Unconfigured Ad Widget

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Roger's Tracks and Roger's Plans

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Roger's Tracks and Roger's Plans

    If anyone has the history or has some opinion, what was Roger planning when he built all those tracks? I know he built Fontana and Michigan. What else? Was he planning for CART to be running at all those tracks? Was he planning to build or buy more tracks?

    Then one day he sold all those tracks and retired from being a track owner. He continues to concentrate on being a team owner in both IRL and NASCAR. But also he is on the board of NASCAR or ISC tracks still.

    Why did Roger sell his tracks? Was it because he knew that the split was going to ruin attendance? Or was it just time to move on for him? What were his plans when he first built them?
    Barney Oldfield - AJ Foyt - Jim Clark - Dan Gurney - IMS - IMS YT - INDYCAR - INDYCAR YT

  • #2
    Business. Looks like he made a decent profit out of 'em.

    BTW, his son is involved with Fontana still.
    He kani 'ano 'e loa kela. Ua 'ai nui anei 'oe ma ke kakahiaka?

    Comment


    • #3
      R_Mears_Fan:

      Roger didn't build Michigan - he purchased it from the original developer. IIRC, they were having financial problems at the time.

      "Groundbreaking on Michigan Speedway began on Sept. 28, 1967. The prime individual in the venture was Lawrence H. LoPatin, a Detroit-area land developer who was the first president of American Raceways, the track's parent company.

      In 1973 the Penske Corporation purchased Michigan Speedway and immediately began an innovative improvement plan which transformed it into one of the finest racing facilities in the country."

      Source:


      Michigan International Speedway

      jcr

      Comment


      • #4
        I did not know Roger owned Michigan that long ago. I thought it was a more recent campaign he had been on to become a big track owner like Bill France. I don't see a similar history on the California Speedway site. Did Roger build that one and when?

        Also, what other tracks did Roger own?
        Barney Oldfield - AJ Foyt - Jim Clark - Dan Gurney - IMS - IMS YT - INDYCAR - INDYCAR YT

        Comment


        • #5
          Roger built Fontana in conjunction with Kaiser Steel; there was a rather complicated land for stock swap that was needed so Roger could get control of the site, an old steel mill.

          Roger also owned Nazareth.

          Comment


          • #6
            jcr-

            If you want to see a good comparison as to what Penske did with MIS, take a look at Texas World Speedway. They were built almost identically, and TWS hasn't changed much. It's not much of a venue today for anything but SCCA.

            Comment


            • #7
              tbyars:

              I live 63 miles from MIS. I went to the inaugural race back in '68, and missed very few shows there throughout the next couple of decades. (I even went to watch a Can-Am race and I'm NOT a road racing fan!) It USED to be a fun place to spend the week-end, but not anymore - I guess I'm getting old, but I refuse to put up with the hassles I don't go there anymore. You can have the best facility in the world, but if it isn't "fan friendly", I'll spend my money elsewhere.

              So now, instead of a 63 mile drive, I drive 500+ miles for the spring race in Bristol, 220+ miles for the I-500 and BY-400, and 600+ miles for the fall race in Atlanta. BTW - these are 1 - way distances.

              Last weekend, I was at IRP on Thursday for the Silver Crown show, IMS on Friday for NWC and IROC practice then back over to IRP for the NCTS race. Saturday, it was back to the big track for qualifying, the IROC race and "happy hour", and then watched the NBS race on TV from the motorhome. Sunday, of course, was the main attraction.

              I can say without a doubt that I had fewer problems doing all these activities ( outside of a "slight" run-in with Tony Stewart on Thursday at IRP :mad: ), than I encountered the last couple of time I was up at MIS.

              jcr

              Comment


              • #8
                LoPatin was a man ahead of his time. His plan was to build a chain of identical speedways around the country.

                The Texas facility, which is near College Station, home of Texas A&M, has had multiple owners since, none of which have been able to make a go of the place.

                Penske Speedways, of which neither Penske person or Penske family was the majority owner, owned several tracks. ISC (France family) was always a 20% minority stockholder. Penske Speedways, when ISC became a public company, thought it was best to trade its tracks for ISC stock. Based on the stock price, this certainly was right, as it has nearly quintupled since then.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Penske also owned Rockingham and 35% of Homestead. Those tracks also ended up in the ISC portfolio.
                  I wish I knew - Dennis "Cutty" Wise

                  When its game time, it's pain time! - Terrible Terry Tate

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Didn't he by North Wilksboro for the dates at one of his other facilities??

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No, North Wilkesboro was privately owned and Bob Bahre at Loudon and Bruton Smith bought it to cannibalize its two Winston Cup dates.

                      Penske bought Michigan off the courthouse steps in Lenawee County, Michigan after American Raceways, Inc., its builder headed by LoPatin, went bankrupt. Ironically, he outbid old business foe and friend Pat Patrick for it.

                      He built some race tracks, then did the stock swap deal with ISC, that was a complicated venture that allowed him three board seats at ISC. He has since reduced his ISC holdings (presumably to reinforce his other businesses) and lost two of those three board seats in the process. His son, Greg, remains on the ISC BoD and is head man at Fontana.
                      "The lunatic fringes on both sides need to be written off." -- stnky pete

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the info. Tracks are cool. Too bad they can't all be successes.

                        What about stories that Roger offered to buy IMS? Someone started a rumor about that on the main forum. It sure raised some responses. I think it probably happened only once, and it must have been during his track-getting period.
                        Barney Oldfield - AJ Foyt - Jim Clark - Dan Gurney - IMS - IMS YT - INDYCAR - INDYCAR YT

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Stand E, I can remember that rumor going around in the late '80s that he'd made an offer but that's as far as I can confirm. I remember reading someplace back then that someone asked him and his response was, "it'd take a lot of money." I don't think the Hulman-George family would ever part with it. They don't need to.
                          "The lunatic fringes on both sides need to be written off." -- stnky pete

                          Comment

                          Unconfigured Ad Widget

                          Collapse
                          Working...
                          X