GRID TOP 10: Penske Top 10 Tasks
The news today of Roger Penske buying the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indycar is monumental news. There are a lot of questions going around on what’s ahead for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis 500, and Indycar series. Let’s take a look at 10 tasks that the new Penske ownership will encounter:
10. Penske Racing Managed by Tim Cindric
Tim Cindric will most likely be the new captain of Penske Racing. Tim will be taking the lead in ensuring all racing teams across all series are winning and seeing great success. This includes IMSA, Indycar, NASCAR Monster Energy Cup, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and Virgin Australia Supercars.
09. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Opens to More Series
In the early 2000s, IMS was positioning itself as the one place for the best racers across all motorsports. With the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 bringing sell out crowd, and the first Formula 1 United States Grand Prix being a sell out, things were looking good. However, several detrimental events changed and now IMS is one strong event is the 500. Look for Roger to approach other series, including no racing promotions, for more events at IMS.
08. Increase push for Indycar
Roger Penske was involved with CART and the fast growth the series was experiencing. Prior to the open wheel split, CART had became an international series with races in Canada and Australia. Roger will most likely push for the series' return to Australia, invest more in developing the series more, and return back to an international presence that have a vast amount of drivers from all over the world, US, on the most diverse race tracks.
07. Teams have an ally at IMS
Team members such as Chip Gannassi, Michael Andretti, and Bobby Rahal have all praised the news today. In the past the disconnect between team owners and IMS has always been present, some for the better of the fan. Now the most successful Indycar team owner and owner of multiple teams now runs the most iconic race track and the largest sporting event in the world.
06. Better collaboration between Indycar & other series
Roger is involved in the 5 series, under 4 different sanctioning bodies, and you can expect Roger to work with all of them on business deals. The era of not working with different racing series is fading away as more fans want to see drivers compete in events outside their primary series. A good example is seeing NASCAR drivers doing the Memorial Day Double (Indy 500 & Coke 600), Supercar racers participating in NASCAR events, and potential new events at IMS.
05. Indycar and NASCAR Doubleheader
The talk of a doubleheader weekend has increased between the two sanction bodies, but hasn’t materialized yet. Roger will likely push for such a weekend, and don’t be surprised if it happens at IMS. We could see the Indianapolis Grand Prix moved to be run the same weekend as the Brickyard 400. Roger owns teams in Indycar and NASCAR will be an advocate on the doubleheader weekend and especially at IMS.
04. Third Manufacturer at Indycar
Roger won races in CART and IRL with Honda, you can bet Roger is already working on keeping Honda in Indycar. Indycar has wanted a third manufacturer in the sport for years, at one point it looked like Alfa Romeo will come in, but nothing has materialized. Roger will be sure this goal is achieved and most likely in 2021 is when we’ll see a third manufacturer in the sport, and an announcement during the 2020.
03. Indycar vs Formula 1
Prior to the open wheel split, CART was getting global recognition, especially when the 1992 Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell switched to CART for 1993. Ayrton Senna drove one of Penske CART cars with Emerson FIttipaldi, and Ferrari even built a CART car in the event it switched over protest of the FIA rule changes. With Indycar getting a big push, the world's largest sporting event, you can expect CART to compete with F1.
02. Brickyard 400 Revival
Look for Roger to push for new ideas to bring back the crowds at IMS. A push for the event might include the doubleheader weekend with Indycar running the road course Saturday, and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 on Sunday. Along with a plethora of events such as concerts and other events to draw a crowd in to complement the race weekend. Don’t be surprised if IMS renovates to include more fan zones, install lights for night races, and benefit the Brickyard 400.
01. Changes to Indianapolis 500
The Indianapolis 500 has long been a unique relationship with Indycars. From a stand alone event, CART’s big race sanctioned by USAC, and IRL exclusive event (28/5 rule.) Recently several teams made their opinion on locked starting spots vocal. While Roger does understand the importance of tradition, he’ll be thinking of the team owners, especially of the series as a whole. Look at the changes to come, especially in 2021.