FILE PHOTO: IndyCar: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump hosts a presidential Medal of
Freedom ceremony for Roger Penske at the White House in
The deal makes the former professional driver the fourth owner
of the sprawling 110-year-old speedway, where the crown jewel of
American open wheel racing is held each Memorial Day weekend
with the running of the Indianapolis 500.
"I've got a big commitment here to take over certainly as the
steward of this great organization and what's been done here in
the past for so many decades," Penske, the 82-year-old founder
and chairman of Penske Corp., told a news conference.
Financial terms of the deal, which will see Penske Corp.
subsidiary Penske Entertainment acquire all principal operating
assets of family-owned Hulman & Company, were not disclosed.
Penske, who is the most successful owner in the Indianapolis 500
race with 18 victories, was very bullish when speaking about the
future of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is already the
highest-capacity sports venue in the world.
"We look around this 1,000 acres and think, 'Can this be the
racing capital of the world and the entertainment capital of the
world in Indiana?'" said Penske, whose racing interests include
IndyCar and NASCAR teams.
"We're going to invest capital. We know the economic benefits
that this race brings to the region is amazing and we want to
grow that, it's important to us."
Penske floated several possibilities for what could be in store
at the speedway, ranging from additional fan zones to a 24-hour
race and even a return for Formula One, which held its United
States Grand Prix there from 2000-2007.
"This business is not broken. This is a great business," said
Penske. "We're looking forward to seeing what we can do to make
IndyCar even stronger."
Penske began racing in the late 1950s and won the Sports Car
Club of America's Presidents Cup in 1960, 1962 and 1963. He won
Sports Illustrated's Driver of the Year award in 1961.
After retiring from driving in 1965, Penske started his own race
teams. Over the years he has built an automotive company with
one of the most recognizable names in American motorsports and
employs more than 50,000 people worldwide.
Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump awarded one of the
nation's highest civilian honors to Penske when he presented him
with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Rival team owner Michael Andretti said Penske's purchase is
positive news for both the speedway and the IndyCar Series.
"Roger has always strived to do great things for both IMS and
IndyCar racing and I'm sure he will continue to do so in this
new ownership position," said Andretti.
"Both the Indy 500 and the NTT IndyCar Series have been on a
rise, and I look forward to the continued climb."
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar
and Ken Ferris)
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