Roger Penske Buys Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series
The Hulman George family has owned the iconic race venue since 1945, when Anton “Tony” Hulman bought it for $750,000.
Penske Entertainment Corp. is the new owner of the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar, and the racing series' broadcasting arm IMS Productions. The sale was confirmed by both parties involved Monday morning.
According to a brief press release sent by the Speedway, the board of directors of Hulman & Company approved the sale of the company and certain subsidiaries to the Roger and Jay Penske-owned conglomerate, which also owns Rolling Stone and other popular entertainment, automotive, and media brands.
Specifics of the sale were not immediately revealed, and even during the press conference with Penske, Chairman of Hulman & Company Tony George and President and CEO of Hulman & Company Mark Miles, the transaction price was not revealed.
"We’re [Penske] a private company and Hulman & Co. is a private company, so we will not disclose price at this time," said Penske.
Rumors regarding the future of the racing facility swirled after the death of the family matriarch and IMS Chairman of the Board Emeritus Mari Hulman George on Nov. 3, 2018. Miles and other executives mostly put these to rest when asked by the media, but now it's evident that a deal has likely been in the works for a very long time.
"It was an important decision for my family to make," said Chairman of Hulman & Company Tony George. "It's been 74 years nearly to this day that we've been involved with IMS, and we're very proud to come together [with Penske] to make some important decisions about its future."
"We've taken it as far as we can, and Roger and his organization will take it to another level," he added. "We support to continue elevating this [IndyCar/IMS] and staking a new claim on its future."
Penske remained tight-lipped on future changes to both the Speedway and the racing series, only saying that the current management would stay in place for the foreseeable future. He also claimed that he would perform a walkaround of the facility on Tuesday to address fan-impacting areas of improvement. As far as IndyCar is concerned, Penske claimed that he will step down from the box to assume his new role, meaning he will no longer call the shots for Team Penske drivers. He also expressed his desire to bring on a third engine manufacturer into the series.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the world-famous Indy 500 race, which is considered motor racing's crown jewel along with the Monaco F1 Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, was acquired in 1945 by Anton "Tony" Hulman from Eddie Rickenbacker for a reported $750,000. It has remained in the Hulman George family ever since, along with other non-racing enterprises that have also been sold off in recent years, including the family's first original business: Clabber Girl Corp.
"In 1951 my dad brought me here when I was 14 years old, and that’s when I got the [racing] bug," said Penske. "To think of what IMS and the 500 have meant to our organization, and now to have the opportunity to take on this investment I certainly think is very special."
"I hope my dad is looking down at me and saying 'son, you’ve done a good job,'" added Penske.