Penske Racing Highlights

Year-by-Year Highlights
1965 - 2012

Roger Penske announces his retirement as a race car driver.

Penske enters Corvettes in endurance races at Daytona and Sebring, winning the GT class in both events. Penske Racing then campaigns a Lola T-70 sports car for Mark Donohue in the SCCA Can-Am and USRRC road racing series. Donohue earns the team’s first major victory in the USRRC round at Kent Pacific Raceway. He also wins the Can-Am round at Mosport.

Donohue wins the USRRC championship with six victories in seven starts and records five podium finishes in 12 Can-Am events. Penske Racing enters the SCCA Trans-Am Series and Donohue takes the team’s first victory driving a Chevrolet Camaro at Marlboro Park. He adds two more late-season victories.

Donohue wins 10 of 13 races en route to the Trans-Am championship and repeats as USRRC champion with five victories in eight starts. Penske Racing makes its USAC Championship Racing debut, entering two road racing events – Mosport and the Rex Mays 300.

Penske fields a two-car Trans-Am effort for the first time with Ed Leslie and Ron Bucknum sharing racing duties alongside Donohue, as he takes his second straight series championship. Donohue finishes seventh in Penske Racing’s Indianapolis 500 debut and is named “Rookie of the Year.”

Donohue finishes second at Indianapolis. Penske enters AMC Javelins in the Trans-Am Series for Donohue and Peter Revson. Donohue scored the marque’s first victory at Bridgehampton and is victorious in two of three SCCA Formula 5000 starts in a Lola-Chevy.

Donohue earns the team’s first USAC Championship race victory in the Pocono 500. He also is victorious at Michigan. Donohue wins seven of 10 races en route to his third Trans-Am title and finishes third in the Daytona 24 Hours. Penske Racing makes its Formula I debut with Donohue in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Penske makes his NASCAR debut at Riverside, Calif., with Mark Donohue driving an AMC Matador. Donohue competed in four races that year, Dave Marcis in seven, and Donnie Allison in one. Allison posted the best finish, which was third on June 18 at Riverside. Donohue captures Penske Racing’s first Indianapolis 500 victory in a McLaren Offenhauser. Penske runs the factory Porsche 917-10 in the Can-Am Series and George Follmer wins the championship after Donohue is injured in a testing accident.

Donohue records Penske’s first NASCAR victory at Riverside in the Jan. 21 Winston Western 500. He led 138 of the race’s 191 laps. He also captures the inaugural International Race of Champions all-star series title, and dominates the Can-Am Series en route to that circuit’s championship in the updated Porsche 917-30. Gary Bettenhausen scores a Champ Car victory for Penske at Texas.

Bobby Allison wins the Nov. 24 Los Angeles Times 500 NASCAR race at Ontario [Calif.] Motor Speedway driving a Matador. Penske Racing’s PC-1 Formula 1 car makes its debut with Donohue driving in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Allison claims three NASCAR victories in the Matador – Riverside in January, and Darlington in April and September. Donohue sets the World Closed Course Speed Record – 221.160 mph – at Talladega in the Porsche 917-30. One week later Donohue is fatally injured in a March 751 Formula 1 car while practicing for the Austrian Grand Prix. Tom Sneva wins an Indy car race at Trenton, N.J.

John Watson wins the team’s first Formula 1 race at the Austrian Grand Prix in a Penske PC-4/Ford.

Tom Sneva becomes the first competitor to officially record a 200 mph lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sneva also wins at Texas and Pocono en route to Penske Racing’s first USAC IndyCar National Championship. Mario Andretti runs a part-time IndyCar schedule and finishes second to Sneva at Pocono in Penske’s first 1-2 finish.

Driving a Penske PC-6/Cosworth, Sneva wins his second consecutive Indianapolis pole and USAC IndyCar National Championship. Andretti continues to run a part-time schedule, winning at Trenton, while also claiming the F1 World Championship for Lotus. Rick Mears wins three races in his first year with Penske Racing.

Mears wins the Indianapolis 500 from the pole and goes on to win the CART National Championship with three victories. Teammate Bobby Unser wins six races and finishes second in the title chase. Penske Racing scores its first 1-2-3 finish in the California 500 at Ontario.

Rusty Wallace makes his NASCAR debut at Atlanta in a Penske Chevrolet. He qualifies seventh and finishes second to Dale Earnhardt. Andretti leads Penske Racing’s first 1-2-3 finish at Michigan, bringing Penske Racing’s total victories this year to six.

