Roger Penske Committed to NASCAR’s Involvement at IMS in “A Big Way”
The motorsports world woke up to big news when it was revealed that Roger Penske is now the new owner of the NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The news coming following the current board of directors of the Hulman Company entering into an agreement to be acquired by Penske Corporation. Under the agreement, Penske Entertainment, a subsidiary of Penske Corporation, will acquire all the principal assets of Hulman & Company, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series, and the IMS Productions.
Although much of the current focus appears to be on what the future of open-wheel racing looks like, the news affects the NASCAR side of the equation with IMS hosting both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series each season.
While stating that he was looking at other uses for the facility referencing a possible 24-hour or Formula 1 event, Penske expressed his commitment to keeping NASCAR in the equation.
“The tradition had been broken in adding the NASCAR race, which obviously we’re going to get behind that in a big way because for 27 years they’ve run here,” he said on Monday morning.
Prior the press conference, Penske spoke with NASCAR’s CEO and Chairman Jim France, who expressed excitement about the deal.
“The Hulman-George family has been instrumental in the growth of motorsports through their passion for racing, elevating Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series to a global scale, and we thank them for their leadership and significant contributions to NASCAR,” France released in a statement. “Roger Penske is incredibly accomplished across both motorsports and business and we look forward to the successful operation of these properties under his experienced leadership.”
Penske was quick to reference the pair have worked together previously, including being partners through International Speedway Corporation with Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“We actually sold our business to them back several years ago,” Penske commented. “So we have a very close relationship and certainly with Jim and with Steve Phelps and Steve O’Donnell and the entire France family. We would expect to take this for many, many years. They need to run at Indiana. We want them to, and there’s no question that we’re going to look at opportunities to expand the relationship with them in the future.”
Both NASCAR and IndyCar have crossed in several discussions in the past, including potential of a doubleheader weekend with the Cup Series and IndyCar Series.
“I think it was interesting to see (Josef) Newgarden run around what they call the Roval here down in Charlotte several weeks ago, and I think it was pretty exciting,” Penske commented. “I think some of the fans had never seen an Indy car on an oval or a racetrack. Look, those are things, sitting down Tony will give us some of his input and certainly Mark and the team, are those things we can do, can we execute those so we bring value here to the speedway.
“Look, we’ve got to break some glass on some of these things, don’t we. We’ve got to try some of this. I’m prepared to take a risk. No risk, no reward in many cases. Those are the things that Mark, with you and your team, that we’ll take a look at. But I wouldn’t say it’s out of the possibility.”
Despite the new business venture, Penske was also quick to reaffirm his commitment to his race team, which currently fields three cars in the Cup Series and a pair in the Xfinity Series.
“We’ve got over 500 people down in Mooresville where we have all our teams, and with Tim Cindric as our leader, I’ll be working with him just as I have in the past,” he said.
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