Going back to last May, Hulman Motorsports CEO Mark Miles told MotorSportsTalk that it was quite likely the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 would have a presenting sponsor.
“I think we’ll have a presenting sponsor of the Indianapolis 500 Race by next year’s race,” Miles told me at the time. “There’s a few prospects. But it could very well be a new company to come in as a partner, and there’s more out there.”
And, officially, later Thursday night after a couple reports out earlier in the day (from RACER, Indianapolis Star if you’re interested), it was confirmed that PennGrade Motor Oil will become the first presenting sponsor of the Indianapolis 500.
So, 2016 will be the “100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.” Even though most everyone will still just call it the Indianapolis 500.
PennGrade, a subsidiary of Indiana-based D.A. Lubricants, has signed on for a three-year deal at $5 million, per the Star, to step up as presenting sponsor for the race.
The race telecast on ABC has had a presenting sponsor before, with GoDaddy a prominent example, but not the race itself.
D.A. Lubricants re-entered IndyCar after a lengthy hiatus last year in an associate sponsorship role with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and driver Graham Rahal. The company also supported Rising Star Racing, the Art Wilmes-led program to help support young American drivers; Spencer Pigot (Indy Lights) and Neil Alberico (Pro Mazda) raced under the RSR banner last year with Josef Newgarden as their mentor.
It’s another revenue stream, and it doesn’t make the race lose its name – it’s just the proverbial add-on that comes with an additional chunk of change.
The full release is linked here.