Racing Legend Roger Penske Buys Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League
As a team owner, Roger Penske has won the Indianapolis 500 more than anyone else. Penske has logged an amazing 18 victories. Now the man affectionately known as “The Captain” literally owns the track. Roger Penske announced today that he has bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and IMS Productions. The move stunned the racing industry, no one suspected that the Hulman family was interested in selling the famous track.
The Indianapolis 500 is the largest single day sporting event in the world. The track is 110 years old. Penske will be the fourth owner.
“My passion for racing began at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1951 when I attended the Indianapolis 500 with my father,” said Roger Penske, whose race team celebrated its 50th anniversary of first competing at IMS this year. “We have so much respect and appreciation for the history and tradition of the Speedway and the sport of IndyCar racing. I want to thank Hulman & Company for the opportunity to build on this legacy and it will be an honor for Penske Corporation to help lead these great institutions forward into a new era.”
The deal came together quickly, but they are not saying what Penske is paying for the track, racing league and the video production services.
“We recently approached Roger Penske and Penske Corporation about this opportunity and began working to put an agreement in place,” said Tony George, Chairman of Hulman & Company. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the centerpiece and the cathedral of motorsports since 1909 and the Hulman-George family has proudly served as the steward of this great institution for more than 70 years. Now, we are honored to pass the torch to Roger Penske and Penske Corporation, as they become just the fourth owner of the iconic Speedway. There is no one more capable and qualified than Roger and his organization to lead the sport of IndyCar racing and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway into the future.”
The Governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb, released a statement saying, “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.”
Successful Track Record
The Penske Corporation has owned or managed several of the larger race tracks over the years, including Michigan International Speedway. Penske Corporation promotes and operates the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. Penske has been known for adding entertainment to the racing circuit, growing the events beyond just the races into larger community events.
Mark Miles, President and CEO of Hulman & Company said “With their track record of business success, their venue, operation and event experience and their passion for motorsports, Roger Penske and Penske Corporation will help us take the IndyCar Series, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all of our properties to new heights.
Rivals Say Penske Will Improve the Track and the Sport
Rival team owner Michael Andretti believes it will be good for the sport. “I think it’s positive news. Roger has always strived to do great things for both IMS and INDYCAR racing, and I’m sure he will continue to do so in this new ownership position. Both the Indy 500 and NTT IndyCar Series have been on a rise, and I look forward to the continued climb.”
Another team owner Bobby Rahal agrees. “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. 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. We look forward to working with Roger in order to make the IndyCar Series and the Indy 500 the best it’s ever been.”
Follow Mary Conway at @maryconwaymedia and send her car news tips for future stories.