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 23 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.
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 163 victories, 208 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.
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.
For 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. 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. Castroneves cemented his position as one of the all-time greats in the history of the Indianapolis 500 as he earned his third victory at the Brickyard and the 15th victory in the legendary race for Team Penske.
The 2010 season stood out as one of the best in the history of the storied organization. In his first year with the team, Brad Keselowski captured Penske Racing's first NASCAR championship as he earned the Nationwide Series crown behind five wins, six poles a record 26 top-five finishes. Busch posted two victories and a win in the NASCAR All-Star race while qualifying for the Chase before finishing 11th in the series standings. Operating with a full-season three-car team for the first time in nearly 15 years, Power led the way for Team Penske in the IZOD IndyCar Series. He paced the series with five wins and a record eight poles and captured the inaugural Mario Andretti Road Course championship before finishing as series runner-up. Castroneves posted three wins and Briscoe added another victory for Team Penske.
The winning tradition continued in 2011 as Power paced the IZOD IndyCar Series with six wins and eight poles. After wining his second straight Mario Andretti Road Course title, Power once again finished second in a close battle for the overall series crown. Penske Racing qualified each of its cars for the Chase as both Keselowski and Busch pursued the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Keselowski finished fifth in the title chase with three wins and one pole while Busch earned a pair of victories and three pole positions. Keselowski also continued his torrid Nationwide Series production as he scored five wins and four poles. Hornish scored his first-ever NASCAR victory with a win in Phoenix in the Nationwide Series and earned a full-time ride in 2012 .
A milestone was achieved in 2012 as Penske Racing earned it's first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite team scored three victories during the regular season. They then followed that with two more wins during the Chase to bring Penske Racing the coveted Cup Title. On the IndyCar side of the facility, Power earned his third consecutive Mario Andretti Road Course title as he, Castroneves and Briscoe accumulated six victories and eight poles on the year. Power again came up a few points short of the series title to finish second while Castroneves finished fourth in the final standings. Hornish scored his first-ever NASCAR pole in the Nationwide Series event at Watkins Glen and went on to finish a NASCAR career best fourth-place in the Nationwide Series Championship. Ryan Blaney made his debut as a Penske Racing driver earning a runner-up finish at Texas and five top-10 finishes in just seven starts in the Nationwide Series.
The 2013 racing season is full of promise and potential as Ford has once again paired with Penske Racing as they work to defend the Cup Championship. Joey Logano has joined the team piloting the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford and Blaney will continue his development with Penske Racing as he shares the Discount Tire ride with Keselowski. The No. 3 machine of Castroneves will feature Hitachi while Power returns with Verizon in IndyCar. Hornish will be contesting his second-consecutive Nationwide Series season with Alliance Truck Parts and he is poised to challenge for the title. Finally, all eyes will be on Keselowski and the Miller Lite Ford as they look to repeat their 2012 Championship effort.