INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHI) - Monumental news out of Indianapolis today. After 74 years.. the Hulman Family is parting ways with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That means the home to the greatest spectacle in racing will be under new ownership. It's an announcement that caught many people off guard.
The Penske Corporation is now the new owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series. Officials announced the decision Monday morning at a press conference at the Speedway. Hulman & Company owned IMS for over seven decades.
Chairman of Hulman & Company Tony George called Monday a "bittersweet" but "very exciting" day as they passed the torch to a huge name in racing--Roger Penske. He will become just the fourth owner of the 110-year-old Speedway.
Tony Hulman bought Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1945. Governor Eric Holcomb says the Hulman family resurrected the race and brought it back to life.
Tony George is the grandson of Tony Hulman. He has run the speedway and its properties along with his sisters and the board of directors. His mother Mari Hulman George died last November. Since then, George, his sisters, and the board have made a series of moves divesting their businesses. This includes the sale of Clabber Girl to B&G Foods in May.
George says it was simply time to move on. "I think we all realize as a family and as an organization that we probably have taken it as far as we can," he said.
The Hulman-George family had owned the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1945. George said after conversations within the family, they agreed it was time to look to sell. They could think of no one better than racing mogul Roger Penske.
The Hulman-George family approached Penske after the final race last season. Both sides said the move made sense and is a "hand in glove" fit for the Speedway.
Penske is the winningest team owner in Indy 500 history with 18 victories. That includes this past May's winner Simon Pagenaud. Governor Holcomb says this is a great fit for what he believes is Indiana's most iconic asset. "To think about Mr. Penske and the resources that he can bring to the table," Holcomb said, "I'm so excited about the next 100 years."
"I have the utmost respect for the Hulman family," Penske said, "The fact that you would select us for an opportunity to take on this investment is amazing."