Merger increases ISC track ownership

Monday, July 26, 1999 – International Speedway Corp. completed its merger with Penske Motorsports Inc., increasing ownership for the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based company to 10 race tracks across the country. The merger moved PMI tracks in Brooklyn, Mich., Nazareth, Pa., Fontana, Calif., and Rockingham, N.C. under the ISC umbrella.

As part of the move Roger Penske, founder of PMI, was named vice chairman of ISC’s board of directors.

Greg Penske, PMI president and chief executive officer, was named to oversee management of the acquired tracks for ISC.

ISC also increased its ownership stake in Homestead-Miami Speedway to 90 percent.

Prior to the move, ISC owned tracks in Daytona Beach, Fla., Talladega, Ala., Avondale, Ariz., Tucson, Ariz., Darlington, S.C., and Watkins Glen, N.Y.

ISC originated in 1957 as Daytona International Speedway Corp. It was formed by NASCAR founder and president William H.G. France.

ISC bumps portfolio with Phoenix purchase

Monday, July 14, 1997 – The battle for track ownership took another step forward as International Speedway Corp. announced the purchase of Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway. The facility boasts a 1-mile asphalt layout and has hosted one NASCAR premier series event annually since 1988. According to reports, the purchase price was $46 million. It was announced that track owner and president Buddy Jobe would remain as president of the facility.

The purchase increased ISC’s track ownership to five facilities. In addition to PIR, at that time the Daytona Beach, Fla. group also owned Daytona International Speedway, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The company also had an 11 percent interest in Penske Motorsports, which owned three facilities, including two that hosted NASCAR premier series events.

In making the announcement, ISC chairman and CEO Bill France Jr., acknowledged interest in possibly building tracks in Chicago, Kansas City and Sacramento, Calif.

The move evened track ownership for Cup facilities. Speedway Motorsports Inc., founded by Bruton Smith, owned Charlotte Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. In addition, his group held co-ownership of North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway.

PIR executives said the sale would allow grandstand seating at the facility to be increased from 65,000 to 90,000. Estimated attendance for the ’96 NASCAR event was 102,000.

Legendary Darlington track sold to ISC

Monday, June 28, 1982 – Darlington (S.C.) Raceway stockholders agreed to a sale of the historic facility to International Speedway Corp., the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based track ownership arm run by the France family. While no purchase price was announced, reports put the sale of the facility at between $2.5 million and $4.2 million.

Darlington was built after founder Harold Brasington visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway and wanted a similar venue for stock car racing. The track began hosting NASCAR events in 1950. It was the first paved superspeedway in NASCAR, measuring 1.25-miles when it opened.

The track hosted one premier series race, the Southern 500, annually from 1950-’51; two races during the ’52 season, then one again from ’53-59. From 1960-2004, Darlington hosted two Cup races each season and then one again since’05.

The Southern 500, considered one of the series’ crown jewels, has had the largest fields to ever start a Cup race – including a record 82 in 1951.

The purchase gave ISC three facilities that hosted Cup races – Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Darlington. Today, the ownership group holds 12 tracks that host 19 of the season’s 36 points races.