Penske willing to “take a risk” on future Indy events

Penske Entertainment, the new owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar, will conduct business case studies for a more adventurous roster of events at IMS – including a possible IndyCar/NASCAR double-header, a 24-hour race or even Formula 1.

Penske willing to “take a risk” on future Indy events

It was announced this morning that the Penske Corporation’s new entity, Penske Entertainment, has purchased IMS, IndyCar and IMS Productions. Roger Penske has now revealed that his business team, and that currently run by Mark Miles as president of Hulman & Co., will work together over the next 60 days to increase the appeal of the sport and the track. 

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Asked specifically about the possibility of an IndyCar/NASCAR double-header weekend, Penske responded: “Well, I think it was interesting to see [Josef] Newgarden run around what they call the Roval down in Charlotte several weeks ago, and I think it was pretty exciting. I think some of the fans had never seen an Indy car on an oval or a racetrack. 

“Tony [George, long time owner of Hulman & Co.] will give us some of his input and certainly Mark and the team, too. 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.

“I think we have to look at investments in lights or something else we can do here to make the Speedway and IRL a going entity that gives us the results that we expect. 

“What I intend to do tomorrow is walk the entire facility and strategically sit down with the existing team and get their top 10 [priorities] – I always like to work from a top 10 – and see things that we can do to make it fan-friendly, serve [the series] from a competitive perspective.

“I’m planning to step down from being a strategist on the pitbox – you won’t see me there on raceday. I think I’ve got a bigger job to do now to see how we can build the series to the next level. It would be nice to bring another car manufacturer in – I know [IndyCar president] Jay Frye is working on that… 

“We look at the Speedway itself, the investment with the $100m that was put in a few years ago before the 100th [running of the Indy 500 in 2016], I think you've seen a tremendous change, and we want to add capability. What can we use this for? Can we run a 24-hour race here? Can we run a Formula 1 race here? What are the things we can do? This is a great asset.”

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Author David Malsher-Lopez
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