Mari Hulman George passes away at 83

Photo courtesy Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IMS matriarch Mari Hulman George passes away at 83

Mary “Mari” Hulman George, matriarch of the Hulman George racing family and Chairman of the Board Emeritus of Hulman & Company, which owns and operates the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, passed away early Saturday morning. She was 83.

Hulman George passed away surrounded by family members, according to an Indianapolis Motor Speedway statement.

“Racing is filled with passionate people, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone more passionate than Mari Hulman George,” retired IndyCar and NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, an Indiana native who grew up idolizing the Indy 500 and the speedway, told The Associated Press.

Hulman George oversaw stewardship of IMS – known as the Racing Capital of the World – as its chairman for nearly 30 years, from 1988 until her retirement from active involvement in day-to-day operations in 2016. However, even in retirement, she still remained active in IMS oversight.

Noted for her quiet yet firm control of the company – which included Hulman & Company, IMS and the IMS Foundation – Hulman George also was well known for her philanthropic efforts in Indianapolis and the state of Indiana for numerous groups, including Special Olympics, of which she was involved with until her death.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hulman & Company matriarch Mary “Mari” Hulman George, who passed away early Saturday at the age of 83. (Photo: Getty Images)

Hulman George spent her entire adult life in and around IMS, which was purchased in November 1945 by her father, Anton “Tony” Hulman Jr., who saved the facility from almost certain demolition following the conclusion of World War II.

Hulman George was one of the most respected individuals in motorsports, and was one of the first women to be involved in operations and management of such a major facility as IMS in the 1950s and 1960s.

Mary Antonia Hulman – who adopted the nickname “Mari” in her youth – was born to Anton Herman Jr. and Mary Fendrich Hulman on December 26, 1934 in Evansville, Indiana.

While Hulman was involved in helping her family run IMS as a teenager, it was after attending Purdue University that she became immersed in greater involvement in assisting her father in operating IMS.

In 1954, Hulman George, who had not even turned 21 yet, joined with family friend Roger Wolcott to form the HOW racing team, which became successful in both the American Automobile Association (AAA) and United States Auto Club (USAC) Sprint and National Championship series.

Among drivers that piloted cars for the HOW team were Jerry Hoyt, Eddie Sachs, Tony Bettenhausen, Roger McCluskey and Elmer George, whom she married in April 1957. Elmer George subsequently won the Midwest Sprint Car title the same year after finishing third in 1956. Elmer George would also finish third in 1958. In addition, Sachs was runner-up in the Midwest Sprint Car rankings in 1954.

Mari Hulman George and her husband co-owned an Indianapolis 500 entry in 1962 and 1963 that Elmer George drove, finishing a career-best 17th in 1962. Elmer George received relief help from Paul Russo and A.J. Foyt during that race.

Jeff Gordon with Mari Hulman George after winning the Brickyard 400 on August 8, 2004 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo By Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)

Foyt and Hulman George first met in 1958, forming a relationship that evolved into a lifelong friendship. Foyt was one of Hulman George’s closest friends and most trusted advisors, and vice-versa Hulman George was the same for Foyt.

Hulman also maintained close relationships with numerous drivers, team owners, sponsors, Indianapolis and Indiana politicians, business leaders, charitable group officials and more.

Hulman George was a private person who rarely sought out the public spotlight. But she did assume the role of issuing the famous “Gentleman (and Lady or Ladies, if females were entered in the race), Start Your Engines” command to start races for more than 15 years, from the late 1990s until 2015, in both the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400.

She also became close with stars of TV and the silver screen, including her beloved friend Jim Nabors, who sang “Back Home Again In Indiana” at IMS for nearly 30 years, and Florence Henderson, who also performed for numerous years during Indy 500 pre-race activities.

Hulman George will be long remembered for her oversight of IMS and taking the facility and related events to unprecedented heights of notoriety and popularity.

It was under Hulman George’s watch that IMS not only further solidified the Indy 500 as the greatest motorsports racing event in the world, but also played host to NASCAR and the Brickyard 400, Formula One (2002 through 2007), the FIM MotoGP World Championship, began the Indianapolis Grand Prix for IndyCar in 2014, and more recently, the Red Bull Air Race.

One of Hulman George’s greatest achievements – and one the racing world globally has her to thank for especially – was her determination to constantly enhance safety. She led the move for IMS to become the first major racing facility in the world to install the energy-absorbing SAFER Barrier in 2002.

In addition to her philanthropic involvement, Hulman George was also a tireless advocate for animals, particularly horses and dogs, particularly retired racing Greyhounds.

