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INDYCAR drivers challenging deep Chili Bowl field

NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers continued their challenge of a deep and experienced midget racing field as the 34th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl raced toward Saturday’s finals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

One night after Santino Ferrucci finished fifth in a C-Main qualifying race, James Davison was 10th in a similar race Thursday at Tulsa Expo Raceway. Davison was poised to finish higher but was bumped from behind in the last corner of the final lap.

Conor Daly is scheduled to race Friday night. All of the record 360 entered drivers will be slotted into stepladder races Saturday.

Ferrucci, coming off a successful 2019 rookie campaign with Dale Coyne Racing, and Davison, a five-time Indianapolis 500 starter, are making their dirt-track racing debuts this week. They were given only a handful of practice laps on this quarter-mile indoor track before their first heat races.

Ferrucci started his heat race on the front row alongside five-time Chili Bowl champion and dirt-track legend, Sammy Swindell. Davison was one of 73 drivers competing Thursday, and the night was won by NASCAR Cup Series rookie Christopher Bell, the three-time-reigning champion of this prestigious event.

The driver contingent competing in this event encompass 40 states and six countries. Among them are seven former Chili Bowl champions, plus NASCAR Cup standouts Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman. Larson, Bell and Rico Abreu won their respective nights this week.

“For Santino and I, this is Day 1 in a midget and racing on dirt, and we only got (a few) minutes of practice prior to our heat races,” said Davison, a native of Melbourne, Australia who plans to compete in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 this season. “We’re having to figure everything out at the Super Bowl of dirt racing, and it’s obviously not an ideal, textbook situation.

“But we’ve at least had the (guts) to sign up and do this and not care if we look bad.”

Daly, who will compete on INDYCAR’s road and street circuits this year in the No. 20 Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter Racing and in a third team entry in the Indianapolis 500, is competing in the Chili Bowl for the second time. Ferrucci and Davison have seen the draw to competing in Tulsa.

“It’s a blast and I want to get good at it, and the only way that’s going to happen is by doing it more,” Davison said. “I’m up for any challenge, and I want to get good at this.”

Added Ferrucci: “I don’t really care how I do; I came here to have fun, stay clean and have a blast. I want to come back and do it again next year.”

Ferrucci, Daly and Davison are driving with help from David Byrd, whose inspiration for supporting talented open-wheel drivers comes from his father, Jonathan, who helped Rich Vogler and Stan Fox compete in Indianapolis 500s. David Byrd also helped Bryan Clauson compete in the 500 in 2015 and ’16.

Weeknight action of the Chili Bowl can be viewed online by pay-per-view at racinboys.com. Saturday’s final feature races will air on the MAVTV Motorsports Network. Results can be found at chilibowl.com.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins March 13-15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida.

PENSKE CORPORATION COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, THE NTT INDYCAR SERIES AND IMS PRODUCTIONS

PENSKE CORPORATION COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, THE NTT INDYCAR SERIES AND IMS PRODUCTIONS

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 6, 2020) – Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader, announced today that it has completed its acquisition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), the NTT IndyCar Series and IMS Productions.

“We are looking forward to carrying on the tradition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar racing,” said Roger Penske. “We have been diligently working with the teams at IMS, INDYCAR and IMS Productions over the last two months to ensure a smooth and productive transition and we are ready to hit the ground running. Now, it is time to get to work as we continue the growth of the Speedway and we build on the momentum of the NTT IndyCar Series.”

Penske Corporation becomes just the fourth owner in the history of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which has hosted the world’s largest single-day sporting event – the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race – for more than 100 years. Penske joins Carl Fisher, who built the track in 1909, Eddie Rickenbacker, who purchased IMS in 1927, and Tony Hulman and Hulman & Company, which has owned and managed the Speedway since 1945. The iconic venue has also hosted NASCAR, Formula One and other racing series events throughout its storied history. The NTT IndyCar Series continues to be the premier open-wheel racing series in North America and is one of the most competitive championships in the world. IMS Productions is a leading video services and production company.

 

Top INDYCAR Stories of 2019

SOURCE: INDYCAR

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 18, 2019) — While INDYCAR enjoyed several intriguing stories during this year’s NTT IndyCar Series season, the blockbuster came after the season when Roger Penske announced that Penske Corporation would be acquiring Indianapolis Motor Speedway, INDYCAR and additional Hulman & Company holdings.

The November announcement was no doubt the most captivating story of 2019 for INDYCAR, but it also ranked among the top stories in all of motorsports with its worldwide interest.

Tony Hulman purchased the Speedway in dilapidated condition in November 1945 and turned it into one of the world’s most iconic sporting venues. Over the past 75 years, Hulman and his family have reshaped the facility and hosted Indy cars, NASCAR, Formula One, MotoGP, major golf tournaments and concerts, among other events.

