Behind the scenes, on center stage and everywhere in between, works the president of IMS and Zionsville resident, Doug Boles. Fervently leading the colossal team of individuals that are required to manage this extraordinary and historic venue, Boles must find a balance between his duty to the track as well as to his family. This feat Boles has been able to manage only with the support of his wife and their four sons.
“Finding balance is the biggest challenge that I have,” Boles said. “I am fortunate that my house is full of people that are as passionate about this place [IMS] and this sport, as I am. It would be really hard if I went home to people that were like, ‘Oh, here he goes again’. The hardest part in balancing all this is when I get home because my family wants to talk about my day and sometimes, the last thing you want to do is talk about your day. I’m like, ‘I want to talk about your day’. For me, I’m so passionate about it too so I’m going to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until they tell me to leave at some point in time. For over four years now, every Monday, the assistant pastor at College Park where we go to church is a really good friend of mine and we get together and pray for each other and make sure that we don’t get too wrapped up in it [our vocations] and forget our family, our faith and the things that are important.”
Boles acknowledged his wife, Beth, and her ability to keep Boles on task back at the home front.
“The great thing about my wife, Beth, if she sees me in a spot where I shouldn’t be or I’m forgetting something, or the kids need this or that- she’s right there telling me,” he said affectionately. I’m reminded that this is my job and the most important thing that I’m involved in, are the lives that are at home-my family.”
Prior to his career at IMS, Boles was a co-owner of Panther Racing along with former Colt’s quarterback, Jim Harbaugh.
“The one thing that the team thing did for me was give me a perspective from a team’s point of view,” Boles explained. “I view my main job as president of the speedway as sort of two-fold: to lead this team and to deliver a product for our customers. We don’t get to do this without customers. Who are the customers? The customers are the fans but they are also sponsors and partners that are here and they are also the teams that participate. What the ownership in Panther racing did for me was to give me the opportunity to really see what a team goes through and what their challenges are when they’re here.”
On working with Harbaugh, Boles shared, “One thing that I learned about Harbaugh, for as crazy and wacky as he is, that guy cares about his people and the neat thing that you see, even in his coaching-he’ll roll his sleeves up and go to battle with his people. There’s so much to be said about a leader who’s willing to get in the trenches and work. I wear a tie not because I’m the president; I wear a tie because I think the brand deserves it. If you look back at Carl Fisher, Tony Hulman, Eddie Rickenbacker, Wilbur Shaw, all those guys wore ties so for me, if I’m representing the brand, I’m wearing a tie but it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to help pick up trash or help dig a car out of the mud. That all comes from seeing Jim Harbaugh and others the way they lead.”