In 1945, after four years of silence and wartime had engulfed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tony Hulman walked the grounds, and agreed to purchase the 2.5 mile oval. After much work and revitalization, the Indianapolis 500 was ran once again in 1946, as the Hulman family ushered in a new age of racing to the Speedway, breathing life into the track for the first time since 1941.
However in 2019, a new age of the Speedway is being ushered in, as IMS is set to be sold at the end of this year to team owner Roger Penske.
Since its opening in 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a source of ingenuity and an economic gold mine for Hoosiers all over Indiana. However, of its 110 years of existence, the Speedway has been owned by the Hulman/Hulman-George family for over 74 years, spanning three generations of leadership.
After Tony Hulman’s death in 1977, the Speedway was passed off to his daughter, Mary Hulman-George, who oversaw the upkeep and well-being of the Speedway, in her father’s memory. Hulman-George passed away in November of 2018, and is known to race fans all over the world, for her iconic “Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines” call before each Indianapolis 500.
In the final years of Hulman-George’s life, Mary passed the torch of the Speedway off to her son, Tony George. But with the passing of his mother, and the intense burden of running and helping to coordinate the largest single day sporting event of each year, it was decided by George and the Board of IMS’ parent Hulman and Company, to sell the Speedway and the NTT IndyCar Series to racing legend Roger Penske.
Penske also owns the Michigan International Speedway, in addition to his world famous IndyCar, NASCAR, and his Sports Car teams; also including many car dealerships and Penske Truck rental agency.
The amount Penske paid for IMS and the IndyCar Series, has not been disclosed, as both are privately owned entities and do not have to disclose their negotiations.
The sale of the Speedway was met with sadness and reflection by members of the racing community, but also with happiness and excitement as racers from all over praised Penske, stating he is “the right man for the job” to keep the Speedway up.
No immediate changes or revisions have been announced pertaining to the Speedway or the IndyCar Series under Penske, but is most likely to occur in the near future.
Tickets for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 are currently on sale, and can be found at IMS.Com.