Mears collects six victories and wins his second CART championship. Bobby Unser wins the Indianapolis 500 from the pole, but the results are not made official until 8 a.m. the next day. Andretti is shown as the winner and Unser second, due to USAC officials saying that Unser passed under the yellow flag. The ruling is overturned several months later and Unser is declared the winner. He then announces his retirement from racing.

Mears takes his third CART title in four years with four victories. However, he narrowly loses the Indianapolis 500 to Gordon Johncock in one of the closest, most exciting finishes in the race’s history. Johncock defeats Mears by 0.16 second.

Al Unser wins just one race, but scores Penske Racing’s sixth Indy Car National Championship since 1977. Mears is victorious at Michigan.

Mears wins the Indianapolis 500 from the pole in a March chassis, but seriously injures his feet in a crash at Sanair Super Speedway in September.

Unser edges son Al Jr. by one point in the closest championship battle in CART history, giving Penske Racing its seventh IndyCar National Championship. Mears returns part-time and wins the Pocono 500. Danny Sullivan recovers from a mid-race spin to record his famous “spin and win” Indianapolis 500 victory.

Penske begins Ilmor Engineering with Paul Morgan and Mario Illien and the team begins developing the Ilmor Chevy Indy engine. Mears sets the World Closed Course Speed Record – 233.401 mph – at Michigan Speedway.

Mears takes the first 500-mile race victory for the Chevy engine in the Pocono 500. Al Unser wins the Indianapolis 500 in a March-Cosworth.

Penske sweeps the front row for the Indianapolis 500 and then Mears delivers the victory in the new Penske PC-17 chassis. Sullivan wins four races and the CART National Championship.

Emerson Fittipaldi wins the Indianapolis 500 for Patrick Racing in a “customer” Penske PC-18 chassis. Mears finishes second to Fittipaldi in the CART championship with three victories. Sullivan also wins two races.

Sullivan and Fittipaldi win races for the team that is now sponsored by Marlboro.

Penske Racing South is created and Penske re-enters NASCAR with driver Rusty Wallace and sponsor Miller Brewing Co. Wallace wins the IROC championship. Mears wins his sixth Indianapolis 500 pole – Penske’s 10th – and his fourth Indy 500 race – Penske’s eighth – all records.

NASCAR invites Wallace to participate in a “tire test” at Indianapolis. Fittipaldi wins four CART races. Mears announces his retirement from driving at the end of the season, but remains with Penske as an advisor and race-day spotter.

Wallace wins a career-high 10 races, collects 19 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes, three pole positions and leads the most laps during the season – 2,860 of 10,004 laps – in a Pontiac. Penske South also wins the annual Unocal Pit Crew Championship at Rockingham. Wallace finishes second in the series championship battle to Earnhardt. Fittipaldi wins three races, including his second Indianapolis 500, while teammate Paul Tracy records a series-leading five victories.

In a switch from Pontiac to Ford, Wallace posts a series-leading eight victories, leads the most laps during the season – 2,142 of 10,106 – and was the winning force behind Ford clinching the NASCAR Manufacturer’s Championship with his Martinsville victory on Sept. 25. In open-wheel racing, Penske fields a three-car team with Al Unser Jr. joining Fittipaldi and Tracy. Unser Jr. wins eight races en route to the CART Championship. The team’s 12 victories in 16 races set series records. Unser Jr. also earns Penske Racing’s 10th Indianapolis 500 victory using a unique Mercedes-Benz engine that was developed in total secrecy with Ilmor Engineering.

Wallace takes fifth in the points for his third straight top-five finish in the NASCAR series standings. Unser Jr. wins four races and finishes second in the CART Championship, but he and Fittipaldi fail to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. Fittipaldi wins at Nazareth.

Wallace wins five races, which ties him with Buddy Baker for 11th on NASCAR’s all-time wins list. It is his fourth consecutive multiple-victory season and 10th in the last 11 seasons. Tracy rejoins Penske and scores the team’s first pole since 1994, at the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami. Due to the split between CART and the Indy Racing League, this is the first year that Penske Racing does not enter a car in the Indianapolis 500 since its first entry in 1969.

Wallace captures the pole for the April race at Bristol, his first No. 1 start since 1994. He also drives his Ford to victory at Richmond in March. Tracy wins three consecutive races – Nazareth, Rio and the inaugural St. Louis event, which was Team Penske’s 99th Indy car victory.

Wallace finishes fourth in the series standings for his sixth consecutive season among the top-10 in points. He posts four pole positions, his first multiple-pole season since 1994, while recording 15 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes. Penske South becomes a two-car NASCAR operation with Jeremy Mayfield as its driver after purchasing majority interest in Michael Kranefuss Racing. Mayfield, with Mobil 1 as his sponsor, finishes seventh in the points with one victory, one pole, 12 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. Team Penske fields two cars driven by Andre Ribiero and Unser Jr. in CART. The all-new Penske chassis designed by John Travis makes its debut and Unser Jr. scores two podium finishes.

