Leader of IndyCar series, IMS staying on ‘indefinitely’

Mark Miles points out aspects of IMS to Roger Penske after a press conference announcing Penske Corp.'s acquisition of Hulman & Co. (Photo courtesy of IMS)

Mark Miles told IBJ this week that he will continue to lead IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after their sale to Detroit-based Penske Corp. early next year.

Since 2012, Miles has been president and CEO of Terre Haute-based Hulman & Co., which owns the racing series, the track and IMS Productions.

Miles, 66, said will be the CEO of Penske Entertainment—a new division of Penske created for the Indianapolis-based properties—and will continue the duties he had with Hulman.

He said he plans to stay “indefinitely” and is “not planning on retiring” or leaving the sports industry anytime soon. He said the same would have been true even without a sale to Penske.

“I’ve been through seven years of caring deeply about the speedway and IndyCar,” Miles told IBJ. “We have the opportunity now to try to take it to a whole other level. I’ve had no thought of doing anything else.”

The sale to Penske is expected to close the first week of January (pending regulatory approval) in a deal worth roughly $300 million, according to industry insiders.

Penske Chairman Roger Penske, who also owns an IndyCar team and dozens of other assets, said Miles was clear and direct when they first spoke about him continuing to oversee IndyCar and IMS as their chief executive.

“I’m in,” he told Penske.

“There wasn’t any hesitation at all,” Penske told IBJ. “I didn’t have to wait a day to get a return answer—it was spontaneous, just as I’d hoped would be the case.”

The racing tycoon said he hasn’t discussed with Miles just how long the longtime sports executive will stick around.

“The only people I have contracts with are my drivers,” Penske said. “To me, it’s about wanting to work for our company and continuing the leadership. … [Right now it’s] business as usual.”

Miles said “the whole management team is staying in place” following the sale, including IndyCar President Jay Frye and IMS President Doug Boles.

In addition, Tony George, creator of IndyCar and chairman of Hulman & Co., may be involved in the new company—though it’s not clear in what capacity.

Miles himself said after his hire in 2012 he would be at Hulman for “at least three to five years” to turn around the then-struggling business, but didn’t commit beyond that.

“I was not planning to leave [pre-Penske] and I plan to stay now indefinitely,” he said this week.

“Roger’s track record is incredible and he is incredibly passionate about this opportunity. To be part of the senior team and to see what we can do together is thrilling.”

Since the sale was announced Nov. 4, extensive meetings have occurred between Penske and his top lieutenants and the Hulman motorsports leadership team to prepare for the change in ownership.

Penske said he was presented hundreds of pages of documents exploring the intricacies of the properties he’s buying from the Hulman-George family, which has owned the track since 1945.

Penske spent several days in Indianapolis in recent weeks learning the finer points of the operations of IMS and IndyCar. That included nearly 36 hours of talks Sunday and Monday. He also attended Wednesday’s Indiana Pacers game, sitting courtside with Miles and other IndyCar officials,

Miles and Penske declined to go into specifics about the post-sale strategy for IMS and IndyCar, but Miles said it likely will include cost-cutting maneuvers and new capital investment in both IMS and the IndyCar series, with a focus on improving the fan experience.

Penske has said he has big ideas for how to improve IMS, including the possibility of adding lights to the speedway and bringing back Formula One.

He said he hopes to turn the venue into an “entertainment capital,” using nearly 1,000 acres of land owned by the speedway—much of which is currently devoted to event parking.

“Everybody’s just kind of going to school,” Miles said. “We’re looking for opportunities to grow (IndyCar), to take advantage of the scale and resources of Penske Corp.”

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: IBJ is now using a new comment system. Your Disqus account will no longer work on the IBJ site. Instead, you can leave a comment on stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Past comments are not currently showing up on stories, but they will be added in the coming weeks. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

6 thoughts on “Leader of IndyCar series, IMS staying on ‘indefinitely’

  1. I am a conservative. There is nothing conservative about giving tax payer money to Irsays, Simons, and Hulmans, which is now going to Penske. Roger could live up to conservative ideals and forego diverting tax dollars to pay for upgrades to the ostensibly private speedway. Eric P, which fact is incorrect?

  2. IBJ May 11, 2013Indiana

    Gov. Mike Pence has signed a bill that will provide a $100 million state loan to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for planned improvements.
    Pence had earlier expressed concerns about the funding plan for the home of IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400. But after signing the measure Friday, he said in a prepared statement that the Speedway loan is a state investment that “will further economic development in the motorsports industry while also protecting the interests of Hoosier taxpayers.”
    He also said the Speedway has contributed to Indiana’s economy for more than a century and has enhanced the state’s “global reputation.”
    The law will direct growth in sales and income tax collections from the track and a new ticket fee toward paying off the loan over 20 years.

    Roger might just pay the debt off early. Not that I am a fan of loaning money to (M) Billionaires. There is a ROI.

    Not sure what investments they made with a 100 million other than the Project 100 work not sure that was a 100 mil.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.