Penske insists no concerns over conflict of interest in buying IndyCar and IMS

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The IndyCar series and the track which hosts its flagship race, the Indianapolis 500, are being bought by Penske Corporate, which runs one of the competitors in the series.

Penske won this year’s Indianapolis 500 and took Josef Newgarden to the championship title, the third time in the last four years one of the team’s drivers has lifted the Astor Cup.

Hulman and Company, which owns IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, confirmed today it will be taken over by the group headed by 82-year-old Roger Penske.

“We recently approached Roger Penske and Penske Corporation about this opportunity and began working to put an agreement in place,” said the chairman of Hulman and Company, Tony George.

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the centrepiece and the cathedral of motorsports since 1909 and the Hulman-George family has proudly served as the steward of this great institution for more than 70 years.

“Now, we are honoured to pass the torch to Roger Penske and Penske Corporation, as they become just the fourth owner of the iconic Speedway. There is no one more capable and qualified than Roger and his organisation to lead the sport of IndyCar racing and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway into the future.”

Penske’s acquisition of the series may raise concerns with the team’s rivals over the potential conflict of interests. He stressed the race team and the championship will be kept apart.

Josef Newgarden, Penske, IndyCar, St Petersburg, 2019
Penske’s Josef Newgarden won this year’s IndyCar series
“As you look at the construct as we go forward, the sanctioning body and [IndyCar] will be a separate company, and the other assets will be in the speedway,” he said.

“I know what my job is and hopefully I’ve got enough credibility with everyone that we can be sure that there is not a conflict, and I’ll do my very best to be sure that isn’t. If you think it is, I hope that [and] I know that you folks will tell me pretty quick. So I’ve got a lot of guys watching me.”

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, whose team will return to the championship next year, said he fully supported the Penske takeover.

“I cannot think of a better owner than Roger Penske and his corporation to ensure the growth and future of IndyCar,” he wrote on social media. “His business acumen and dedication to the sport and passion for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are second to none. High confidence in IndyCar’s bright future.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 15 comments on “Penske insists no concerns over conflict of interest in buying IndyCar and IMS”

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      4th November 2019, 21:07

      You have to think if anyone has Indycar’s best interests at heart it’s the captain

      1. Amen. I think everyone learned a lot from the CART/IRL split, including Mr. Penske.

      2. @fullcoursecaution, I suppose you could say that there is perhaps a potential financial conflict of interest in some areas, as Penske is also a major supplier to the IndyCar series – particularly for suspension components, such as shock absorbers. I don’t think he would necessarily seek to create that conflict, but there is the risk that indirect conflicts of interest could arise.

    2. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      4th November 2019, 21:15

      Penske were pretty much running away with the big prizes anyway
      not much that can change ;)

    3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      4th November 2019, 21:21

      Can imagine him standing on the yard of bricks in May knowing that he owns the place and feeling like it’s a fitting conclusion for his career

    4. This is awesome. Congrats to Mr Penske and his staff.

      Do I have to point out that a few close-related people owns the “pinnacle” open wheel single seaters?

    5. suuurreee. looks like a classic case of vertical integration and consolidation of control.

    6. I’m not at all worried about the IMS purchase, but even with the best of intentions, I don’t feel that one of the competing teams owners also owning the series is a good idea. Even if there don’t end up being any competetive conflicts of interest, it’s hard to see how there won’t be any financial ones.

    7. I’m happy he purchased the series… But running a team in the series does sound A LOT like a conflict of interest

    8. Everyone so far has basically echoed my thoughts: It seems like it’ll be a huge conflict of interest, at the very least financially. As far as competition goes, nothing about Roger Penske suggests to me that there will be a competitive conflict of interest, but now that the opportunity is there… who knows? Right now, Ganassi is Penske’s only real competition on track at the moment, so even if that does arise, how much will change?

      At the very least, I do believe the series is in good hands with the Captain at the helm.

      1. Andretti Autosport says hi….

        You know what, I was going to leave that as is but: you’re right.
        Until they get another class A driver besides Rossi (and they are next year) they really have been just the biggest number three in the series.

        1. @uneedafinn2win LOL I honestly forgot about Andretti. But you make a good point. They’re only 3rd best, and that’s arguably had more to do with Rossi than the team itself. Where Andretti are new reminds me a lot of where Red Bull have been the past few years. Decent car, but still a bit off the pace, and where it falls in the order is largely on the driver.

    9. Kind of an odd feeling having the best team in the series with the richest owner owining IndyCar and the crown jewel of racing, the Indy 500. But, Roger’s companies are so huge he’ll have no problem keeping them seperated.

      Taking IndyCar forward was impossible for the current owners to do. Roger has the resources and will take it forward.

      1. he also owns ilmor who design and manufacturer the Chevrolet engines for indycar surely if he can make that work he can sort out any conflicts of interest with this.

    10. “I know what my job is and hopefully I’ve got enough credibility with everyone that we can be sure that there is not a conflict, and I’ll do my very best to be sure that isn’t. If you think it is, I hope that and I know that you folks will tell me pretty quick. So I’ve got a lot of guys watching me.”

      Best news I have heard in years, as far as the Indycar series and the Indianapolis 500 are concerned. Roger Penske will be good steward for both, has the funding to ensure that the series will remain financially stable and can be depended on to continue, and to tie it up with a nice ribbon Roger is a perfectionist who will not only make this outfit run like clockwork but do so while maintaining the highest standards in every way.

      Imagine. No more worrying about whether or not the Indycar series will remain financially secure and not have to make compromises that threaten the quality and viability of the series.

      Great news.

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