SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts

Indianapolis Motor Speedway sold to Penske

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series were sold to Penske Entertainment Corp. in a stunning move Monday that relinquishes control of the iconic speedway from the Hulman family after 74 years.

Posted: Nov 4, 2019 8:29 AM
Updated: Nov 4, 2019 3:49 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series were sold to Penske Entertainment Corp. in a stunning move Monday that relinquishes control of the iconic speedway from the Hulman family after 74 years.

Tony Hulman bought the dilapidated speedway in 1945 and brought racing back to the corner of 16th St. and Georgetown Ave. after a four-year absence following World War II. Roger Penske will become just the fourth owner of the 110-year-old speedway.

The speedway spun off multiple subsidiaries, including the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions, which are also part of the deal to Penske Entertainment. That group is a subsidiary of Penske Corp., which is owned by billionaire Roger Penske.

“Great day for our family and our team,” Penske said in a text message to The Associated Press.

The IndyCar Series is on an upward trend with improved television ratings and increased interest. Penske is the winningest team owner in Indianapolis 500 history with 18 victories, including Simon Pagenaud’s win in May. He capped the IndyCar Season with a championship from driver Josef Newgarden, the 15th for the Team Penske organization.

The speedway is to discuss the deal in a news conference Monday. The sale is expected to close in early January, according to a document of message points sent to IndyCar teams on Monday, a copy of which was obtained by the AP.

“We have found the ideal steward of the company and its iconic assets,” the document states. “Penske Corporation — with its 64,000-plus employees and more than $32 billion in consolidated revenue — will bring tremendous energy, leadership and resources to IMS, IndyCar and IMSP.

“For a number of years, the Hulman & Company management and board have engaged outside advisers and experts to consider the full range of strategic options available. Ultimately, it was decided to focus on the possible sale of the company and finding a buyer that would be the best steward of the company and its iconic assets.”

The document states Penske Corp. approached the Hulman board in the fall about the purchase.

Support from rival team owners was immediate. Chip Ganassi said Penske called him early Monday morning before the sale was announced to inform him, adding “the place is going to be run like a business now.”

Michael Andretti called it “positive news” for the series and the speedway.

“Roger has always strived to do great things for both IMS and Indy car racing, and I’m sure he will continue to do so in this new ownership position,” Andretti said. “Both the Indy 500 and the NTT IndyCar Series have been on a rise and I look forward to the continued climb.”

And Bobby Rahal called him the “perfect custodian” for the speedway.

“Roger Penske’s commitment to the sport we love is over six decades long and I am confident that his stewardship of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series will ensure a great future for the sport,” Rahal said. “His many successful business ventures underline the fact that he is the perfect custodian of one of the most historic venues in the world and is the perfect architect to build the foundation for the next 100-plus years of the sport.”

Penske’s love of the speedway dates to 1951 when his father, Jay, scored a pair of tickets to the Indianapolis 500 from the metal fabrication company in Cleveland where he worked. He brought his 14-year-old car-loving son to the speedway to see the event live after listening to it only on radio for many years.

Penske was instantly hooked and has missed only six Indianapolis 500s since, five of which came when the IndyCar Series was formed by Tony George and split from CART. Penske teams remained in CART, and CART teams were not welcome at the 500.

CART was once the most popular form of motorsports in the U.S., but NASCAR swallowed open-wheel racing during the tumultuous times after Tony George created the Indy Racing League. The split fractured open-wheel racing in North America and it has never recovered even after CART conceded and merged into what is now known as IndyCar.

Penske has mixed track ownership and team ownership before, and the Detroit resident first purchased Michigan International Speedway in 1973. He later owned California Speedway, as well, and currently runs the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader IndyCar weekend.

The purchase was applauded by Team Penske driver Will Power, the 2018 Indy 500 winner and former IndyCar champion, who understands all Penske drivers strive to please the boss at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Roger’s love of Indy and racing is no secret, so I can’t think of anyone better to have purchased it,” said Power. “I think this helps secure the future of the sport and continues the positive direction that the series is headed in.”

George, the grandson of Tony Hulman, has long run the speedway and its properties along with his sisters and a board of directors. But matriarch Mari Hulman George, daughter of Tony Hulman, died last November and her children and the board have made a series of moves divesting their businesses. The Hulman & Company family sold its other primary business, Clabber Girl, to B&G Foods for $80 million in May. Clabber Girl produced name brand baking powder, baking soda and corn starch for 150 years.

The family has now turned its racing properties over to Penske in an announcement made one day after the one-year anniversary of Hulman George’s death. Penske, who turned 82 in February, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump last month.

“I cannot think of a better owner than Roger Penske and his corporation to ensure the future and growth of IndyCar,” Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren, told the AP. McLaren is entering IndyCar next season and Brown was a longtime Indianapolis businessman who ran a racing marketing business.

“His business acumen and dedication to IndyCar racing and passion for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is second to none,” he said.

Governor Eric Holcomb released the following statement:

“The biggest single day sporting event on planet earth is about to get even bigger and better. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with ‘The Captain’ Roger Penske at the helm.

“Mr. Penske’s vision, team and high expectations will ensure Indiana’s most iconic asset continues to grow. Along with IndyCar, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway forms the core of an entire racing industry that employs thousands of people and pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy.

“As a racing fan, my excitement is only equaled by my appreciation for the longtime Hulman George commitment to the past and future of the sport of racing and to our great state.”

West Lafayette
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
Kokomo
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 73°
Rensselaer
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
Fowler
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Williamsport
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 71°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 72°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 75°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Logansport
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 70°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50300

Reported Deaths: 2748
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11920692
Lake5432248
Elkhart347058
Allen2902133
St. Joseph205169
Hamilton1665101
Cass16449
Hendricks1446100
Johnson1325118
Porter80238
Tippecanoe7599
Clark68144
Vanderburgh6816
Madison67264
LaPorte60527
Howard59458
Bartholomew59345
Kosciusko5704
Marshall5308
Noble50128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4783
Boone47444
Delaware46952
Hancock46036
Shelby43525
Floyd40444
Morgan33631
Monroe32928
Grant30926
Dubois2976
Henry29717
Montgomery29720
Clinton2893
White26810
Decatur25532
Dearborn25423
Lawrence25225
Vigo2478
Warrick24329
Harrison21722
Greene19332
Miami1922
Jennings17912
Putnam1728
DeKalb1674
Scott1639
Wayne1536
Daviess15017
Perry1459
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1332
Franklin1278
Ripley1277
Wabash1152
Carroll1132
Gibson1132
Fayette1057
Whitley1045
Newton10010
Starke983
Huntington932
Randolph794
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington681
Knox670
Clay665
Pulaski661
Rush613
Posey550
Owen521
Benton510
Spencer501
Adams491
Sullivan471
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Tipton321
Switzerland300
Martin240
Parke230
Ohio220
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events