Cummins Inc. and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday announced a five-year sponsorship deal that will coincide with the Indiana-based engine manufacturer’s 100th anniversary taking place this year.
The agreement between the Speedway and the Columbus-based company was made public at a news conference at Cummins’ regional headquarters in downtown Indianapolis. Officials declined to provide financial terms of the deal.
The deal includes extensive signage for the company during the Indianapolis 500, the IndyCar Grand Prix and the Brickyard 400. The company also will have a presence at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
Mark Miles, CEO of IMS parent company Hulman & Co., said in written remarks that the “partnership is a perfect fit between two proud Hoosier companies.”
He said the rights fee paid by Cummins is on par with what other sponsors pay to use IMS and Indy 500 monikers and logos in their marketing material.
Miles said the deal provides “a platform for Cummins’ industry-leading technology and products for years to come.”
Part of the sponsorship includes a parade lap before the Indy 500 that will feature five Cummins-engineered cars that participated in previous races. The engine maker's first appearance in the Indy 500 was in 1931; its last was in 1952.
Each of the cars has been meticulously restored by Cummins employees who volunteered to help find parts—or create them using 3D printing technology—and get the vehicles in working order, said Jennifer Rumsey, chief technical officer for Cummins.
She said the sponsorship deal with the Speedway “continues a longstanding relationship” and is a good opportunity for the company to highlight its work.
While the company historically used the Indy 500 as a platform to test its new technologies and ideas for diesel engines during the first half of the 20th century, open-wheel racing has moved away from that model since the 1950s, meaning it’s unlikely Cummins will make a move back into the fold.
It’s a “long shot” diesel engine technology will return to the IndyCar series, Miles said, noting that while the racing series is looking for a third car manufacturer to join Honda and Chevrolet, what Cummins offers “is a bit different.”
Rumsey said while the company is continuing to develop new technologies, it’s unlikely those will be utilized at the Speedway or elsewhere in the sport.
“Racecars and engines have evolved,” she said. “So the opportunity to do that is not still there today [for Cummins].”