George Michael Steinbrenner isn’t leaving the NTT IndyCar Series or his co-ownership role with the No. 29 Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport Honda driven by Canadian rookie Devlin DeFrancesco. But his duties are set for a significant change that includes working within the family-owned New York Yankees Major League Baseball organization in a new and unspecified role.
“So many things in my personal and professional life over the last year and a half have slowly started to shift,” Steinbrenner told RACER. “We’ve gotten Steinbrenner Racing in a really positive and growing place to where my involvement 10 hours a day isn’t necessary. So now I can take the dual-role approach that we’ve been talking about internally for years of getting involved in the family business.
“And it’s not a goodbye to Steinbrenner Racing. I’ll still be working with Andretti Autosport and the No. 29 Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport IndyCar entry. It’s just that my presence will be lesser than what I’ve been doing because I’ve taken on a role with the Yankees that makes my ability to attend most of the races impossible.”
In his upcoming absence, another member of the Steinbrenner family is expected to take on a leadership position with the racing program.
“We’ve gotten Steinbrenner Racing to that point where we’re in a sustainable position where we can have some organizational changes coming that won’t have a negative impact on the team,” he said. “There’s some pretty big news to come that I think is going to be good. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to be at most races in person, probably only the Indy 500, but I’ll be there for the rest in spirit.”
Steinbrenner Racing was formed years ago as a support system for current IndyCar star Colton Herta as he was starting his open-wheel journey. By 2019, Steinbrenner joined forces with Mike Harding to form the Harding Steinbrenner Racing IndyCar team which made the son of the late Hank Steinbrenner the series’ youngest owner at 22 years of age.
“It’s been an interesting journey, and it’s hard to believe it’s only been six years; it feels like a hell of a lot longer than that,” he said. “Colton and I, we started as two dumb teenagers who thought it would be a cool idea sitting at the Skip Barber Racing School in Connecticut to have an IndyCar team one day. Colton turned out to be pretty darn good at racing cars and we had some good years there in Indy Lights and IndyCar, a lot of race wins.
“It’s been the gold standard in racing, and recently, we’ve gotten involved with Devlin DeFrancesco, brought on a lot of partners on board like Capstone and Power Tap, that are really supporting this deal that so I can take this opportunity, shake up the team a little bit, try to win more races with Andretti Autosport running the operations. None of that changes for us.”
Steinbrenner hopes to make a full-time return to Steinbrenner Racing in a few years. In the meantime, another area that will also remain unchanged for Steinbrenner is his ongoing work with the George 4 Foundation he created in 2020.
“As a family we’ve been heavily in the Tampa Bay and New York communities, but I’ve made a second home of the Indianapolis area, lived there for five years, and I wanted to branch out,” he said. “So our primary efforts are in helping feed, clothe, shelter and support families there in need, primarily youth. We’re connected to organizations like the United Way Boys and Girls Club, Feeding America, Gleaners Food Bank, which is the Feeding America arm in Central Indiana. Those are where we focused our efforts, and we’ve had some success so far.
“It will forever be tied to our efforts in IndyCar with a focus on the Indianapolis community at first, and then branching out to other IndyCar venues and and getting our partners involved. They’ve all been very supportive of the race team and the foundation as well. So we’ll keep building a community around the team and build the George 4 Foundation and really help some folks.”