Penske buys Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar series
Roger Penske just bought Indianapolis Motor Speedway, according to an announcement this morning. After 74 years of ownership, the Hulman family sold the track and its subsidiaries, including the NTT Data IndyCar Series, to the motorsports magnate.
Anton “Tony” Hulman Jr. purchased the famed speedway in 1945. The Terre Haute-born businessman rejuvenated the facility from its rundown, postwar condition to the gem that it is today. It’s fair to say that the entire Hulman family has been the driving force behind the most iconic track in America, long after Tony’s death in 1977. More recently, Hulman’s grandson Tony George, as president and CEO, ushered the track into the 21st century and now serves as chairman. Last November, the matriarch of the family, Hulman’s daughter and George’s mother, Mari passed away.
Roger Penske has his tendrils deep into several corners of the automotive industry. The billionaire’s Penske Corp. is made up of numerous subsidiaries, including Team Penske (NASCAR, IndyCar, IMSA, V8 Supercar teams), Penske Truck Rental, and Penske Entertainment Corporation highlight a long list of companies, holdings, and dabblings. It was technically the Penske Entertainment group that signed the dotted line in the sale of the Speedway and its assets. We’ve yet to learn how much dough it cost in total.
What does this all mean for race fans? Hard to say. If we’re to trust any billionaire with the future and success of American auto racing’s greatest asset, Penske would be at the top of the list. Since his first visit to the 1951 Indianapolis 500, as a spectator, Penske has gone back to win the iconic race as team owner a record 18 times. He also has a fantastic track record—literally. When Penske puts his name on something, it performs. Last year his NASCAR team won the Championship with Ford and this year his team just notched their IMSA championship with Acura. He goes big.
Our fingers are crossed that the resources and attention the Penske name brings will benefit the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for at least another 74 years of stellar ownership.