Penske Racing

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PenskeRacing.com

Roger Penske is not only the most recognizable name in American motorsports, but a man who commands respect in the international racing community as well.

The “Captain” has been racing and winning in the United States since 1958 and has scored victories in every series where he has competed. With 22 national championships, including 12 in Indy car racing, Penske Racing has often been referred to as the “New York Yankees of motorsports.”

Roger Penske was one of America’s most successful young road racers before electing to retire from driving in 1965 to focus on his first business – a Philadelphia Chevrolet dealership. However, racing remained a key element in Penske’s overall business plan. He fielded Corvettes in the 1966 endurance races at Daytona and Sebring prior to joining forces with driver Mark Donohue to campaign a Lola T70 in the USRRC and Can-Am sports car series. Penske Racing quickly found success with Donohue, winning two consecutive USRRC championships and three SCCA Trans-Am titles.

After three years of campaigning sedans and sports cars, Penske Racing and Donohue made their debut in Indy car racing, running a pair of USAC-sanctioned road races in 1968. The following year, the team made its debut in the Indianapolis 500 and Donohue finished seventh, earning “Rookie-of-the-Year” honors.

Mark Donohue
With Donohue, Penske Racing quickly made its mark in the USAC Championship Series utilizing high standards of car preparation, presentation and development. Donohue finished second at Indianapolis in 1970 and he recorded the team’s first Championship Car victory in the Pocono 500 on July 3, 1971. Donohue earned Penske’s first Indianapolis 500 triumph less than a year later with an average speed that would remain the race record for a dozen years. Since then, Penske Racing has become synonymous with Indy car racing, with 153 victories, 197 poles and 12 National Championships. Penske Racing, however, is probably best known for its 15 Indianapolis 500 victories, four with driver Rick Mears and three with Helio Castroneves.

Even though Penske Racing is legendary in open-wheel racing, it hasn’t confined its endeavors to that form of motorsports.

Penske made its NASCAR debut in 1972, the same season the team earned its first Indy 500 victory with Donohue at the wheel.

Continuing to compete in NASCAR, the Can-Am Series and in Indy cars, Penske Racing also debuted its Formula 1 car in 1970s.

Roger’s minis

With legendary racers Tom Sneva, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears and Bobby Unser, Al Unser and Danny Sullivan competing for the team, Penske Racing established itself as an Indy car powerhouse throughout the 70s and 80s.

A Penske entry was fielded in NASCAR’s premier series through 1977 with Donohue collecting one victory and Bobby Allison recording four wins. Penske reappeared in 1980 for a brief two-race stint with Missouri native Rusty Wallace, fielding a car for the young driver’s NASCAR debut at Atlanta.

Following a 10-year hiatus from NASCAR competition, Penske Racing South was established in 1991 with Wallace and long-time Penske business associate Don Miller as the team’s co-owners.

With the Indy car program continuing its remarkable production in the 90s with drivers like Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser Jr. and Paul Tracy, the team’s NASCAR squad also began to develop a winning formula.

Rusty Wallace pit stopFor 16 straight years, Wallace won at least one NASCAR race each season, tying him for third on the all-time list for the most consecutive seasons with at least one victory. He also finished in the top 10 in the series standings in 12 of his 15 seasons driving for Penske Racing. By the end of the 2005 season, 37 of Wallace’s 55 career victories had come under the Penske Racing banner.

A new generation of open-wheel stars ushered in a new decade for Team Penske as Gil de Ferran claimed back-to-back CART titles in 2000 and ’01 and Helio Castroneves scored consecutive Indy 500 victories in ’01 and ’02.

By 2001, Penske Racing flourished as a multi-car NASCAR operation with Wallace, Jeremy Mayfield and Ryan Newman leading the way on the track.

Team Penske first competed in the Indy Racing League in 2001 and it joined the series full time the following season.

Sam Hornish Jr.

Sam Hornish Jr. came aboard in 2004 and he led the Penske squad to its first IndyCar Series title in 2006.

Wallace retired from Cup competition after the 2005 season, closing the door on one of the most storied careers in racing. Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Cup titleholder, joined Penske Racing in 2006 as Wallace transitioned to the broadcast booth.

More than 30 years after winning at the highest levels of sports car racing, Penske returned to its roots late in the 2005 season, announcing an LMP2-class effort with Porsche in the American Le Mans Series. The squad had a remarkable homecoming, capturing the class championship with Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr in ’06 before again earning titles in ’07 and ’08 with teammates Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas.

Proven winners Busch and Newman led the charge for the Penske Racing NASCAR program in 2008 with Hornish Jr. joining the mix for his first full season of stock car racing. Highlighted by a dramatic 1-2 finish in the Daytona 500 with Newman securing Penske’s first win in the “Great American Race” and Busch finishing a close second, the team added to the Penske Racing tradition of excellence.

Castroneves and newcomer Ryan Briscoe both had stellar seasons for the Team Penske IndyCar Series team in 2008. Each driver scored a pair of victories and Castroneves battled Scott Dixon for the series title down to the final lap of the season before finishing a close second in the championship.

On the sports car side, Penske Racing claimed its third consecutive ALMS championship in 2008. Bernhard and Dumas drove a Porsche Riley Daytona Prototype for the team in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series in 2009.

In ’09, David Stremme joined the teamís NASCAR Cup Series lineup alongside Hornish and Busch, who earned two wins and finished fourth in the Chase for the Cup Series title. Rising NASCAR star Justin Allgaier ran the team’s first full Nationwide Series season with new partner Verizon Wireless, and Allgaier captured series Rookie-of-the-Year honors.

Briscoe, Castroneves and newcomer Will Power enjoyed their share of success in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series. The three Team Penske drivers combined to win nine races and 13 poles with Power scoring a series leading five victories and a record setting eight poles,Castroneves earned three wins and two poles, including his fourth at Indianapolis and Briscoe scored one win and three poles.

The 2010 season looks to be one of the most exciting campaigns yet with Brad Keselowski joining the team for full-season efforts in both the Cup and Nationwide Series. He will team with Busch and Hornish at the Cup Series level and with Allgaier in the Nationwide Series. History has taught us through the years that winning is a tradition carried on throughout all levels of Penske Racing and the 2010 season promises to add another exciting chapter to the chronicles of this storied organization.

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