IMS, IndyCar Series sold to Penske Corporation

Roger Penske (WTHR Staff)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been sold to the Penske Corporation.

WTHR Sports Director Dave Calabro confirmed the news Monday morning.

According to a news release, "The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company are announcing the sale of the company and certain subsidiaries, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions (IMS Productions), to Penske Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Penske Corporation."

Tony George, Chairman of Hulman & Company, Mark Miles, President and CEO of Hulman & Company and Roger Penske, Chairman and Founder of Penske Corporation formally announced the sale at an 11 a.m. news conference.

"It was an important decision we considered for a long time," George said. "We're very proud to have come together the last several months to make a decision."

George went on to call it bittersweet because of his family connection, but excited about what the sale to Penske could mean.

"As a family we realized we had taken it as far as we can," George said.

He said the family approached Penske after the last race of the season so that it didn't distract from the season.

Miles added that the Hulman family will still be involved. Tony George said that he personally looks forward to that opportunity to remain involved.

"The most important thing in this transaction and making these arrangements is the transition from the phenomenal heritage of where we come from and transferring that to Roger Penske," Miles said.

Roger Penske said he had talked to A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti early Monday about what the Indy 500 has meant to them.

"I just want to thank everyone involved in this," Penske said. He went on to say he is looking forward to seeing what they can do to make IndyCar even stronger and potentially add more fan zones.

"I want to ensure that we will be as good as we've been," Penske said. "We want to see what we can do to make it better."

Penske would not elaborate on changes he might have in mind, but said he will continue to work to expand IMS as a hub for entertainment and economic impact for the area.

Penske said they will sit down with the team owners to discuss other ways to improve the sport. He also said there could be an expanded NASCAR presence and added "without risk there is no reward."

The hope is to have the sale complete by the end of the year.

Penske said there will not be a conflict of interest and there will be a clear, bright line that separates his race teams from the entertainment ownership.

Roger Penske watching the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. (WTHR Photo/Scott Hums)
Roger Penske watching the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. (WTHR Photo/Scott Hums)

Penske's teams have won a record 18 Indianapolis 500 races, and his drivers have sat on the pole 18 times.

“Mr. Penske’s vision, team and high expectations will ensure Indiana’s most iconic asset continues to grow. Along with IndyCar, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway forms the core of an entire racing industry that employs thousands of people and pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy," said Governor Eric Holcomb.

Carl Fisher built 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.

Mayor Joe Hogsett released this statement following the announcement:

“Today marks the start of a new chapter for the city of Indianapolis, as the torch is passed from the Hulman George family to another leader who shares a passion for the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the legacy of IndyCar.

For decades Hulman & Company has overseen one of Indianapolis’ greatest assets, acting as community partners and stewards of our state’s most prized tradition. Residents across the city and around the globe, all have stories of the wonder of IMS, thanks to the dedication of the Hulman George family.

I know Roger Penske and the Penske Corporation will continue this legacy, acting as ambassadors for Indianapolis and presiding over another century of progress, innovation, and sporting excellence at the world’s greatest racetrack.”