An Indy 500 First: A Presenting Sponsor

Posted: Updated:
(L to R): D-A Lubricant President Gisela Miller, CEO Mike Protogere, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, Graham Rahal and IMS President Doug Boles (L to R): D-A Lubricant President Gisela Miller, CEO Mike Protogere, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, Graham Rahal and IMS President Doug Boles

A Lebanon-based company will be the first-ever presenting sponsor of the Indianapolis 500. The official title for the next three years will be the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. D-A Lubricant Co. produces PennGrade and has ties to the race that date back to the late-1950s.

The deal is valued at $5 million.

Last year, the company began a multi-year sponsorship of Graham Rahal's Dallara-Honda in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Mike Protogere, chairman and chief executive officer of D-A Lubricant Co., said they've been looking at various marketing opportunities and associating the company with the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 was the perfect one.

Protogere said having an Indiana company sponsor the race is really special. "Our old plant actually was only a couple miles from the track. Of course, now, we're up in Lebanon but it was very special and having the relationship where Tom Binford owned the company several years ago even made it better."

Tom Binford took over ownership of the company after his father's passing in 1954. D-A Lubricant Co. sponsored entries in the race from 1955 to 1958, with a high finish of sixth in 1956 with driver Bob Sweikert.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles says having a local company sponsor the race wasn't a prerequisite but ended up being an added benefit for both brands. "When we started talking to the folks at D-A and PennGrade, it was immediately known that they cared about the Indianapolis 500, understood what it was about and just as we started going through the motions with them and talking about the opportunities, it felt right."

Boles added his grandmother worked for D-A and said, "I know our fans will appreciate the Hoosier connection as well."

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles says, "this historic announcement is welcome news for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and generates even more momentum for the entire Verizon IndyCar Series. PennGrade Motor Oil, with its deep understanding of the heritage and tradition that fuels the Indy 500, is the perfect presenting sponsor for the world's greatest race."

Company President Gisela Miller said she is proud that an Indiana company is sponsoring the 100th running of the 500. "The benefits from that, you can't put a dollar value on them or a number. For two Indiana companies with the history that we both had, it's a very proud moment."

The annual race, being held this year on May 29, is the world's largest single-day sporting event.

D-A Lubricant Co. Chairman and CEO Mike Protogere says they’ve been looking at various marketing opportunities for a while.
IMS President Doug Boles says they’ve been looking at a potential partnership over the last year.
D-A Lubricant Co. President Gisela Miller says she’s proud that an Indiana company is sponsoring the Indianapolis 500.
  • Perspectives

    • We’re Having the Wrong Conversations About Safety

      Every time there’s a shooting at a school or a workplace, the arguments begin. We need more police officers stationed in the buildings. We need to arm teachers or encourage employees to carry handguns. We should invest in smokescreen systems or bulletproof partitions. Everyone should hide from the shooter. Everyone should run from the shooter. Everyone should confront the shooter. It’s healthy that we’re discussing safety, but unfortunately, we’re talking...



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Forbes Ranks Top Colleges; 3 Indiana Schools Make the Cut

      Forbes released its 12th annual ranking of America’s Top Colleges based on direct benefits a university or college provides its students. Several Indiana universities made the list in some “sub-categories”, like Grateful Graduates Index, but the University of Notre Dame was the only school in the state to break the top 20 overall rankings.

    • Butler Unveils New Building for Lacy School

      The president of Butler University says the new building for the Lacy School of Business will create better engagement for students and faculty. The university unveiled the building Wednesday on the Indianapolis campus. James Danko says the new facility adds five times the classroom space and square footage for the school, which previously didn't have enough space for half of its classes. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Danko called...

    • West Lafayette Center Breaks Ground

      West Lafayette city officials this week broke ground on the $31.5 million West Lafayette Wellness and Aquatic Center at Cumberland Park. Plans for the 72,000-square-foot project feature a natatorium, three gymnasiums, exercise machines, free weights and community rooms. 

    • Photo courtesy of Portillo's

      Portillo's to Open Fort Wayne Location

      Portillo's Restaurant has announced it will open a new 7,800-square-foot restaurant in Fort Wayne. The location will be near the Glenbrook Square Mall and is slated to open in late 2019. 

    • Opportunity Zones: Changing the Course of Real Estate Investment

      The economic divide in large cities continues to expand. Despite a financial resurgence following the 2007-2009 recession, the system wasn’t fixing itself. Enter Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ), a program included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 designed to boost development in economically distressed communities. In exchange for new investments in these communities, investors receive preferential tax treatment. As traditional as it sounds, the QOZ program is...