On Monday, Penske Entertainment Corp. purchased Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series as the Hulman family hands over control of the prestigious speedway after 74 years of motorsports entertainment.
“Great day for our family and our team,” Roger Penske said in a text message to The Associated Press.
Tony Hulman has owned the complex for 74 years, just after a four-year drought of racing following World War II. With this move, Penske will now become the fourth owner in the track’s 110-year history.
This move came just a couple of weeks after NASCAR and the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) announced their merger in an effort to further advance fan experience enhancement at more tracks across the schedule after some races have started to see an increase in TV viewership. IndyCar is on a similar positive slope as more fans are tuning in to the races and more sponsors are developing an interest in the sport.
Penske’s success in both series is no secret. Brad Keselowski won his first Brickyard 400 driving for Team Penske. Penske holds the record for the most Indianapolis 500 victories as an owner with 18, including earlier this year with Simon Pagenaud. The organization also earned its 15th championship this year when IndyCar crowned Josef Newgarden.
According to documents to various IndyCar teams on Monday regarding the news, the sale is expected to close in early January.
“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 advisors 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.”
Even rival team owners chimed in with positive insight on the acquisition.
“I think it’s good. It’s really good, it’s great,” Chip Ganassi told Associated Press. “The place is going to be run like a business now.”
“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,” team owner Michael Andretti stated. “Both the Indy 500 and the NTT IndyCar Series have been on a rise, and I look forward to the continued climb.”
But it hasn’t just been fellow competitors who see eye-to-eye concerning the purchase. McLaren, who will join IndyCar as the newest competitive manufacturer in 2020, is also looking forward to the growth of the sport with the purchase. Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren, has been a longtime Indianapolis businessman who also has a racing marketing background.
“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. “His business acumen and dedication to IndyCar racing and passion for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is second-to-none,” he said.