News broke this morning that sent shockwaves through the motorsports community. Legendary team owner Roger Penske had agreed to purchase the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series, and IMS Productions.
Hulman and Company sold all the above and associated subsidiaries to Penske Entertainment Corporation, which is a subsidiary of Penske Corporation. The sale is will be finalized in January, but The Captain will begin work immediately. Roger will do a full walk of the entire facility and grounds to determine what future races and events could be possible. He stated that he will step down as race strategist and focus on IndyCar and IMS duties.
While it has taken everyone awhile to wrap their heads around the news, it can only be viewed in a positive manner. Roger is arguably one of the best businessmen in the world. Whether it is sports or business outside of sports, everything he touches turns to gold. There is no one that understands the importance of the Indianapolis 500 and the legacy it carries better than Mr Penske himself. The full press release from today is below.
[Indianapolis Motor Speedway Press Release]
The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company announced today that it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. Penske Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Penske Corporation, will acquire all Hulman & Company principal operating assets, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and IMS Productions. The transaction will close following receipt of applicable government approvals and other standard conditions.
The acquisition by the Penske organization will carry the future of the legendary Speedway and the IndyCar Series forward for the next generation of racing fans.
It was the vision of Carl Fisher to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in 1909 and the track hosted its first races later that year. Eddie Rickenbacker later purchased the Speedway in 1927 before selling it to Tony Hulman and Hulman & Company in 1945. IMS has been the host of the world’s largest single-day sporting event – the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race – for more than 100 years. The iconic venue has also hosted NASCAR, Formula One and other racing series events throughout its storied history. The NTT IndyCar Series continues to be the premier open-wheel racing series in North America and is one of the most competitive championships in the world. IMS Productions is a leading video services and production company.
“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.”
Penske Corporation has a rich history of managing major motorsports properties, beginning with the acquisition of Michigan International Speedway in 1973. Over the course of its history, Penske and its subsidiaries have also operated the Grand Prix of Cleveland, Nazareth Speedway and California Speedway, along with investments in North Carolina Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Penske Corporation currently promotes and operates the Detroit Grand Prix, hosted annually at the Belle Isle Park street circuit.
“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 Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the NTT IndyCar Series have enjoyed considerable growth over the past decade, with significant increases in television, digital and social media audiences combined with record attendance at many of our race venues,” said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Hulman & Company. “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. Everyone on our team looks forward to working with them to capitalize on the momentum that the Series and the Speedway have achieved.
IndyCar rival Bobby Rahal commented: “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.”
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France said of the acquisition: “The Hulman-George family has been instrumental in the growth of motorsports through their passion for racing, elevating Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series to a global scale, and we thank them for their leadership and significant contributions to NASCAR. Roger Penske is incredibly accomplished across both motorsports and business and we look forward to the successful operation of these properties under his experienced leadership.”