Doug Boles named IMS track president, per report

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Per Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star, more management changes are coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Doug Boles, 46, who has been the track’s chief operating officer and director of media relations prior to that, has been named track president. Besides his track experience, Boles (pictured, far right) was also a co-owner at Panther Racing in that team’s early years.

Boles succeeds Jeff Belskus in the role. Belskus shifts to becoming president and chief financial officer of Hulman & Co., essentially leading business development of the $100 million master plan to upgrade the track and its facilities.

Belskus has served as CEO of IMS and IndyCar, and as part of Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles’ continuing reorganization of the Hulman properties, still seeks a president to lead Hulman & Co.’s commercial division for motorsports.

Valtteri Bottas on Silverstone pole; Nico Hulkenberg a surprising third

F1 Bottas Hamilton Silverstone
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Valtteri Bottas nipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone qualifying Saturday to maintain the team’s hammerlock on F1 results this season while Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise in third.

Hulkenberg is filling in for Sergio Perez for the second consecutive race while the Racing Point driver recovers from coronavirus.

It’s the best F1 start since 2016 for Hulkenberg, who was left without a full-time ride after the 2019 season. He finished 20th at Silverstone last week when an engine problem on the grid prevented him ftaking the green.

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“The last seven to eight days have been crazy,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying. “This weekend I felt much better prepared. Q3 was just head down, full beans, and give it whatever I had.

“I’m a bit surprised to be standing here, but there’s a big smile on my face.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth and will be among the field trying to derail the Mercedes duo that has won the first four races of an F1 season delayed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Feels good,” Bottas said after nipping Hamilton by a few hundredths of a second on his final lap for his 13th career pole position. ” I just love qualifying especially, when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. The race pace is there, so our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there.”

The impressive lap came two days after Bottas, who won the season opener in Austria, announced a one-year contract extension with the team.

Mercedes also is set to begin negotiating a new deal with Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1 but was disappointed Saturday.

“Valtteri did a great job, but for me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap,” he said. “I don’t think many teams will be doing a one-stop race tomorrow so let’s wait and see how things turn out.”