In a major shake-up for the motorsports world, Hulman & Co. has entered into an agreement to sell the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), IndyCar, IMS Productions, and associated subsidiaries to Penske Corp. after 74 years of ownership.
According to several auto racing news outlets, the sale is expected to close in January once necessary government approvals occur and other conditions are met. In a news release published Nov. 4, 2019, on the IndyCar website, Hulman & Co. Chairman Tony George said his company initially approached Penske with the opportunity.
“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,” said Tony George, chairman of Hulman & Co. “Now, we are honored to pass the torch to Roger Penske and Penske Corp., as they become just the fourth owner of the iconic Speedway.”
The press release also discussed the history of IMS, and more specifically, Hulman & Co.’s association with it:
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.
The transaction will make Roger Penske just the fourth owner of the iconic speedway. Penske’s own extensive history of managing motorsports properties dates back to 1973 with the acquisition of Michigan International Speedway. Penske and its subsidiaries also have been responsible for operating the Grand Prix of Cleveland, Nazareth Speedway, and California Speedway.
The IndyCar Series—which recently has seen improved TV ratings and interest among enthusiasts—is a natural fit for Penske, the winningest team owner in Indianapolis 500 history, according to ESPN.
“My passion for racing began at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1951 when I attended the Indianapolis 500 with my father,” said Penske, whose race team celebrated its 50th IMS anniversary 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.”