Team Penske - History
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 27 national championships, including 13 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 was a winning campaign that saw the organization claim another championship while battling for series titles at all three levels of competition. Every driver that competed for Penske Racing visited Victory Lane in 2013.
As the team joined Ford Racing in NASCAR and welcomed Joey Logano to its ranks, both he and Keselowski won Sprint Cup Series races for their respective teams. Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil team qualified for the Chase as they fought for the series title. Keselowski, Logano, Ryan Blaney and AJ Allmendinger all won in the No. 22 Discount Tire/Hertz Ford Mustang as the team claimed the Nationwide Series owner's title for the 25 national championship in the organization's storied history. Hornish also won in Nationwide Series action and battled to the closing laps for the series title before finishing a close second.
Both Castroneves and Power continued their winning ways for the Team Penske IndyCar program in 2013. Behind a win at Texas and a remarkable 16 top-10 finishes in 19 races, Castroneves led the championship most of the season before he finished as series runner up. Power closed the season with a flourish, winning three times in the final five races to claim fourth in the championship standings. Shortly after the season it was announced that winning racer Juan Pablo Montoya would join Castroneves and Power on the team for 2014.
The 2014 racing season may go down as the best yet in the rich history of Team Penske. Across all levels of competition the organization enjoyed its winningest season to date with 22 victories overall. The totals included a record 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins as Keselowski led the series with six victories and Logano wasn't far behind with five trips to Victory Lane. Both drivers raced their way into the Chase and Logano battled until the championship round of the elimination format, finishing a career-best fourth in the series standings in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil/AAA/Autotrader.com Ford. Both Logano and Keselowski also contributed to the team's second consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series Owners' Championship as the No. 22 Disocunt Tire/Hertz/Snap-on Ford claimed the title with several drivers again producing behind the wheel.
It was also a championship season for Team Penske in the Verizon IndyCar Series as Power claimed the elusive crown behind three victories in the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet. The team finished 1-2 in the title chase as Castroneves, who earned one win on the year, finished second in the standings. Montoya also had a strong return season to INDYCAR competition as he finished fourth in the championship with a victory at Pocono. After the season concluded, Team Penske also announced that it would expand to a four-car operation for the first time in history with productive and talented French racer Simon Pagenaud joining the team beginning with the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series.
More growth for Team Penske was announced in September as the team unveiuled a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, Australia's most established race team, to compete in the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship. DJR Team Penske will race this coming season with former series champion and former NASCAR star Marcos Ambrose returning home to race the iconic No. 17 Ford Falcon for the new-look team.
Team Penske will look to add to its legacy of success across all levels of racing with a diverse and talented lineup of teams pursuing wins and championships again in 2015.