Is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IRL up for sale?

With the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard this weekend a big question that begs to be answered is beginning to circulate with continuing changes in management of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IRL.  Are the two entities up for sale?

If you haven’t been following the “As the Speedway Turns” events, here’s the Reader’s Digest version.

Tony George is out as President of both Hulman & Company, which owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedwayand the Indy Racing League which he started in 1995.  In are two business persons who have been in the Hulman & Company organization, W. Curtis Brighton and Jeffrey Beiskus.

Now comes the announcement that IMS President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood is leaving after the Allstate 400 to become the VP of Business Development for ISC. ISC is the International Speedway Corporation which owns racetracks such as Daytona, Michigan, California, Chicago, Watkins Glen and so on.  The France family, which runs Nascar are the major stockholders.

Put all of that together and one has to wonder if the Hulman family is thinking of selling the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or the IRL or possibly both.

I could see a scenario where the Hulman family “leases” the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to ISC allowing them to run all operations.  The Hulmans would get rid of day-to-day responsibilities and have a steady income.  It would give ISC another marquee facility to go with Daytona.

ISC could then not only put Nascar at IMS, but bring in the Grand Am series, which Nascar owns, to run the road course.

As far as the IRL, Nascar could buy up the assets of that organization which is in desperate need of sponsors and fans.

Some wishful rumors circulating have team owner and businessman Roger Penske possibly buying the IRL.  I don’t see that happening as Roger was somewhat down that road in the CART days and he’s busy enough with his acquisition of Saturn.

With all of that said, I have no clue what is going to happen, but I do know the Hulman family got here because of greed and stupidity. 

They were living the high life back in 1995 before wayward child Tony George decided to start the IRL.  . Ego I believe got in the way along with whispers from Nascar Land that Tony George needed to be emperor of open wheel racing just like the France family was with stock car racing.

Instead of banking the millions the Brickyard 400 generated and the millions a packed house each May for the Indianapolis 500 brought in, Tony George embarked on his foolish and costly Indy Racing League debacle where some say he’s wasted hundreds of millions of dollars in 19 years.

So what is ahead?  I wish I knew, because I do care about the heritage of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and what it once stood for. I also wish I could say that ISC taking over the track would be a bad thing, but having watched the family of Tony Hulman who was responsible for bringing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway back to prominence destroy what shouldn’t be able to be destroyed, it might be the best thing that can happen.


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