As the sun set on a picturesque Indiana winter day, IMS President Doug Boles, Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles, and D-A Lubricant Company President Gisela Miller announced D-A’s lubricant product: PennGrade will be the first ever presenting sponsor of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
The D-A Lubricant Company, a local Indiana company, based in Lebanon, recently acquired Brad Penn Lubricants and has been planning this “presenting sponsorship” as a huge debut for the PennGrade line of motor oil. D-A Company President, Gisela Miller spoke passionately about the newly formed relationship between PennGrade/D-A and the Indianapolis 500: “I can’t think of a more powerful vehicle to help us launch our brand PennGrade Motor Oil than the Indianapolis 500. The eyes of the world will be on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May as they are every year, and I couldn’t be more excited to have our company sharing that spotlight.
Many of the more hardcore fans have some previous exposure to D-A Lubricants. Most recently D-A was a prominent fixture of the No. 15 Graham Rahal Dallara-Honda 2015 entry. Going back even further, D-A sponsored entries in the Indianapolis 500 from 1955-1958; most notably with Bob Sweikert.
IMS president Doug Boles spoke passionately about the new relationship with D-A: “We’re thrilled that PennGrade Motor oil is joining us, not only for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, but for more Indy 500’s going forward. My Grandmother worked for D-A Lubricant so I’m well-versed in the company’s history and I know our fans will appreciate the Hoosier connection as well.”
Curt Cavin and Erik Brady, of the IndyStar, have reported that the deal between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and D-A is about $5 million over a three year span. Which may seem a little low in my opinion for a presenting sponsorship for the largest single day sporting event, but it sounds based on Doug Boles and Mark Miles comments that D-A was essentially hand picked based on their history with the 500.
Based on social media response, the presenting sponsor seems to be quite the polarizing topic; ranging from complete “sacrilege” to “whatever can help the series.” The Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade is certainly a little wordy in my opinion, but I think this type of sponsorship is a necessary evil that will provide some “easy” money to the series and speedway. Let’s be honest… nobody on the street will ever say: “hey are you going to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade?” Probably not, it will always just be the Indy 500 or the 500 to locals and fans alike.