The official sale is scheduled for early January and most expect the impact Penske will have on the sport and the famed track in the future could be even greater than his record 18 Indianapolis 500 victories.

With the Penske acquisition news leading the way, here’s a look at INDYCAR’s top stories of the year:

  1. Penske acquires IMS, INDYCAR: Tony George, Hulman & Company’s Chairman of the Board, said he first approached Roger Penske about buying the company’s assets on the final day of the NTT IndyCar Series season, which was Sept. 22 in Monterey, Calif., at the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. Private, highly confidential meetings were held over the next six weeks, with only a handful of executives included in the negotiations. Penske seemed genuinely pleased that one of the biggest secrets in motorsports history held until the deal was formally announced Monday, Nov. 4, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  2. NBC airs its first Indianapolis 500, becomes exclusive home of the NTT IndyCar Series: The 500 had been on ABC since 1965, so that alone made the switch to NBC newsworthy. But NBC also significantly increased exposure for the NTT IndyCar Series through its first of a multiyear deal. Eight races were shown live on network television, three more than in 2018, and fans enjoyed action of all on-track activity via NBC Sports Gold, a leading direct-to-consumer product. Another positive was the inclusion of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in NBC’s “Championship Season” marketing campaign.
  3. NTT joins as the series’ title sponsor: The signing of a multiyear agreement with the global information technology and communications leader was executed in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The agreement affords INDYCAR the opportunity to benefit from NTT’s digital innovations, including the evolution of the INDYCAR Mobile App and integration of NTT’s proprietary Smart Platform.
  4. INDYCAR introduces Aeroscreen, hybrid technology: INDYCAR announced a partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies during the Indy 500 race weekend for the development and implementation of an Aeroscreen for enhanced driver cockpit protection. The safety innovation, which will make its competition debut at the outset of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, consists of a ballistic Aeroscreen anchored by titanium framework that encompasses the cockpit. The Aeroscreen had its first on-track test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Team Penske’s Will Power, who both considered the initial outing a success. Other tests followed at Barber Motorsports Park, Richmond Raceway and Sebring International Raceway. The Aeroscreen has been described by INDYCAR President Jay Frye as “a game-changer.” For 2022, INDYCAR, in partnership with Chevrolet and Honda, will implement a single-source hybrid system in its race cars. In keeping with INDYCAR’s history of integrating innovation into the sport, the hybrid powertrain will mark the first time that vehicles will depart from the traditional, manual hand-held electric starters to a hybrid component that can be activated by the driver from the cockpit. Additionally, engines are targeted to exceed 900 horsepower.
  5. Pagenaud has a history-making Month of May in Indianapolis: For the first time, the same driver won all three major Indianapolis Motor Speedway events in May: the INDYCAR Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 pole and the 500 itself. In the 500, Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud led 116 of the 200 laps and outdueled Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport in the final laps to become the first Frenchman to win the race since Rene Thomas in 1914. Pagenaud also became the first pole winner to win the 500 since Helio Castroneves in 2009.
  6. Juncos/Kaiser bump McLaren/Alonso from Indianapolis 500 field: Who imagined Fernando Alonso, a two-time Formula One World Champion who ran so well in the 500 in 2017, failing to earn a spot in his return? Or revered McLaren, which came to Indy with its own program for the first time in this era of the sport, also going home early with Alonso? But the orange No. 66 Chevrolet was in a precarious position in the final minutes of qualifying, and Kyle Kaiser, driving for the small, part-time Juncos Racing team, ran four laps fast enough to make the show in a thrilling David-vs.-Goliath matchup.
  7. Newgarden wins four races, captures second series championship: Josef Newgarden won a season-high four races en route to his second series crown in three years with Team Penske. He also joined Sam Hornish Jr. as the only Americans to win multiple series crowns since Al Unser Jr. in 1994. Newgarden jumped to the top spot in the standings by winning the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and relinquished the position only once – after Simon Pagenaud won the 500 – to effectively go wire-to-wire against a strong field.
  8. History-setting Herta leads stout rookie class: Colton Herta of Harding Steinbrenner Racing made the first emphatic statement by winning the season’s second race, the inaugural INDYCAR Classic at Circuit of The Americas, to become the youngest race winner in INDYCAR history at 18 years, 11 months, 25 days. Herta added another victory in the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Felix Rosenqvist of Chip Ganassi Racing won the season’s Rookie-of-the-Year Award on the strength of two top-three and six top-five finishes while the Indianapolis 500’s top-finishing rookie, Santino Ferrucci of Dale Coyne Racing, produced three fourth-place finishes in addition to a seventh at Indy. Marcus Ericsson of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports finished second in the second Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix race while Carlin’s Pato O’Ward put on a show at COTA in finishing eighth. Ben Hanley of DragonSpeed, a part-time team making only its third INDYCAR start, delivered a strong effort at the 500, qualifying 27th.
  9. McLaren, SPM merge, hire O’Ward and Askew: McLaren, with its Formula One pedigree and rich history, announced in August its full-time return to Indy car competition in a partnership with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The team was rebranded Arrow McLaren Racing SP and also announced a partnership with Chevrolet. More change followed with the 2019 driving tandem of James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson being replaced by Oliver Askew and Pato O’Ward, the two most recent series champions of Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires. At 23 and 20 years, respectively, Askew, the 2019 champion, and O’Ward, the ’18 champ, form the youngest pairing in the series.
  10. Rossi re-signs with Andretti Autosport: The 28-year-old Alexander Rossi could have become a highly sought-after free agent with a number of enticing options, but he decided to re-sign with Andretti Autosport in July. In addition to announcing a multi-year deal with Rossi, Andretti Autosport also announced a renewal with Honda. The Rossi-Honda tandem was strong in 2019, with the Californian finishing third in the NTT IndyCar Series championship, which was the top finish for the engine manufacturer. He also delivered dominating wins at Long Beach and Road America, leading an impressive 134 of the combined 140 laps, and a runner-up finish in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

