What would Tony Hulman think of the Indianapolis Grand Prix?

May 5, 2014 by


Tony Hulman, the man who saved the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was a traditionalist.

When he bought the Speedway in 1945, he said “The Speedway has always been a part of Indiana, just as the Derby is a part of Kentucky.”

Upon his purchase of the oldest brewery in Evansville, Indiana Hulman said “In the course of 97 years, Cook's Brewery has become a great institution.”

He also purchased the historic Sage-Robinson-Nagel house in Terre Haute to help preserve the history of his hometown.

The first Indianapolis 500 under Hulman’s leadership was filled with harkening back to the past…which became tradition over the years.  The massed bands, the singing of “Indiana” at the start of the race, and the race parade.

So what would Tony Hulman think of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosting the Indianapolis Grand Prix this weekend?

I think he would be enthusiastic about it.

Here’s why.

Hulman, a savvy businessman, wasn’t afraid of change.

In the 1930s, he took a small proprietary product of Hulman & Company, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, to a national brand.

When he saw the consolidation of the grocery industry would negatively impact the family wholesale grocery business, he diversified the business insuring its continuation.

Although the Indianapolis Coca-Cola bottling company was in a 1930s art deco building, he built a modern bottling plant to replace the aging structure.

He also rebuilt the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Fans today would not recognize the one story grandstands in use when he purchased the Speedway.  He was the driving force behind not only rescuing the Brickyard from becoming a residential subdivision, he is responsible for making the Indianapolis 500 into the “greatest spectacle in racing.”

Wishing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway much success in the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix.

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