Penske Profile - Michael Ribas

March 26, 2015

This is the sixth installment of “Penske Profile,” a series which highlights both past and present employees who have helped shape and build Team Penske into what it is today. This month’s Penske Profile subject is currently serving his 10th season with the historic organization.  Michael Ribas currently oversees public relations for Brad Keselowski but started his Penske career as a front-end mechanic on the No. 7 DHL Penske Porsche. Ribas has seen many race wins and championships in his diverse career at Team Penske.

Ribas, a native of San Diego, California attended his first race – a Midget race at Balboa Stadium in San Diego – at the young age of five with his father. While growing up in San Diego, Ribas would watch the CRA Sprit cars run at local tracks, including Speedway 117 and Ascot. He got his start in racing with his friend Steve Stevens when they built a Factory Mini-Stock Car, which Ribas owned and drove.

Long before getting started at Team Penske, Ribas served four years in the US Navy as a gas turbine systems technician. His first professional racing job was on an SCCA Pro Series Formula Ford team. He was also part of a World Sports Car team that ran the 24 Hours of Daytona. He spent four years as a mechanic at Newman-Haas Racing, where he also changed front tires, from 1999 through 2001. He then moved to Rocketsports Racing for two years as a mechanic. Ribas was hired as a front-end mechanic on the No. 7 DHL Penske Porsche in 2006 and was a tire carrier on the team for three years. In 2008, the No. 7 DHL Penske Porsche won the 12 Hours of Sebring, which was the 20th ALMS LMP2 class win for Penske and 10th ALMS LMP2 overall win for Penske.

“One of my favorite memories working over the wall at Penske is when we won the overall at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2008. At the time, I worked as the front-end mechanic and also pitted the car. That win will be hard to top since we won by beating some big manufactures and teams in an LMP2 car. This win also meant the most since I worked on the car and pitted it too. In the 12 Hours the team performed a lot of stops and I feel it was a race where I had a meaningful part in the outcome.”

While Ribas worked in the ALMS Series for Penske, the team won 16 races and finished top-three in the championship standings for three consecutive years from 2006-2008. In 2009, Ribas made a transition from the ALMS Series to the Verizon IndyCar Series where he took on the duties as the front-end mechanic on the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara. That year the team won two races with driver Helio Castroneves, including the Indianapolis 500. This was Castroneves’ third Indianapolis 500 win and Team Penske 15th 500 win. The team eventually finished fourth in the championship standings.

After the 2009 season, Ribas made the transition to a Public Relations role for Penske’s IndyCar team where he worked with drivers Ryan Briscoe, Will Power, Helio Castroneves and AJ Allmendinger, working four more Indy 500s from 2010-2013.

After, the 2011 IndyCar season ended, Ribas made a move to NASCAR with Penske, fulfilling the role as the Public Relations representative for the No. 12 Team Penske XFINITY Series Ford Mustang for Sam Hornish, Jr. for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. At the end of the 2013 season, Ribas became the Public Relations Manager for the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion for Brad Keselowski, a role he currently holds.

“My PR role has been quite different than my mechanic days. I have been fortunate to work with great drivers such as Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Sam Hornish Jr. and, currently, Brad Keselowski. Last year was a great season for Team Penske and the No. 2 team. I will never forget when Brad won Talladega in the Chase. That was big. It was clutch, and it came during a time when we were facing a fair amount of adversity.”

During the 2014 season Ribas attended a total of 47 races in both XFINITY and Cup as Keselowski’s PR rep, he went to 202 sponsor appearances and scheduled 918 media interviews. During the 2014 Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series season, Keselowski celebrated a total of 11 wins and 10 poles.

When Ribas has some down time, he likes to read and learn new things. He studies nutrition, metaphysics, and the sociological development of our species. He also enjoins reminding others of their gifts, abilities and that they’re appreciated.

Ribas has the privilege of being a father to Michael, who is 26, Lauren who is 25 and Katie who is 21. Ribas also has a grandson, Carlos, who is about to turn six and resides with a cat named Shadow.