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Penske Corporation to buy Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the NTT IndyCar Series

Penske Corporation to buy Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the NTT IndyCar Series

Indianapolis, IN (Nov 4/19 (IndyCar): The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company announced today that it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. Penske Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Penske Corporation, will acquire all Hulman & Company principal operating assets, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and IMS Productions. The acquisition by the Penske organization will carry the future of the legendary Speedway and the IndyCar Series forward for the next generation of racing fans.

"We recently approached Roger Penske and Penske Corporation about this opportunity and began working to put an agreement in place," said Tony George, Chairman of Hulman & Company. "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. Now, we are honored to pass the torch to Roger Penske and Penske Corporation, as they become just the fourth owner of the iconic Speedway. There is no one more capable and qualified than Roger and his organization to lead the sport of IndyCar racing and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway into the future."

Penske Corporation has a rich history of managing major motorsports properties, beginning with the acquisition of Michigan International Speedway in 1973. Over the course of its history, Penske and its subsidiaries have also operated the Grand Prix of Cleveland, Nazareth Speedway and California Speedway, along with investments in North Carolina Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Penske Corporation currently promotes and operates the Detroit Grand Prix, hosted annually at the Belle Isle Park street circuit.

"My passion for racing began at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1951 when I attended the Indianapolis 500 with my father," said Roger Penske, whose race team celebrated its 50th anniversary of first competing at IMS 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."

"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the NTT IndyCar Series have enjoyed considerable growth over the past decade, with significant increases in television, digital and social media audiences combined with record attendance at many of our race venues," said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Hulman & Company. "With their track record of business success, their venue, operation and event experience and their passion for motorsports, Roger Penske and Penske Corporation will help us take the IndyCar Series, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all of our properties to new heights. Everyone on our team looks forward to working with them to capitalize on the momentum that the Series and the Speedway have achieved."

My comments (GRW):

This has to be welcome news. It is good to hear that a leader in American motorsport is taking on this important property. We can expect that the management of this whole package can only benefit from such a leaderin the business of motorsports taking on challenge as the new owner. This is a man with a strong track record – in business and in the business of auto racing.

While Roger Penske can, at times, be a controversial figure that controversy was often the result of his ability to come into any part of the sport and play a very dominant role. In other words he has been criticized for being too successful. Successful as a driver, team owner, track owner, race car manufacturer. It is long overdue for the tired Hulman dynasty to hand over the reins to someone like Penske who has demonstrated the will and the ability to make his projects work.

I look forward to this new Penske-owned enterprise revitalizing the IMS and the IndyCar operations. Here in Canada, we continue to hope that the IndyCar series will be able to strike a deal with a Canadian broadcaster to make broadcasts of all IndyCar races freely available to all race fans in Canada. For that matter, is it too much to hope that this new ownership will be able to find ways to inject new life into the IndyCar race in Toronto? Or even find a way for the series to return to Montreal or Vancouver?

This development comes on the heels of the Amelia Island Concours announcing that they will be making Penske the centrepiece of their show there next March 5-8. I am hoping that they will be able to assemble a huge array of cars with the ‘Penske’ connection: cars he raced himself, cars for which he was the team owner in many different series, cars he manufactured and raced as ‘Penske’ cars. And now that he has become a track owner again, perhaps a tribute to his role as a track owner/promoter (Michigan International Speedway, California Speedway, Nazareth Speedway, Homestead, Belle Isle and more I can’t think of just now) and now owner of the whole Indy racing kit and caboodle.

I know I’m repeating myself but this move can only be good for Indy car racing and for racing in America as a whole.

I have always been a supporter of the F1 races at Indianapolis. My hope now is that with both IMS and F1 under new ownership (both with a more pragmatic view of the practicalities of staging a second F1 race in America) that we will see the F1 series return to IMS. For my money, this is a much more practical and workable plan than the dreams of staging real Grands Prix in New York, New Jersey, Long Beach, Las Vegas, or Miami.

In these days of apparent declining interest in auto racing, it is good news to see a powerful and capable figure like Roger Penske take over IMS and the Indy racing organization.

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