"Right there you can see two completely different disciplines from two different eras of racing but both are incredible cars for what they accomplished," said Pat Hozza, the museum's curator, who also works on the Team Penske IndyCar Series squad during the season.
At the 9,000-square-foot, two-story museum, 20 of the most prestigious cars in the storied history of Penske Racing are on display. "We really try to maximize the space within the museum to try and put more cars on display," said Hozza. "And we're always trying to rotate in different cars."
Each vehicle has an accompanying plaque that provides detailed information on the car and an overview of its history and place in Penske Racing lore. Memorabilia and some of the prestigious trophies won by Penske Racing teams are featured are featured on the second floor of the museum, along with the Turn 4 Café. The current Penske Racing drivers are also honored at the museum with huge banners displaying their likenesses.
With a record 15 victories at the Indianapolis 500, Penske Racing hosts 12 of the winning cars at the museum. Also on display is the Pontiac Catalina like the one Roger Penske drove to victory in the NASCAR race at Riverside, Calif. in 1963.
It's difficult to pinpoint which one of the cars is most popular with guests at the museum. While some can't wait to see the famous "spin-and-win" car driven by Danny Sullivan to victory in the 1985 Indy 500, others love the 1972 Hurst/Olds Cutlass Indy 500 pace car.
"The Catalina is a big fan favorite, but so many people like the ‘spin-and-win' car or the ‘200-miles-per-hour' car," said Hozza. "Then we have the 1973 IROC Porsche that Mark Donohue drove and that's pretty popular with sports car enthusiasts."
There's something for every race fan at the Penske Racing Museum, which is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Since it was first opened in November of 2002, admission to the museum has always been free.
Located just about an hour from Phoenix International Raceway, the museum is a must-see for fans coming to town for this week's NASCAR races. The facility also hosts events and can provide catering. For more information, visit penskeracingmuseum.com or call 480-538-4444.