Anton “Tony” Hulman left a trail of gold wherever he touched. From elevating his father’s Clabber Girl baking powder brand to national prominence to owning Coca-Cola bottling plants, utility companies, newspapers and radio and television stations (WTHI in Terre Haute being among them), he excelled at all things business related.
But this businessman was also an avid follower of amateur sports, such as auto racing. He made significant donations to charitable causes often without fanfare.
Early Life and Education
Hulman left Yale and went back home to Terre Haute where he entered his family business, taking charge of Clabber Girl baking powder with an intensive sales campaign that propelled it into national prominence. Additionally, he purchased Coca-Cola bottling plants, utility companies and newspapers/radio stations – expanding upon what had previously been established as his family empire.
Hulman took over Indianapolis Motor Speedway after founder Leslie Shaw died in a plane crash. Utilizing his organizational prowess and leading by example, Hulman oversaw consistent improvement at Brickyard Stadium.
He contributed generously to Indianapolis’ institutions of higher education, giving millions to Rose Polytechnic Institute and Indiana State University. Rose Polytechnic was later renamed Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; also that year, his wife gave land for construction of Templeton Administration Building and Crapo Hall on campus.
Hulman was not limited to racing or his family’s provisions business. He purchased Coca-Cola bottling plants, utility companies and newspaper and radio stations and turned them into profitable ventures.
Herman Hulman left his Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hulman & Company provisions business to his son Anton Hulman “Tony” George as an inheritance, including Clabber Girl baking powder brand. Hulman himself had excelled as both a prep school high hurdler and pole vaulter, spending his senior year of high school serving as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross during World War I in France.
His legacy still lives on today through his traditionalist ways and iconic phrase: “Gentlemen, start your engines!” It can still be heard at 2017 and 2018 Indy 500 races.
Achievement and Honors
Tony Hulman was a visionary who transformed Clabber Girl into one of America’s most popular food companies, while purchasing Indianapolis Motor Speedway after World War II and making it into an internationally acclaimed racing venue.
Hulman made an impressionful athletic statement during his time at Worcester Academy, competing in track and field meets while being named by The Amateur Athletic Association as America’s premier high school pole vaulter in 1919.
While attending Yale University, he pursued athletic interests by participating in football matches that went undefeated; intercollegiate track and field meets such as those held at Wembley Stadium were among his favorites. But perhaps most famously he is remembered as purchasing Indianapolis Motor Speedway following World War II and contributing significantly to auto racing as a sport.
Anton “Tony” Hulman Jr. was both an influential business leader and prominent figure in amateur auto racing. He brought fame to his father’s Clabber Girl company by popularizing its baking powder product; also, buying into numerous businesses including Coca-Cola bottling plants, utilities, newspapers and radio and television stations – but his most lasting legacy may well have been saving Indianapolis Motor Speedway from destruction with his purchase shortly after World War II.
Hulman led the speedway and its cornerstone event, the Indianapolis 500, to great success, far exceeding their founders’ original vision. Unfortunately he died tragically at age 82 during a plane crash en route back home – but his business interests continue on via his family members.
Tony might seem far removed from his grandfather, who amassed incredible wealth; nonetheless, he has enjoyed a similarly successful career of his own and often comes out at the forefront when discussing business matters.
At high school, he excelled in athletics and participated in pole vault and high hurdles events, while serving with the Red Cross during World War I.
After his divorce from Lisa Sunrise in 1989, he married Laura Livvix later that same year and welcomed Lauren as their child. Since then he has become director of Hulman and Company which he owns with his family.
He left IMS and Hulman & Company after being convinced by his sisters that spending on IRL and Formula 1 races wasn’t helping improve its bottom line.