Penske bought IndyCar - what now?

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Words: Nile Bijoux
8 Nov 2019

Roger Penske has had a pretty good year. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom, his local lad Scott McLaughlin won Bathurst, then he went and bought IndyCar as well as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). So, what’s he going to do with them?

Penske sat down with AutoWeek to discuss the potential ramifications of his spending spree. The 82-year-old said the purchases were seventy years in the making, following his father first bringing him to the Indianapolis speedway when he was ten years old. His team has had 18 victories at the track, a gold medal in the Nascar Brickyard 400 as well as five IndyCar championships.

As an aside, Penske also owns Michigan International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway in California and is the promoter of the Detroit Grand Prix double header IndyCar weekend. He's also worth nearly $US2 billion.

Now, as IndyCar and prototype racing look to a new era, Penske wants to expand the repertoire of the IMS.

That could mean a Formula 1 race or an endurance sports car event, as well as a Nascar/IndyCar double header. He said the track's claim as The Racing Capital of the World is a valid one, but he wants to make Speedway, Indiana, an entertainment capital of the world as well.

However, the deal putting Penske in charge doesn’t formally close until January. Nothing will be set in stone until the 2020 season is well underway and even then, he said he will defer to current heads Mark Miles and Jay Frye, meaning there won’t be major changes initially.

As for the complications of owning a series as well as a team competing in that series, Penske said he understands there has to be a “tight line”.

“To me 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. I'll do my very best to be sure that there isn't.

"If you (in the media) think there is... I know that you folks will tell me pretty quickly. So, I've got a lot of guys watching me."

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