There is a commonly held belief that naming sporting venues after individuals is a sure-fire way to get rich quick. The concept, in other words, is that if you can buy a piece of sporting heritage, then the money just keeps coming in.
The trouble is, naming sporting venues after individuals is often associated with one thing – ego. It’s widely admitted that ego can be a dangerous thing, especially when it comes to business, and the ego of a former driver, in particular, can bring an undesired element of danger to a sporting venue.
Here we’ll examine one of the most iconic sporting venues in history and who exactly owned it at the time of its sale in 2018.
The Birth Of The Speedway
It all started with horse racing in the United States back in the 1800s. The early sport was initially contested on dirt tracks that wound throughout the country, and it wasn’t uncommon for an all-day horse race to go up in smoke because of bad weather conditions or soil erosion.
What was needed, therefore, was a safe place for the horses to race and a way to create financial stability for the sport. It was for these reasons that in the early 1900s the Indy race track was built.
The track sat at the top of a plateau and was designed to maximize the amount of daylight that reached each section. The grandstands were positioned to provide the best possible view of the entire track, and the artificial lakes that spanned the course were used as a source of water for the days when rainfall wasn’t enough to keep the track wet.
The layout of the track, in fact, was based on that of a military base and its design allowed for the installation of sound amplifiers that could be used to listen to music during the race.
The track opened in 1909 and in its early years hosted a number of significant events, including the 1913 World’s Fair, the 1915 Panama–Pacific Exposition, and the 1936 Summer Olympics. After years of financial struggle, however, the Indy race track closed in 1968.
The Purchase Of The Track
The track didn’t lay idle for long and in the 1970s there were rumors that it would be turned into a motorized race track known as the Rock N’ Roll Raceway. This plan, however, fell through and in the ensuing years it has been rumored that the owners of the track would sell it for redevelopment. Finally, in 2018 this rumor became a reality and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was sold to a group of investors, led by Lenox China, for a price that was reportedly close to ten million dollars.
The track’s new owners have stated that their goal is to make the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a unique global center for automotive culture and innovation, and to that end they have invested heavily in infrastructure improvements and new facilities. Most notably, the track has purchased the majority of the land that it sits on and is now working on developing a 3.5 million square foot ‘Integrated Campus.’
The Current Owners Of The Speedway
When it comes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it is important to examine the individuals and companies behind it all. To that end, here’s a quick list of the current owners: