A former president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway has died. John Cooper served as IMS president from 1979 to 1982 and was also president of Daytona International Speedway. He was 83.
Current IMS President Doug Boles calls Cooper an "iconic leader" of the famed race course.
As the IMS president in the early ’80s, John helped lead a new thought process in track promotions, while balancing the importance of history to IMS and the Indianapolis 500. His many experiences in racing and business made him one of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful resources in our sport, and I enjoyed and appreciated the time he would take to offer advice and counsel related to the operations of a race track. John always maintained his love of racing, especially the Indianapolis 500, and is respected throughout the industry. Here at IMS, his influence is still felt today and our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
IMS Historian Donald Davidson says Cooper became the first employee of the United States Auto Club in 1955. He says Cooper was also instrumental in bringing NASCAR to the speedway in the early 1990s.