Roger Penske's Penske Entertainment Corp. has purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where his racing team has won the Indy 500 a record 18 times.
Roger Penske says the company has no intention to change the management teams now in place at Hulman & Co. and its subsidiaries. Chairman Tony Hulman George looks on during a news conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
With the deal announced Monday, Penske Entertainment Corp. will take over the iconic speedway, which has been in the Hulman family for 74 years, by early next year.
"We are honored to pass the torch to Roger Penske and Penske Corporation, as they become just the fourth owner of the iconic Speedway", George said.
The Captain's six most recent Indy 500 victories have all been earned by different drivers going back to 2003, with Gil de Ferran winning in 2003, Sam Hornish Jr. winning in 2006, three-time victor Helio Castroneves winning in 2009, two-time victor Juan Pablo Montoya winning in 2015, Will Power winning in 2018 and most recently Simon Pagenaud winning earlier this year.
Penske's latest investment will lead to an interesting situation by which Penske will own a leading IndyCar team as well as the series in which the outfit competes.
"This business is not broken; this is a great business and the leadership team that's been here has done an outstanding job and what we want to do is be a support tool", said Penske. He said the family approached Penske after the last race of the season as to not distract from the season.
The final transaction is expected to close in January, prior to the start of North American racing season, following the receipt of applicable government approvals and other standard conditions. The family will have an opportunity from Penske to remain involved with both the series and the speedway, and Tony George said he will take Penske up on the offer. For a number of years, the Hulman & Company management and board have engaged outside advisers and experts to consider the full range of strategic options available.
Michael Andretti called it "positive news" for the speedway and the series while Bobby Rahal called Penske the "perfect custodian".
CART was once the most popular form of motorsports in the US, but NASCAR swallowed open-wheel racing during the tumultuous times after Tony George created the Indy Racing League. The deal also includes ownership of the IndyCar series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway productions. Penske, who turned 82 in February, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump last month. He was the owner of Michigan Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Nazareth Speedway and South Carolina Speedway. Penske's business has also operated the Grand Prix of Cleveland, Nazareth Speedway and California Speedway over the years. 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.