By on November 4, 2019

Team Penske

Okay, that’s a NASCAR line, but it applies here.

Roger Penske never ran the Indianapolis 500 during his racing career, but as owner of Team Penske, his drivers racked up 18 victories on the famed banked oval. Now, it appears the 82-year-old Penske will soon call the track his own.

Monday morning brought news that Penske will announce the purchase of both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar series from Hulman & Co.

According to documents seen by The Associated Press, Penske hopes to close the sale in early January, wrestling control of the speedway away from Hulman & Co. after 74 years of ownership. A news conference scheduled for this morning is expected will announce Penske Entertainment, a subsidiary of Penske Corp., as the buyer.

A document sent out to IndyCar teams Monday morning states, “We have found the ideal steward of the company and its iconic assets. 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 news comes almost exactly a year after Mari Hulman George, daughter of Anton “Tony” Hulman Jr., who bought the track in 1945, died at the age of 83. She served as Hulman & Co, chairperson and chaired the speedway from 1988 to 2016.

At least according to Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren, having Penske Entertainment’s hand on the IndyCar tiller could further stimulate a rising interest in open-wheel racing.

“I cannot think of a better owner than Roger Penske and his corporation to ensure the future and growth of IndyCar,” he told AP. “His business acumen and dedication to IndyCar racing and passion for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is second to none.”

In September, NBC reported IndyCar viewership was up 10 percent over the previous year.

[Image: Team Penske]

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11 Comments on “Win on Sunday, Buy on Monday? Roger Penske to Purchase IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway...”

  • avatar

    This is very good news. I look forward to further positive news for both IMS and motorsports in the USA, in general.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Well, I suppose being owned by an automotive company instead of a flour company is a good idea. And I have no doubt that ‘Ol Rodg will be a steadier hand on the tiller than Tony George and Brian Barnhardt were.
    But of course, he is quite advanced in years and will have to put someone else’s hand on that tiller soon- within 10 years, for sure. I wonder who that person will be- Tim Cindric, perhaps?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      Agreed. My guess is the Captain will turn his IndyCar team over to Cindric and take over the IndyCar series personally. He’s 82 and he probably wants to right the ship before he passes on.

      Immense respect for Roger Penske. As a kid in the 80s I was a diehard Rahal/Truesports fan and any day Rahal beat Penske’s guys was a good day.

  • avatar

    I wonder if IndyCar’s rise in viewership is at all correlated to NASCAR becoming such a circus over the past few years.

    I don’t watch either anymore because my “Opportunities to Sit Down at the TV for 4 hours”, “Unscheduled Sunday afternoons”, and the “Temperature in Hell” curves all intersect at zero.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike Beranek

      DVR is a wonderful thing, especially for race broadcasts. There is virtually no risk of someone spoiling the result for you, and you can blast through all of the commercials/yellows/fluff talk. You can even watch at double speed, which is twice s entertaining!

  • avatar

    I wonder whether Roger will be able to leverage that control to breathe new life into the series, or will instead migrate back to too much oval-based racing again. It felt to me like getting Road America back on the schedule since 2016 was a bigger win than any consolidation of power around IMS properties could be. Regardless, this is likely a great move for motorsports overall, because Penske is and always has been such an incredible supporter of open-wheel racing in the US.

  • avatar

    I look forward to the big yellow pacetruck.

  • avatar

    The first thing IndyCar needs to do is expand their schedule. Here we are in November and F1 still has 3 races on their calendar while the Indy boys were hitting the golf course before September was even up.

    Maybe a couple NASCAR/IndyCar doubleheader weekends? A few years ago we went to Texas to watch the NASCAR Trucks and IndyCar. They’ve already floated the idea of a date with the Cup Series. If anyone could make that happen it’s Roger.

  • avatar

    Mainstream automotive manufacturer: “We bring racing technology to all of our vehicles.”

    Prospective customer: “Sounds great!”

    Manufacturer-sponsored racing team engine technician: “We rebuild the engine after every major event.”

    Prospective customer: “Ummmmmmmm…”

  • avatar

    Roger Penske can finally finish doing for Indycar what he did for Trans Am and Can Am racing.

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