Penske’s speedway purchase draws talk of conflict of interest

IndyCar

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The sale of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series to team owner and billionaire Roger Penske has a lot of people talking.

The big question: Is it fair for a team owner to also own the speedway and the racing series itself? Is this a conflict of interest?

Would it be like Jim Irsay keeping the Indianapolis Colts and becoming the NFL commissioner?

Racing fan Charlie Holmes said, “It might be somewhat. I hope the tradition stays and it stays Indianapolis Motor Speedway and not ‘Penske Indianapolis Motor Speedway.'”

Another racing fan, Patsy Phillips, said, “The racetrack needed something because they were losing money, and the main race was. But, I think they will have lots of checks and balances.”

People on WISH-TV’s social media accounts shared mixed reactions.

Gary McDonald on Facebook said, “I believe Roger as far as saying he is aware of this situation and teams/ fans / media will keep him in check and said he would have a bigger role to fill in everyday business handling IMS operations that will keep him busy. Roger is a smart guy and I would trust his word on him knowing and doing what’s in the tracks / series best interests.”

Christopher Pote wrote on Facebook, “It’s a very sad day now that Penske is taking over IMS.”

Bud Cook said on Facebook, “Conflict of interest?” ABSOLUTELY! Bring on the IndyCar umpires.”

But, Dale Grove wrote on Facebook, “It is no different than Tony George owning a car and IMS and the series. I think Roger Penske is going to do all he can to make IMS better as well as IndyCar.”

News 8 racing analyst Tyce Carlson took on the question about a conflict of interest: “Everybody thinks that, you know, he’s going to be able to rig everything around. He’s got people in charge that aren’t going to let that happen. They know that if something happens and if other car owners see that — they are making it to where he can win and they can’t — the series will dismantle. Those guys are going to go other places and race in other series, and he just lost what could be a billion-dollar investment.”

Carlson said this transaction won’t put the odds unfairly in Penske’s favor. The News 8 racing analyst added that racing fans just need to give Penske time to prove this will be the best of both worlds for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its fans.

“He wouldn’t have bought IMS and Hulman Co. without thinking this all the way through. He’s going to get off the pit box. He’s not going to be a race strategist anymore. I think that it’s going to be the total opposite of a conflict of interest.”

Carlson added that another good sign is major racers backed the transaction: “That bodes well.”

More coverage of the sale of IMS, IndyCar

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