Mary Fendrich Hulman, matriarch of the Hulman-George family, was the wife of Tony Hulman, Jr., who purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from Eddie Rickenbacker in November 1945. Born into the prominent LaFendrich cigar family in Evansville, Indiana, Mary Fendrich married Tony Hulman in 1926. They bought the Speedway 20 years later, and she played an active role in the track’s immediate post-war years, serving as the consummate hostess at race time.
In addition to being a great supporter of art galleries, museums, and education in general, she was both an avid golfer and a proficient, competitive skeet shooter. Elected Chairman of the boards of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hulman & Co. following the death of her husband in October 1977, Hulman also assumed his duty of starting the race, stirring the crowd almost every year until 1996 with either Gentlemen, Start Your Engines or, whenever appropriate, Lady and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines. She passed away on April 10, 1998.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum