Penske Corporation purchases Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar

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Roger Penske's teams have won the last two Indianapolis 500s. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Roger Penske's teams have won the last two Indianapolis 500s. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Roger Penske, the most successful owner in Indianapolis 500 history, now owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Hulman & Company announced the sale of the historic track and the IndyCar Series to the Penske Corporation early Monday. The Penske Entertainment Group is the official purchaser of the track and the series. The Hulman family has owned the track for 74 years.

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Team Penske fields three full-time teams in the IndyCar Series and won the 2019 Indianapolis 500 with Simon Pagenaud. Team Penske also fields teams in NASCAR that will race at Indianapolis in 2020 along with a sports car team that competes in IMSA. Team Penske drivers have won over 500 races throughout various auto racing series and Penske has 18 Indianapolis 500 wins. In addition to Pagenaud’s win in the Indy 500, Josef Newgarden won the 2019 IndyCar championship.

It’s not the first time that Penske has owned a track that his teams have competed on. Penske was the original owner of Auto Club Speedway before selling it to NASCAR’s now-defunct International Speedway Corporation. He also owned Michigan International Speedway for over 25 years before ISC purchased it.

Penske, 82, has always spoken with reverence about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500. It’s the most historic track in American auto racing and the 500 is the most fabled race. It’s easy to see why Penske was interested in purchasing the property. Though, to be quite frank, no one outside of either the Penske Corporation or Hulman & Company had any idea this purchase would become a reality in 2019.

The purchase also means that Penske will field teams in a series he owns next season. But that’s not new for IndyCar either. Tony George, the man who helped engineer the split between the Indy Racing League and Cart in the 1990s, fielded an IndyCar team for a long time while he owned the series.

Penske’s ownership of Indianapolis Motor Speedway also gives him a massive stake in the future of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. The Cup Series race’s future at the track has gotten more and more tenuous as fewer and fewer people attend and the date of the race keeps getting shifted around.

Will Penske want to keep NASCAR at the historic oval beyond 2020? If he doesn’t — or simply doesn’t find it feasible from a business perspective — NASCAR could be looking for a track to replace Indy in 2021.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports

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