Team Penske March Madness

March 22, 2021

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

For most people, the mention of “Indianapolis, Indiana” brings to mind two timeless sports institutions – the Indianapolis 500 and basketball. Hoosiers certainly appreciate “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and the game invented by Dr. James Naismith with equal fanfare.

In 2021, Indianapolis is hosting the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four for the eighth time in history – second only to Kansas City as the city that’s most frequently hosted the final rounds of the NCAA’s premier post-season tournament that began in 1939, 28 years after the first Indianapolis 500. This year’s tournament is unique, however, as the Indianapolis area is hosting all the games of the 64-team tournament to help provide a more controlled and safer environment in an effort to minimize any impact from COVID-19.

While “March Madness” has a bit of a different feeling in 2021, it’s the greatest time of the year for basketball fans everywhere – including Team Penske.

As the NCAA tournament action continues in Indianapolis this week before the Final Four, April 3-5, check out our Team Penske “starting lineup” reflecting some team members that have a unique hoop history that shines at this time of the year.

David Nichols – David Nichols is a long-time tire specialist for Team Penske, but he has been a fan of the Syracuse Orange basketball team for much longer. Hailing from Macedon, NY, which lies in between Rochester, NY and the Syracuse University campus, Nichols has been a diehard follower of the Orange for 35 years. He has a special place in his heart for the 2003 Syracuse team that won the national championship behind freshman standout Carmelo Anthony. Nichol’s favorite memory, however, is the team’s six-overtime game against the University of Connecticut in the 2009 Big East tournament – a game in which the Orange were victorious. To prove his loyalty to the team he loves, Nichols sports a Syracuse tattoo on his upper arm.


Tommy Chandler – The engine tuner for Team Penske’s reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series championship No. 22 Ford team and driver Austin Cindric, Tommy Chandler is a longtime fan of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Chandler’s fandom dates back to the days of legendary Kentucky Coach Joe B. Hall and the team’s 1978 NCAA national championship win over Duke University. Chandler grew up in the racing and basketball hotbed of Owensboro, Kentucky. While his team unfortunately did not earn a spot in the tournament this year, Chandler has plenty of great Wildcat memories to help him through this spring, including his favorite Kentucky basketball moment from 1996 when the team captured one of its eight NCAA national titles.

Tim Cindric – Surprised to see the President of Team Penske included on our March Madness starting five? Many people may not know that Tim Cindric was a standout basketball player in Indiana before he began his career in racing. Cindric was a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s prestigious Silver Anniversary team honoring his career at Pike High School in Indianapolis. He was inducted into Pike High School’s Hall of Fame in 2010. Cindric went on to star at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. His efforts on the hardwood resulted in being named to the Rose-Hulman Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.

Jonathan Diuguid – The race engineer for the No. 3 Dallara/Chevrolet driven by Scott McLaughlin in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Jonathan Diuguid is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina and a graduate of North Carolina State University. Diuguid majored in mechanical engineering at N.C. State. The Wolfpack have won two NCAA titles and are considered one of the early pioneer programs of big-time college basketball. Diuguid has been a fan of the team since childhood. His favorite Wolfpack memory hails back to the first date with his wife Katherine – a 78-75 N.C. State win over the team’s Tobacco Road rivals, the Duke Blue Devils, at PNC Arena.

Justin Reissmann – Following a basketball career as a forward for West Virginia University Institute of Technology and Davidson County Community College, Justin Reissmann transitioned to NASCAR pit road. He steadily climbed the ranks to the Cup Series, where he currently serves as the fueler for the No. 21 Menards Ford Mustang for Team Penske technical partner Wood Brothers Racing. Reissmann credits basketball with helping with his speed and reaction time that serves him well while springing into action on pit lane. A fan of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Reissmann is rooting for the remaining teams from the conference competing in the tournament and he hopes to see an ACC school cut down the nets as NCAA champion in a couple of weeks.

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