Penske buys Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar …

Posted: November 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series have been sold to Penske Entertainment Corp. in a stunning deal that relinquishes control of the iconic speedway from the Hulman family after 74 years.

Hulman & Co. Chairman Tony George and CEO Mark Miles scheduled an 11 a.m. Monday news conference with Penske Corp. Chairman Roger Penske at the speedway.

Penske Corp. is one of the most successful and influential companies in the history of auto racing and regularly fields several drivers for the IndyCar series and Indianapolis 500.

Tony Hulman bought the dilapidated speedway in 1945 and brought racing back to the city after a four-year hiatus following World War II.

The speedway spun off multiple other subsidiaries, including the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions, which are also part of the deal to Penske Entertainment. That group is a subsidiary of Penske Corp.

Penske, 82, is the winningest team owner in Indianapolis 500 history with 18 victories.

The billionaire is the chairman of Bloomfield Hills-based Penske Corp., which operates the country’s second largest auto dealership group, and the owner of motorsports racing organization Team Penske.

Roger Penske has also championed the annual Detroit Grand Prix race since resuscitating it in 2007. Penske organizes the race, which his camp claims has a $50 million impact on the local economy each year.

Penske’s love of the Indianapolis speedway dates to 1951 when his father, Jay, scored a pair of tickets to the Indianapolis 500 from the metal fabrication company in Cleveland he worked for. He brought his 14-year-old car-loving son to the speedway to see the event live after listening to it only on the radio for so many years.

Penske was instantly hooked and has missed only six Indianapolis 500s since, five of which came when the IndyCar Series was formed by Tony George and split from CART. Penske teams remained in CART, and CART teams were not welcome at the 500.

Penske Corp. generated revenue of $31.8 billion in 2017 with nearly 60,000 employees worldwide and is Southeast Michigan’s largest privately held company, according to Crain’s data.

Penske himself has a net worth of $1.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Tony George, the grandson of Tony Hulman, has long run the speedway and its properties along with his sister and a board of directors. But matriarch Mari Hulman George, daughter of Tony Hulman, died last December and the family has now turned over all of its racing properties to Penske.

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