With one victory, seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes, and four poles, Wallace places eighth in the Cup series standings and passes the $21 million mark in career winnings. Team Penske starts the season with one car driven by Unser Jr., but he suffers a broken leg in a first-lap accident at the season-opening Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami. Rookie Tarso Marques substitutes for the injured Unser Jr. for two races before Penske adds a second car for Marques for four additional events. Rookie Gonzalo Rodriquez competes for Team Penske at Detroit before he is fatally injured in a practice session accident at Laguna Seca Raceway. Alex Barron competes on both superspeedways – Michigan and California.

Wallace’s seventh-place finish in the series standings marks the 14th time in 16 full seasons that he has finished in the top 10. He cracks the 50-race victory barrier at Bristol in the March 26 Food City 500 and stretches his consecutive-win season to 15. Wallace also establishes a single-season career best for pole positions with nine. Penske acquires full ownership of Penske-Kranefuss Racing. Mayfield wins two races and four poles. Ryan Newman makes his stock car racing debut at Michigan in June. He goes on to win three of the five ARCA races he enters and makes his NASCAR debut at Phoenix in November with Alltel as his sponsor. In open-wheel, the team switches to the dominant Honda/Reynard/Firestone package and adds new drivers Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves, and new president Tim Cindric. De Ferran wins his first CART Series title and the 10th Indy car National Championship for Penske. Castroneves win his first CART race at Detroit, where he introduces his signature victory celebration of climbing the fence closest to the finish line before going to victory lane. De Ferran sets the World’s Closed Course Speed Record with a lap of 241.428 mph while qualifying for the season-ending Marlboro 500.

Penske South becomes a full-time, three-car operation with Wallace, Mayfield and Newman. Wallace and Mayfield concentrate on NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series, while Newman runs a precedent-setting ABC schedule, competing in selected ARCA, Busch and Cup events. Newman wins the season-opening ARCA race at Daytona, claims the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in only his third Cup start, and wins his first Busch Series race at Michigan in June. Wallace wins at California Speedway, giving him at least one victory in 16 straight seasons, tying him with Ricky Rudd for third for the all-time record. Mayfield leaves the team after 28 races and Mike Wallace, Rusty’s younger brother, competes in the remaining eight races. In open wheel, De Ferran captures his second consecutive CART FedEx Championship, giving Team Penske its record 11th Indy car national title. Castroneves wins the Indianapolis 500, his first oval victory, to give Penske Racing a record 11th trip to victory lane at the Brickyard. Teammate de Ferran finishes second for Penske Racing’s first 1-2 finish at Indianapolis.

Penske South returns to a two-car operation. Newman wins Raybestos Rookie of the Year on the Winston Cup circuit and sets a new standard for first-year drivers in NASCAR’s premier series. He finishes sixth in the series point standings; ties veteran Mark Martin for the most top-10 finishes in a season with 22, a record for a rookie; becomes just the second rookie to win The Winston all-star race; leads the series with six poles, breaking the record set by Davey Allison in 1987 for the most poles in a season; and ties Tony Stewart with races led, 22. His first Cup victory comes in September at New Hampshire. Wallace finishes in the top 10 in points for the 10th consecutive year. In open-wheel, Penske moves to the IRL and Castroneves wins his second consecutive Indianapolis 500, marking Penske Racing’s record 12th victory in the historic race.

Newman’s sophomore season is the most prolific since Earnhardt’s in 1980. He again finishes sixth in points, while leading the series in victories with eight, poles with 11 and miles led with 1,509.13. His series-high 11 poles, including three consecutive at Atlanta, Phoenix and Rockingham, is the most since Bill Elliott in 1985. Newman also finishes with a series high 17 top-five finishes and ties Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the most races led during the season with 24. Wallace makes his 600th career start on Feb. 23 at Rockingham. In the IndyCar Series, de Ferran earns Penske Racing’s record 13th Indianapolis 500 victory, while Castroneves finishes second, after starting from the pole, marking the team’s second 1-2 finish in three seasons at Indianapolis. After finishing second in the series championship, de Ferran retires at the end of the season.

