INDY SPEEDWAY SOLD!!!
Nov 4 - On May 15th of this year, I put forth a worrisome
theory that the Hulman family might sell the Indianapolis
Motor Speeedway. (Read the article.) I have not seen
anyone else predict this! I sure didn't expect it to come
true this soon!
But this morning, the Board of Directors of Hulman &
Company will announce the sale of the company and
certain subsidiaries, including the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis
Motor Speedway Productions (IMS Productions), to
Penske Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Penske
While I had worried mightily about who the track would
be sold to. I can think of few organizations at present that
worry me less than Roger Penske's. His love of racing
and of the Indy 500 should make him a great owner.
However, he is 82-years-old. Who will be in charge of
the track and IndyCar when he's not around?!
More news to follow.
UPDATE: A press conference was held at 11 a.m. today
with Roger Penske, Tony George and Mark Miles,
George was emotional as he spoke of his long-time family
businesses being sold off. He said that he approached
Penske after this year's IndyCar season was over and
asked him about stewardship of the Hulman company.
It sounded like Penske was surprised, but that he made a
fairly quick decision to proceed. George said that they
did a good job of keeping this sale a secret up until this
Penske says he will no longer be in the pit box running his
team and that he will try to avoid any conflict of interest.
He plans to keep the same management that is in place
now and has no plans to make any changes as of yet.
He expects to be spending more time in Indianapolis,
though he lives in Detroit.
Since both companies are privately owned, the price being
paid was kept secret.
Transcript of Press Conference
WHO COMES AFTER ROGER?
Roger Penske seems like a good choice to lead IndyCar
and the Indy Speedway if you forget he participated in a
coup to bring IMS and the Indy 500 to their knees 24
years ago and thus started the Indycar war that greatly
damaged the sport. For that matter, the largest teams in
the sport, including Ganassi and Andretti, were all part of
the insurrection. Do you remember who stayed true to
the Indy 500 and IMS? A.J. FOYT! He deserves to be
steward! It's all about the money of course, and Foyt
doesn't have the Penske loot.
Roger Penske (b. 1937) is reported to be in good health,
minus a kidney. He is also known as a driven man who
works around the clock.
But he's 82-years-old. How long will his health hold out?
How long will it be before someone else is running things?
As it happens, Roger has five adult sons from two wives:
Roger Jr. (b. 1960), Greg (b. 1962), Mark (b. 1976), Jay
(b. 1979) and Blair (b. 1980).
At least some are entrepreneurs and have ties to the auto
industry and motor sports.
Greg is the chairman/CEO of Penske Motor Group which
owns and operates Toyota, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz
dealerships in California and a Toyota dealership in Texas.
He was the president and CEO of Penske Motorsports,
Inc., which operated racetracks across the country,
including the development of the Auto Club Speedway
(formerly California Speedway) in Fontana, California. He
serves on the Board of Directors for Penske Corporation
(holding company for Penske Automotive Group, Penske
Motor Group, Penske Truck Leasing, and Team Penske).
Roger Jr. also owns dealerships including Penske Honda of
Ontario, L.A., Long Beach, Irvine and Riverside CA. He
was President of Penske Automotive Group until March
While Jay did some racing and was a partner in Luczo
Dragon Racing, he started Penske Media Corp in 2004
and has built it up, aquiring Variety, Fairchild Publishing
and Rolling Stone magazine to list a few.
While one of Penske's sons could take over for him, he
stated in 2013 that his successor will be determined by the
Penske Corp's board of directors.
My fear has always been that the Hulmans might sell the
speedway to some rich foreigners from China or Bahrain,
so I am satisifed with Penske. It doesn't seem likely that
the Penskes will be selling it off any time soon.
While trying to find the above information, I came across a surprising amount of wealth and a suprising amount of
secrecy - I found nothing on Blair and this photo of Roger Junior must be from 1980. I suppose when you're super
rich, it's a good idea to be low key if you can. Heck, I try to stay low key myself!
MSR Expands to Full IndyCar Season
Nov 8 - Ohio-based Meyer-Shank Racing, with Auto
Nation / SiriusXM, announced they will race in all of the
IndyCar events in 2020 with a technical alliance with
MSR first competed in IndyCar in 2018 with help from
SPM. They raced in six events under the name "Michael
Shank Racing." In 2019 they ran ten IndyCar races and
took on a new partner, Jim Meyer, the CEO of XM
Radio, thus changing the team's name to "Meyer Shank
The only oval event they participated in either year was
the Indy 500.