INDYCAR announces green flag times for 2020 NTT IndyCar Series

INDIANAPOLIS (December 9, 2019) – INDYCAR released the green flag times today for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season that features starting time shifts at four races – St. Petersburg, Circuit of The Americas, Iowa and Mid-Ohio – and the anticipated evening return to Richmond Raceway. Those four returning races represent the only significant green flag start…

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Aeroscreen passes its final 2019 test at Sebring International Raceway

SEBRING, Florida (November 5, 2019) – INDYCAR continued its Aeroscreen development program Tuesday at Sebring International Raceway with Arrow McLaren SP and Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan participating in the fourth and final test session of the year. The conditions for the one-day test could only be described as ideal for testing the safety innovation, with…

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Penske Corporation To Purchase Hulman & Company

Acquisition to include the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and IMS Productions

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. (November 4, 2019) – The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company announced today that it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. Penske Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Penske Corporation, will acquire all Hulman & Company principal operating assets, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and IMS Productions. The transaction will close following receipt of applicable government approvals and other standard conditions.

The acquisition by the Penske organization will carry the future of the legendary Speedway and the IndyCar Series forward for the next generation of racing fans.

It was the vision of Carl Fisher to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in 1909 and the track hosted its first races later that year. Eddie Rickenbacker later purchased the Speedway in 1927 before selling it to Tony Hulman and Hulman & Company in 1945. IMS has been the host of the world’s largest single-day sporting event – the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race – for more than 100 years. The iconic venue has also hosted NASCAR, Formula One and other racing series events throughout its storied history. The NTT IndyCar Series continues to be the premier open-wheel racing series in North America and is one of the most competitive championships in the world. IMS Productions is a leading video services and production company.

“We recently approached Roger Penske and Penske Corporation about this opportunity and began working to put an agreement in place,” said Tony George, Chairman of Hulman & Company. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the centerpiece 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 honored 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 organization to lead the sport of IndyCar racing and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway into the future.”

Penske Corporation has a rich history of managing major motorsports properties, beginning with the acquisition of Michigan International Speedway in 1973. Over the course of its history, Penske and its subsidiaries have also operated the Grand Prix of Cleveland, Nazareth Speedway and California Speedway, along with investments in North Carolina Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Penske Corporation currently promotes and operates the Detroit Grand Prix, hosted annually at the Belle Isle Park street circuit.

“My passion for racing began at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1951 when I attended the Indianapolis 500 with my father,” said Roger Penske, whose race team celebrated its 50th anniversary of first competing at IMS this year. “We have so much respect and appreciation for the history and tradition of the Speedway and the sport of IndyCar racing. I want to thank Hulman & Company for the opportunity to build on this legacy and it will be an honor for Penske Corporation to help lead these great institutions forward into a new era.”

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the NTT IndyCar Series have enjoyed considerable growth over the past decade, with significant increases in television, digital and social media audiences combined with record attendance at many of our race venues,” said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Hulman & Company. “With their track record of business success, their venue, operation and event experience and their passion for motorsports, Roger Penske and Penske Corporation will help us take the IndyCar Series, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all of our properties to new heights. Everyone on our team looks forward to working with them to capitalize on the momentum that the Series and the Speedway have achieved.”

Hulman & Company’s financial adviser was Allen & Company LLC, and its counsel was Ice Miller LLP for this transaction.

About Penske Corporation
Penske Corporation is a closely-held, on-highway, transportation services company whose subsidiaries operate in a variety of industry segments, including retail automotive, truck leasing, transportation logistics and professional motorsports. Penske Corporation manages businesses with consolidated revenues of more than $32 billion, operating more than 3,200 locations and employing more than 64,000 people worldwide.

About Hulman & Company
Hulman & Company is committed to worldwide leadership in motorsports competition and entertainment through its three entities, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), INDYCAR and IMS Productions. IMS is the world’s largest spectator sporting facility and the most famous racetrack on Earth. INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based sanctioning body for the fastest and most competitive open-wheel racing series, the NTT IndyCar Series. IMS Productions is a leading provider of motorsports and sporting entertainment experience solutions.

The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company are announcing the sale of the company and certain subsidiaries, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions (IMS Productions), to Penske Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Penske Corporation

The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company are announcing the sale of the company and certain subsidiaries, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions (IMS Productions), to Penske Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Penske Corporation

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INDYCAR completes short oval Aeroscreen test at Richmond Raceway

RICHMOND, Virginia (October 15, 2019) – INDYCAR took another important step in the development of its cockpit-protecting Aeroscreen with Tuesday’s two-car test at Richmond Raceway, a 0.75-mile short oval that will play host to the NTT IndyCar Series next June. This was the third of four scheduled Aeroscreen tests this fall and it went so well…

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INDYCAR, IMS Tap Schafer Condon Carter to Create National Brand Campaigns

INDYCAR, IMS Tap Schafer Condon Carter to Create National Brand Campaigns    

Chicago Cubs and Indiana Pacers among Clients of Award-Winning Chicago-Based Agency

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 – INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have named Chicago-based Schafer Condon Carter (SCC) as their comprehensive creative agency of record, charged with developing aligned national promotional campaigns surrounding the NTT IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

SCC, founded in 1989, creates award-winning campaigns and strategies for a diverse, impressive range of local, regional and national clients in sports and consumer products, including the Chicago Cubs, Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever, Procter & Gamble, Danone, Portillo’s restaurants and more.

The first campaigns of the multiyear partnership will be unveiled before the start of the 2020 racing season.

“SCC is the right choice to help the INDYCAR and Indianapolis 500 brands gain an even greater national profile and continue their trend of year-over-year growth in media consumption and ticket sales,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent company of INDYCAR and IMS. “SCC’s outstanding work speaks for itself, with its creativity and energy earning many national awards, recognition and success for all kinds of clients. We believe they can help us more effectively and aggressively position the NTT IndyCar Series, our teams and drivers and all of our world class sporting events at IMS.”    

SCC will work to elevate the brands and accelerate the momentum of the NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, closely aligning the synergies and strategies between the world’s most competitive racing series and the world’s largest single-day sporting event.

One particularly recognizable campaign SCC executed for the Chicago Cubs is the “Fly the W” campaign that was a hallmark of the Chicago Cubs’ 2016 world championship season.

“We are extremely honored to have been selected by INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to become their strategic and creative partner,” said David Selby, CEO of SCC.  “The opportunity to help steward and grow the iconic INDYCAR and Indianapolis 500 brands is exceptional.  They are unique in the world of sport, and among an elite group of brands with such rich history and legacy.  All of us at SCC look forward to playing a critical role in elevating their positioning and driving deeper fan engagement with the NTT IndyCar Series, the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and all of the exceptional events and experiences at IMS.”

SCC is an independent creative and technology agency that connects humans and brands through insight-fueled experiences. A simple mission drives SCC’s entrepreneurial, people-first, results-obsessed culture – We work for humans. SCC’s work is based on deep human insights and an understanding of the communities and cultures within which brands compete.

SCC’s integrated practices include SCCdigital, SCCprism, SCCdesign, SCCmedia, and MAKE247 content studio. The company also operates a private equity portfolio, SCCventures, with holdings in the food and tech sectors. SCC is privileged to work with outstanding partners that include Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, The Chicago Cubs, Ideal Industries, Portillo’s Restaurants, Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market and Solo Cup.

The independent agency is a fully integrated shop employing over 120 creative, energetic, passionate professionals based in the eclectic West Loop neighborhood of Chicago. To learn more about SCC, visit www.schafercondoncarter.com.

Aeroscreen’s first on-track test deemed a huge success

INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, Oct. 2) – INDYCAR, in collaboration with Red Bull Advanced Technologies, staged its first on-track test of a revolutionary Aeroscreen on Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the officials and drivers involved couldn’t have been more pleased. Five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing and 2014 series champion Will Power…

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