Penske South returns to a three-car operation with the addition of Penske-Jasper Racing. Rookie Brendan Gaughan joins Wallace and Newman in the driver line-up. For the third straight year, Newman leads the series in poles with nine, becoming the first driver to accomplish the feat since Darrell Waltrip from 1981-83. Newman makes the inaugural Chase for the NEXTEL Cup and finishes seventh in the point standings. Gaughan places second in the battle for rookie honors. Wallace announces in late August that he will retire from driving at the end of the 2005 season. Sam Hornish Jr. joins the Team Penske IndyCar Series program and wins at Homestead- Miami Speedway in his debut. Castroneves claims five poles and wins the season finale at Texas.

Wallace bids farewell as a driver in the Cup Series and Penske signs Kurt Busch to succeed him. Travis Kvapil steps in for Gaughan and finishes second in the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year battle. Newman continues his assault on the series pole records, winning the Bud Pole Award for the fourth straight year. In the Busch Series, Newman wins six of the nine races in which he competes, tying for the series lead in victories. His five consecutive victories set a series record. Newman also earns four poles, putting him in a two-way tie for the series high. Hornish Jr. finishes third in the IndyCar standings with victories at Phoenix and Milwaukee to go along with three poles. Castroneves wins at Richmond and captures two series poles. Penske Racing announces it’s return to sports car racing with Porsche fielding a two-car effort in the American Le Mans Series. The team returns with a pole and a win in the ALMS season finale at Laguna Seca.

Busch wins his fifth race at Bristol, tying him for third on the all-time victory list at the high-banked short track. In his first year with Penske, Busch also ties for the Cup series lead with six poles, a single season career high. Busch sweeps qualifying at California Speedway, earning the pole for both races at the two-mile track, and he records the most top-10 starts with 24. Newman wins the pole at both Loudon and Dover. In the Busch Series, Busch wins at Texas and at Watkins Glen. He also earns both Busch and Cup Series poles at Watkins Glen. Newman earns the pole for the Bristol Busch Series race and Hornish Jr. makes his Busch Series debut. Hornish Jr. also wins his first Indianapolis 500 and gives Penske its record 14th victory in the legendary event. He scores four wins and four poles overall on his way to the series title, giving Team Penske its first IndyCar Series Championship. Penske and Porsche walk off with the driver, manufacturer and team championships in the American Le Mans Series LMP2 class.

Busch produces impressive victories at Pocono and Michigan. He also wins the pole at California Speedway and qualifies for The Chase. Busch finishes the season ranked seventh in the NEXTEL Cup point standings. Newman produces five poles, including three in a row, to rank second in the series. With 42 career poles, Newman improves to 11th on NASCAR’s all-time list. Both Newman and Busch make a handful of Busch Series starts, and Busch wins the pole at Watkins Glen. Castroneves establishes a new IndyCar Series season record with seven poles, and he wins at St. Petersburg. Hornish Jr. is victorious at Texas and he continues his transition to stock car racing making nine Busch Series and two NEXTEL Cup Series starts for Penske Racing. In November, Hornish Jr. and the team announce that he’ll join the Team’s NASCAR program full time in ’08. Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas produce the second straight LMP2-class ALMS championship for Penske Racing as they total eight class and six overall victories. Sascha Maassen and Ryan Briscoe finish second in the LMP2 class. Briscoe is named to replace Hornish Jr. in the Team Penske IndyCar Series program.

The team begins the season with three strong performances and two historic victories. Returning to compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Busch, Briscoe and Castroneves earn a third-place overall finish teamed with Wayne Taylor's team. Newman and Busch finish first and second in the Daytona 500 to give Roger Penske his first-ever victory in the "Great American Race." The team of Bernhard, Dumas and Emmanuel Collard score an overall victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring to begin another championship ALMS season. Busch gives the team another Cup Series win in June with a victory at New Hampshire. Castroneves and Briscoe both enjoy solid IndyCar seasons with each driver capturing two victories. Castroneves narrowly misses his first series title after he edges Scott Dixon for the win in the season finale but he finishes just a few points behind Dixon in the championship chase. Bernhard and Dumas claim their second straight ALMS class title and the third in a row for Penske Racing as Maassen and Patrick Long also enjoy solid seasons. Penske Racing announces that it will compete in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series with a full-season entry in 2009. After joining the team as a test driver, David Stremme is named to replace Newman behind the wheel of No. 12 Cup Series car. Justin Allgaier also joins the team for four Nationwide Series races, gearing up for a full Nationwide season in 2009. The teams ends the year welcoming two new blue-chip partners - AAA/Automobile Club of Southern California and Verizon Wireless - to the Penske Racing family.

