Ready to Assemble for the Start of a New Season

January 11, 2021


"Penske Material" provides an inside look at some of the personalities, stories and moments that make Team Penske so unique.

When the final checkered flag waved to end an unforgettable NASCAR season for Team Penske on Sunday, November 7, 2020, the preparations were already well underway for the team’s 2021 campaign. A new-look NASCAR schedule with over 25 one-day shows and a record number of road-course events in 2021 means the team will have new challenges and new opportunities on the road ahead.  Much of the organization and preparation for the upcoming season will once again take place under the watchful eyes of Roy McCauley – a 19-year Team Penske veteran.

McCauley joined Team Penske in 2003 as a member of the team’s growing engineering group. The Davidsonville, MD native worked in engineering until the end of 2004 when he was afforded the opportunity to serve as crew chief the organization’s part-time NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) team with driver Ryan Newman. In nine NXS starts in 2005, the No. 39 team scored six wins, eight top-five finishes and four poles. The success propelled McCauley to a full-time NASCAR Cup Series crew chief position with Kurt Busch and the No. 2 car in 2006. The Busch/McCauley pairing produced a win at Bristol along with six poles and seven top-five finishes in ’06.

        

After a short hiatus from the crew chief role in 2007, McCauley returned to the Cup Series pit box in 2008 with Newman and the No. 12 team. The combination delivered Team Penske’s first Daytona 500 victory in the race’s 50th running that season. McCauley served as crew chief of the No. 12 car through 2009 before he transitioned to his current role of Team Penske assembly group manager in 2010. The new assignment brought the centralization of the team’s structure of assembly activity under one group rather than individual teams. The strategic move has paid dividends for the organization over the past decade.

McCauley and his team annually target the beginning of the off-season to boost current and future inventory, ensuring that assets will be available for all teams entering the new season. Parts are checked and magnafluxed for durability and quality control once the checkered flag flies. The time between seasons also provides an opportunity for the group to restore historic Team Penske race cars. Most recently, McCauley and his team restored Penske Racing Chassis 001 that was the first in-house NASCAR chassis constructed by the organization in 1996.

As the team prepared for 2021 competition, the pandemic and its impact on businesses across the globe created some additional challenges to receive certain overseas parts in time for the start of the new year but fortunately, everything made it on time. “There was a time period in July that it was going to be pretty tight getting for instance brake rotors from England,” said McCauley. “Certain parts like brake rotors and calipers have a five-to-seven-week lead time while other parts can be as much as 14 weeks out.”

The 2021 season will bring many opportunities for Team Penske and McCauley and his team have proven that they are ready for any challenge. He credits the continuation of one-day events in NASCAR for easing the production load as backup cars will not be needed for every race. Team preparations will also shift gears from the current Gen-6 Cup Series cars to the NextGen cars later this year.

When it comes to Penske Material, McCauley believes it takes a certain kind of person to fit within the team. “We work very hard to find the right person,” said the longtime Team Penske associate. “There have been times I’ve waited a year to hire a person because I felt like I didn’t have the right position for them. But when I see the attitude and passion, that’s the person I want for our team.”