Speedway signs deal with travel plaza giant

Updated June 29, 2016

Speedway will work with a national travel plaza chain on a joint venture to manage about 120 travel plazas, primarily in the Southeast U.S.

Speedway, based in Enon, recently announced the agreement with Pilot Flying J to form a new entity called PFJ Southeast. The joint venture will include 41 Speedway locations and 79 locations contributed by Flying Pilot J. All of those locations will carry either the Pilot or Flying J brand name and will be operated by Pilot Flying J, according to information released by the companies.

The deal isn’t expected to have an impact in Clark County, where Speedway’s corporate headquarters is located, said Stefanie Griffith, a spokeswoman for Speedway. Officials from Flying Pilot J couldn’t be reached for comment.

“We do not anticipate any significant impact locally because this is not an expansion as much as combining existing facilities,” Griffith said.

The 41 Speedway locations will be renovated and re-branded as either Pilot or Flying J stations. The deal isn’t expected to impact customers in Ohio.

“This will give Speedway’s customers within the professional transportation industry more choices,” Griffith said. “This joint venture combines Speedway’s core dedication to customer service with Pilot’s expertise as a premier travel plaza operator.”

The locations included in the agreement will offer more parking for guests, as well as more food options. All of the locations will also honor Pilot’s loyalty card, which allows members to earn points that can be used for retail and food discounts.

Speedway became one of the largest convenience store chains in the U.S. after it acquired Hess in 2014 for about $2.8 billion, nearly doubling its size. The company employs more than 34,000 workers overall, including hundreds of workers at its corporate headquarters in Clark County.

Pilot Flying J, based in Tennessee, has more than 650 retail locations, 52 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers and 44 Boss Shops, a truck repair center.

This isn’t the first time the companies have worked together. Speedway is a subsidiary of Marathon, based in Findlay, Ohio. Pilot Corp. and Marathon formed a joint agreement to form Pilot Travel Centers in 2001, according to information from the Convenience Store News, an industry publication.

Pilot Flying J eventually purchased Speedway’s stake in the company, Griffith said.

The most recent agreement is subject to approval by the Federal Trade Commission.

“Speedway’s core dedication to customer service, combined with Pilot Flying J’s expertise as an exceptional travel operator, will make PFJ Southeast LLC a premier choice for professional drivers throughout the Southeast,” said Tony Kenney, Speedway’s president in a news release. “We will be able to provide additional amenities to our customers under the Pilot and Flying J brands and better service drivers in this region overall.”