Penske downplays conflict of interest concerns

Roger Penske downplayed suggestions that his new role as incoming owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the NTT IndyCar Series represents a conflict of interest due to his also being a team owner.

“As you look at the construct as we go forward, the sanctioning body and will be a separate company, and the other assets will be in the Speedway,” he said.

“But I don’t want to leave this conversation without knowing that I understand the integrity, and there’s got to be a line. 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 know that you folks will tell me pretty quick. So I’ve got a lot of guys watching me.”

Initial reactions from rival IndyCar team owners showed little evidence of such concerns on their part.

“This is great news for the industry,” said Chip Ganassi. “The news will provide a shot in the arm to both the sport of auto racing and specifically to the IndyCar Series. Roger is a good friend and a class act, and all of his businesses are run well and with integrity. I couldn’t be happier for all of us that are involved with the sport.”

Ganassi’s support was echoed by RLL co-owner Bobby Rahal.

“Roger Penske’s commitment to the sport we love is over six decades long, and I am confident that his stewardship of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series will ensure a great future for the sport,” he said.

“His many successful business ventures underline the fact that he is the perfect custodian of one of the most historic venues in the world and is the perfect architect to build the foundation for the next 100-plus years of the sport. We look forward to working with Roger in order to make the IndyCar Series and the Indy 500 the best it’s ever been.”

BREAKING: Hulman and Co sells IMS, IndyCar to Penske

Hulman and Co has sold the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the IndyCar Series, IMS Productions and associated subsidiaries to Penske Entertainment Corp.; a subsidiary of Penske Corp.

The sale was jointly announced by both parties on Monday morning.

No further details have been released, although Hulman and Co President and CEO Mark Miles, Tony George and Roger Penske are scheduled to speak to the media later this morning.

This story will be updated.






IndyCar, IMS tap Schafer Condon Carter to create national brand campaign

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.


Dixon set to initiate testing of new aeroscreen

The NTT IndyCar Series is preparing to conduct its first tests of the new aeroscreen cockpit protection device.

Using a design created by Red Bull Advanced Technologies, the prototype unit, featuring a Formula 1-style halo wrapped in a screen made from ballistic material, could turn its first laps in September at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Dixon, the five-time and defending series champion, was nominated to conduct the first outing with the RBAT aeroscreen to complete a testing journey that began with the Chip Ganassi Racing driver during pre-season running at Phoenix in 2018.

On the one-mile Phoenix oval, the New Zealander sampled the original aeroscreen, made from PPG’s Opticor material, which lacked the rigid halo and spine incorporated into the new RBAT model. Dixon has also conducted additional testing with the new unit in a simulator.

Having amassed the most on-track and virtual aeroscreen mileage among all the drivers in the series, IndyCar is likely to use Dixon’s feedback from the No. 9 Honda during the IMS test to either sign off on the RBAT design, or continue working on improvements.

Provided Dixon gives the aeroscreen his approval, the next test on the schedule would follow in October at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. The challenging road course would see both Chevy and Honda teams installing and using the aeroscreen, and if that test is successful, a follow-up, and possibly final test run would take place at Sebring International Raceway.

As the most popular testing facility among IndyCar teams, the central Florida road course — which usually offers plenty of sun and glare — would give the series an opportunity to put the aeroscreen through challenging lighting conditions.

It’s unclear when and where IndyCar will attempt to test the aeroscreen in the rain to test its visibility at the opposite spectrum of what Sebring would offer. Given the frequent showers that can accompany sunny Florida testing, the series could encounter both scenarios at Sebring.

Assuming the RBAT aeroscreen moves through all three tests without interruption, initial deliveries of the final model are targeted for December.