The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will soon be under new ownership.
Hulman and Company announced Monday that it has entered an agreement with Penske Corporation to sell the company’s operating assets -- including the iconic racetrack, the IndyCar Series and IMS Productions.
Tony George, chairman of Hulman and Company, said he first approached Roger Penske with the idea in late September. The two spoke briefly just before the start of the final IndyCar race of the season in California.
“I just simply said that I’d like to meet with him and talk about stewardship. He got a very serious look on his face,” George recalled. “And I followed up after he clinched his championship, with an email and then another email the next morning and we set it up.”
Six weeks later, the deal is in place and Penske is about to become just the fourth owner of the 110-year-old racetrack.
The transition comes after 74 years of Hulman family ownership. Tony Hulman purchased the speedway in 1945 after it sat quiet for four years during World War II, and restarted the Indianapolis 500 in 1946.
Five years later, a young Roger Penske attended his first Indy 500 with his father and was hooked on racing. He would go on to build a global transportation, automotive and motorsports empire and become the winningest car owner in Indy 500 history with 18 victories – the latest this past May.
George said the torch is being passed to an individual who has created a corporation “ideally suited” to take over stewardship of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Penske said he is committed to the stewardship of the historic facility and race, and to improving wherever possible.
“We’re going to invest capital. We know the economic benefit that this race brings to the region is amazing and we want to grow that,” Penske says. “It’s important to us.”
The sale is expected to close in January. Penske declined to comment Monday on the financial terms of the deal, saying Penske Corporation and Hulman and Company are both privately held businesses.