquired IMS and the IndyCar Series, securing a bright future for the Speedway, the Indy 500, and the sport.
Longtime motorsports reporter John Oreovicz began attending the Indianapolis 500 as a teenager in the late ‘70s, allowing him to witness the sport’s growth as an avid fan before documenting its decline as a journalist. With a foreword by Motorsport Hall of Fame inductee Robin Miller, arguably Indy car racing’s most vocal advocate, this is the real story of The Split from one of the sport’s most respected voices.
ACCOLADES FOR INDY SPLIT
“First off all, Oreo is a good writer who covered CART/IRL/IndyCar for ESPN.com, Autosport, RACER and was the PR man for PacWest. He knows the sport, the players and the politics, and this book needed to be written because it lays out all the stupidity, egos and mistakes that were made on both sides. And you can’t say The Split didn’t do the damage - just look at the attendance, sponsorship, TV ratings and media coverage that CART had in the ’90s and see how it’s diminished today. John spent several years getting interviews and going over notes and old stories, and I think it was about as even-handed a view as anyone would want. I’m proud of Oreo for penning a much-needed history book.”
–Robin Miller, March 2021
"[Indy Split] is a politcal story with strong human content, an erudite illustration of how sports shouldn't be run and a cracking good read."
–Simon Arron, MotorSport Magazine
"A must-read for fans of Indy Car, or anyone with a passion for American racing history."
–Kurt Ernst, Hemmings Motor News
"Oreovicz combines meticulous research with an easy style that makes this one of the best of the current crop of racing histories."
–Logan Gray, Sports Car Market
"If you are a fan of IndyCar racing, and particularly if you're a long-time student of the sport, this book is something you owe yourself to read."
–Jerry Bonkowski, Autoweek
"Indy Split takes the reader not only to the tracks and races but into the meetings were battle strategies were being plotted and where truce after truce was unravelling."
–Larry Edsall, The Classicars.com Journal
Read an excerpt from Indy Split.