Jack Harvey will continue to be their driver for the next
two years. He is British and raced formula cars in Europe
before coming to America in 2014 where he spent two
years in Indy Lights, racing for SPM. In 2017 he won the
Indy Light's Freedom 100. He also gained some IndyCar
experience that year competing in the Indy 500 for
Andretti Autosport and at Watkins Glen and Sonoma for
To date, his most impressive IndyCar performance was
this year's IndyCar Grand Prix at Indianapolis where he
finished 3rd in the rain.
|Jack Harvey & MSR IndyCar Results
Legendary Indy 500 Engine Builder
Nov 10 - Louis "Sonny" Meyer Jr., one of the most
accomplished and successful engine builders in Indianapolis
500 history, died Saturday, Nov. 9 in Crawfordsville,
Indiana. He was 89.
Meyer was the son of Louis Meyer, the first three-time
winner of the Indianapolis 500 as a driver.
Sonny joined Meyer & Drake Engineering shortly after
Dale Drake and Sonny’s father, purchased the “Offy”
engine business from Fred Offenhauser in early 1946.
In addition to his engineering duties, Sonny also served as
an Indianapolis 500 crew member, becoming a chief
mechanic for the first time in 1958 when Tony
Bettenhausen finished fourth after leading the first
Indianapolis 500 laps of his storied career.
When Louis Meyer sold out to Dale Drake in 1964 to
become a distributor for Ford’s double-overhead-
camshaft V8 racing engine, Sonny relocated to Indianapolis
where he mentored many future chief mechanics during
the next five years.
In 1973, he was the engine man for Gordon Johncock’s
Indianapolis 500 winning car at Patrick Racing, led by
Sonny’s then brother-in-law George Bignotti.
It is estimated that Sonny directly prepared 15 winning
Indianapolis 500 engines.
His tenure at Patrick Racing was followed by a stint at
Vince Granatelli Racing and then several more years as
development engineer on John Menard’s potent V6
He is survived by his wife, Sue; daughter, Pam; son, Butch;
and stepson, Scott Balch.
IndyCar Silly Season - ECR
Nov 21 - At Ed Carpenter Racing, drivers Ed Jones and
Spencer Pigot were not resigned for next year.
Today ECR announced the hiring of 19-year-old Dutch
driver Rinus Van Kalmthout as the full-time driver of
the No. 21 Chevrolet for 2020. (He is popularly known
in the U.S. as VK or VeeKay.)
VK began his career in the Road To Indy in 2017 where
he drove for Pabst Racing. He finished 2nd to Oliver
Askew in the USF2000 series.
In 2018 he switched to the Juncos team and moved up to
the Pro Mazda series. He won the championship.
This year VK moved up to Indy Lights and finished 2nd
(Askew was hired by the new McLaren IndyCar team for
In all, VK earned 16 Road to Indy victories and 36 podium
finishes in 48 races.
Ed Carpenter, who will be driving in his 18th season, will
continue to pilot the No. 20 car at oval tracks. The road
and street course seat for the No. 20 is still under
Since ECR’s inception in 2012, the No. 21 Chevrolet has
always featured an Indy Lights graduate.
IndyCar Silly Season - Dale Coyne Racing
Nov 22 - Dale Coyne Racing has released 40-year-old
driver Sebastien Bourdais.
Team Owner Dale Coyne said, “It is not a decision we
take lightly, but due to the ever-changing landscape of
Indy car racing, we have no choice but to make a change
for 2020. We wish Sebastien all the best with his future
Bourdais competed under the Dale Coyne Racing banner
in 2011 and 2017 and Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-
Sullivan for the 2018 and 2019 IndyCar seasons. In that
time, Bourdais has won back to back races at the Grand
Prix of St. Petersburg, his home town event, and scored
three other podium finishes.
The Frenchman won the Champ Car Championship four
years in a row, from 2004 - 2007. He later raced in
Formula 1 in 2008 & 2009. He helped Ganassi win Le
Mans in 2016.
F1 Silly Season - Williams
Nov 29 - Last month I mentioned Canadian Nicholas
Latifi might replace Robert Kubica in the Williams driver
line-up for 2020. It has been confirmed.
Briton George Russell will continue to drive for the team
Latifi has spent this season as the team's reserve driver
and has taken part in a number of practice sessions.
Latifi finished second in this year's Formula 2 champion-
Williams' announcement means the full driver line-up for
the 2020 season is now complete.
|The Williams Car at Brazil race this month