Hulman George is survived by three daughters, Nancy George, Josie George and Kathi George-Conforti; a son, Anton H. “Tony” George; a stepdaughter, Carolyn Coffey; seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and her longtime companion, Guy Trollinger. She was predeceased by her husband, Elmer, and a stepson, Joseph George.

Funeral arrangements are pending and have been entrusted to Callahan & Hughes Funeral Home in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The 2019 Classes

We are very pleased to announce the 2019 – Classes of the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance. If you’re interested – our nomination form is here online to fill out or – you can print a form to mail to us. 

Tell your friends.

Class 1   Antiques thru 1924 (Brass Era)

Class 2   Vintage 1925 – 1942

Class 3   CCCA 1915 – 1948

Class 4   Coach Built Classics

Class 5a   Collector American 1946 – 1975 “open”
Convertibles and Roadsters

Class 5b   Collector American 1947 – 1975 “closed”
Coupes and Sedans

Class 6   Sports Classics

Class 7   Foreign Collector

Class 8   Sports Contemporary

Class 9   Contemporary Classic

Class 10   Aston Martin   Our featured marque

Class 11   Corvette

Class 12   “American Performance” 1955 – 1975

Class 13   Classic Thunderbirds

Class 14   Carriages

Class 15   Motorcycles

Class 16   Future Classics

Class 17   Loud & Furious

Class 18   Pontiac Trans Am 1969 – 2002

Class 19   Display

With great sadness and heavy hearts, we share this news of the great loss.

No one captured Keeneland quite like Peter Williams.

About this website


Equine artist Peter Williams, who painted in Keeneland’s paddock, has died at 84. A native of New Zealand, Williams lived in Goshen.

2018 Porsche Raffle Winner

Keeneland Concours shared a post.
Published by David Brown16 hrs

I want all my skeptical friends to take note. This man drove from Virginia to see the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance. He saw the raffle car, listened to the sales pitch and bought a raffle ticket. A few hours later, his name was drawn from the drum. It’s that simple and yes it is really that legitimate. Plan now to buy your ticket next year.

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Andrew H. Werthmann to Keeneland Concours’ 2018 Action Group

Thanks again to the Keeneland Concours for the opportunity to win the prize. Big shout out to Jim Lawrence and Connie Jones for meeting me today at Bluegrass Motorsports. A fine machine!

It is ON !!!!


A technical glitch with posting this event caused some to see a cancellation notice for the concours. That is not true. The show must go on!

Keeneland Concours d’Elegance will hold its annual event this Saturday on the historic grounds of Keeneland Race Track. Proceeds will once again go to the Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

Open to the public at 9 am, awards at 3 pm and the Raffle drawing at 4 pm.

Judged classes of classic and modern cars. Featured will be BMW automobiles and motorcycles. Hundreds of cars from our community fill the Car Paddock areas for your viewing pleasure.

We will complete the raffle of the 2018 Porsche Boxster. Tickets are $100 each and limited to 1,200 to be sold.

This is a family friendly event — something for everyone. Lots of benches under the trees to sit and take in the event. Our Food Court features many flavors and cold treats.

This is truly a community event with national participation. We hope you will come our and see for yourself why this is highly rated event.

More information, advance tickets can be purchased at:
Please like and Share this to your page and ask others to do the same. Thank you.

On-line ticket sales

On-line ticket sales for the 2018 Keeneland Concours d’Elegance will end this Thursday, July 19th at 10:00 PM EST. We hope to see everyone out having fun with us on Saturday. Gates opens at 9 AM.

More information can be found here on the website.  Thanks to everyone for helping us support the Kentucky Children’s Hospital once again.

Carriage Association of America….

Keeneland Concours d’Elegance (KY)

July 21 @ 8:00 am5:00 pm

Keeneland Concours d’Elegance at the Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. The carriage theme this year is “The Evolution of Transportation through Body Styles.” Contact Linda Freeman, email:, 419-706-9777

On July 21, 2018, the 15th annual Keeneland Concours d’Elegance for the Kentucky Children’s Hospital will be held at the beautiful Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. This event will highlighting over 130 of the finest collector vehicles in the country as well as 8-10 juried carriages. In addition to the judged carriage class, this year there will also be an unjudged “Carriage Club Paddock,” open to any type of carriage. The Paddock area will be immediately adjacent to the juried car field. Entrants are free to set up lawn chairs and spend the day relaxing near their carriages, touring the show field, and enjoying the many attractions at the Concours. Entry for this display-only class is $5, in addition to general admission. If you would like to display your carriage, please contact one of the Committee members: Joe Jennings,, 609-306-3370; Jennifer Harber,, 304-208-5224; or Linda Freeman,, 419-706-9777.