The season is highlighted by strong championship finishes and another landmark victory at Indianapolis. Busch posts two NASCAR Cup Series victories en route to his best season since his championship year of 2004. Busch takes the Miller Lite Dodge to Victory Lane in the spring at Atlanta and at Texas in the fall. The No. 2 team turns up the heat in the Chase and earns a fourth-place finish in the series standings. Allgaier has a standout season in his first full year with the team as he wins the Rookie-of-the-Year title in the Nationwide Series. Briscoe leads the way for Team Penske in the IndyCar Series as produces three wins and four poles while battling for the series crown throughout the season. He winds up finishing third in the hotly-contested title chase. Castroneves earns two wins and finishes fourth in the series championship, despite missing the first race of the season. He claims his third victory in the Indianapolis 500 to give Penske Racing its record 15th win at Indy. Will Power joins the IndyCar Series program and competes in six races. He earns two poles and a win in Edmonton before injuries suffered in a practice crash bring an early end to his season. The team also competes in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series with Bernhard and Dumas and finishes fourth in the team standings. Brad Keselowski joins the team’s NASCAR lineup late in the season in preparation a full-time effort in 2010. Penske Racing also welcomes new partners Discount Tire, Ruby Tuesday and Magellan to its sponsor family.

Penske Racing enjoys a banner season that features the organization's first NASCAR championship, 18 wins, 22 poles, a NASCAR All-Star race victory and a battle for both the Cup Series and IZOD IndyCar Series titles. Busch wins the spring Cup Series race at Atlanta for the second consecutive season and enjoys a whirlwind month of May as he guides the Miller Lite Dodge to Victory Lane in both the All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch makes the Chase for the second consecutive season and finishes 11th in the final series standings. Brad Keselowski claims the NASCAR Nationwide Series title as he posts five wins and six poles while establishing a new series record with 26 top-five finishes. In his first full season competing for Team Penske, Power leads the IZOD IndyCar Series with five wins and a series-record eight poles while winning the Mario Andretti Road Course championship and finishing second in the overall title chase. Castroneves claims three race victories and Briscoe adds a win to give Team Penske three top-five series championship finishers. Penske Racing adds to its premier partnership lineup by welcoming Shell-Pennzoil, IZOD, Meijer, Alliance Truck Parts, Guidepoint Systems and Coca-Cola as sponsors for 2011.

The 2011 season was another season full of race wins, poles and opportunities to pursue series championships for Penske Racing. Both of the team's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries earned spots in the Chase for the Championship as both Keselowski and Busch had strong campaigns. Keselowski finished fifth in the title chase in the Miller Lite Dodge after he enjoyed his best Cup season to date with three wins and a pole position. Busch scored two wins and three poles as he finished 11th in the series standings driving the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge. In Nationwide Series competition, Keselowski continued to impress in the Discount Tire machine with five wins and four poles while Sam Hornish Jr., competing in a limited schedule, earned his first NASCAR victory with a win at Phoenix in the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge. Power once again led the way for Team Penske as he paced the IZOD IndyCar Series with six wins and eight poles in the Verizon car. After finishing second the overall series championship for the second consecutive year, Power did claim the Mario Andretti Road Course title for second straight season. Both Castroneves and Briscoe also had strong performances as they finished in the top 11 in the championship.

Penske Racing took top honors earning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship with Keselowski claiming five victories, 13 top-five and 23 top -10 finishes on his way to claiming the first-ever Cup Title for the team. Hornish scores his first-ever NASCAR pole in the Nationwide series race at Watkins Glen and finishes a NASCAR career best fourth in the Nationwide Series standings. Ryan Blaney makes his Penske Racing debut in the Nationwide Series with a strong second-place finish at Texas and five top-10 finishes in just seven starts. Power leads the way on the IndyCar team with three wins, five poles and his third consecutive Mario Andretti Road Course Championship. Castroneves returned to winning form with two victories and a pole while Briscoe earned his first-ever Indianapolis 500 pole and scored a victory at Sonoma.

Battling for championships in each series, Penske Racing experienced another winning and thrilling season in 2013. Every driver that raced for the team experienced a victory in a remarkable year. Joey Logano joined the organization and won at Michigan in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion while qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Keseowski won at Charlotte for the Miller Lite team. The No. 22 Discount Tire Hertz Ford Mustang team won the Nationwide Series owner's title as Keselowski, Logano, Ryan Blaney and AJ Allmendinger all won and generated 12 wins for the team. The title marked the 25th championship for Penske Racing. Castroneves and Power both won races and poles for the IndyCar Series team as Castroneves fought for the series title and wound up second behind an impressive 16 top-10 finishes in 19 races. Power won three of the season's final five races, including the finale at Auto Club Speedway, to finish fourth in the championship standings.