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IndyCar names Walker new competition chief

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 14 2013 08:47:30 AM CDT
Racing generic, winners flag

Caren Firouz/Reuters

Former team owner Derrick Walker was named President, Operations & Competition of IndyCar. The new head of competition will begin his new role May 27, the day after the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to be run.

"We're pleased to welcome Derrick Walker to this vital role," said Mark Miles, chief executive officer, Hulman & Company, the parent company of IndyCar. "We spoke with many of our constituents about an ideal person for this job, and Derrick's name emerged early and often.

"After speaking with many talented candidates, Derrick stood out because his decades of experience in North American open-wheel racing blend ownership and management for his own race teams and other teams. He understands how to balance the technical and financial operations of our sport, and his confident leadership will provide a firm, clear direction for long-term IndyCar operations and competition."

Walker, 68, is a native of Scotland who comes to IndyCar after serving as general manager for the one-car Ed Carpenter Racing team in the IZOD IndyCar Series, and he has more than 40 years of experience in motorsports. His role will entail improving communication with team owners and suppliers in a wide-ranging role from cost management to developing plans for future technical platforms.

"I know I'm not going to please everybody every day," Walker said. "There are going to be some days when some people will think I'm a jerk and there will be some days where I probably will be a jerk. I just hope there's more good days than jerk days."

Walker mentioned containing costs and improving safety as two main areas of focus - which requires walking a fine line with fans who want to see increased speeds.

He does have vast experience to pull from, as Walker is a former chief mechanic who was well known for working with the likes of Graham Hill, Rick Mears, Roger Penske, and Al and Bobby Unser.

Job No. 1: bringing more fans to the race venues.

"We need to reduce the inflationary aspect of it because owners don't just get (hit with) it, the fans get it because the costs get passed on to them in the form of ticket prices," Walker said.

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