Roger Penske Aims To Grow NTT IndyCar Series
SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Much of the attention of the Penske acquisition of Hulman and Company has been centered around the future of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but new owner Roger Penske also has plans to take the NTT IndyCar Series "to the next level."
On top of making many improvements to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he told Inside Indiana Business he plans to work with IndyCar Series CEO Mark Miles in a deep dive into the business to see what they can capitalize on to make it better.
One area that's out front and center is the fact that IndyCar did well on television last season.
"You realize that all sports had trouble gaining market shares in 2019," Penske said. "IndyCar had higher TV ratings and also higher attendance. We have to sustain that."
In the first year of its new exclusive deal with NBC, IndyCar average just north of 1.1 million viewers per race in 2019. That's up 4-percent compared to 2018 when ABC and NBC shared coverage of the series with ABC carrying the Indianapolis 500.
It's also gotten expensive to run a car in the series, especially full-time. Many smaller teams, such as Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, DragonSpeed, and Juncos Racing, run partial schedules.
Penske said the series needs to become more cost-effective.
"Keeping the cost of the sport in line is very important," he said. "So we can attract you or someone else as a car owner as well as new, young drivers."
In the Indianapolis 500 alone it costs roughly $1 million to run just one car in the race.
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