Team Penske Trophies Tell Their Own Tales

June 16, 2021

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

With 590 wins to its credit over the years, there so many great moments that have been generated by Team Penske’s victories over the years. Lots of champagne sprayed, thousands of high fives and fist bumps and incredible memories and stories that illustrate all of the wins.

One of the most tangible elements of Team Penske’s unprecedented racing success, however, are then trophies that have been collected from the triumphs of over five decades in racing. Team Penske’s trophy collection represents the countless hours of hard work by the organization’s employees.

When visitors walk into the lobby at Team Penske headquarters in Mooresville, NC, one of the first things that they notice is the impressive trophy display. There are 18 Baby Borg Warner trophies won by the team for its record total wins in the Indianapolis 500 that greet people when they walk through the main doors at Team Penske. Adding even more blink to the team’s lobby is the Harley J. Earl trophy that recognizes the team’s first Daytona 500 win with Ryan Newman in 2008, among other trophies that celebrate the organization’s success.

Many of the trophies won by the team during its rich history are not displayed at the race shop but they honored and preserved at the Penske Heritage Center in North Carolina. While these trophies are not currently in the public eye, they represent some of the most significant moments in team history and they have their own tales to tell.

The 18th victory of a legendary 55-win career for NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace came on the high-banked short oval in Bristol, Tenn in 1991. Wallace drove the Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac to Victory Lane after leading 104 of the 500 laps. This victory from the pole was a significant win for Wallace, as it marked his first NASCAR Cup Series triumph with Team Penske – the team he would compete for over the next 15 years. Wallace went on to win nine times at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The driver that had the honor of scoring the 100th win for Team Penske was INDYCAR racer Gil de Ferran. The Brazilian driver earned the landmark victory at Nazareth Speedway in 2000 after starting from the fifth position in his Marlboro Honda. Since the team achieved its 100th victory, the wins have come consistently and more frequently. Entering this weekend’s racing, Team Penske is just 10 victories away from 600 all-time wins.  

At Pikes Peak in 2002, de Ferran and his INDYCAR teammate Helio Castroneves started first and second, respectively. It marked the 53rd time that Team Penske drivers started first and second in a race. Not only did they start that way, but de Ferran and Castroneves finished in the same order, representing the 34th time a Team Penske duo finished 1-2.

Winning at Sonoma Raceway is no easy task and what better way to celebrate in wine country than sipping some fresh cabernet out of a champion goblet trophy. Castroneves dominated the 80-lap INDYCAR race at Sonoma in 2008 by claiming the pole, leading 51 laps and holding off his teammate Ryan Briscoe for the win. The Sonoma performance marked the 88th 1-2 start for Team Penske and the 56th 1-2 finish for the team.

These impressive pieces of hardware are just a few examples of the hundreds of trophies that chronicle the team’s success at the Penske Heritage Center. Each trophy that migrates from the racetrack to the team archives carries its own story. The trophies in the unique collection represent the collective will to win that starts at the top with Roger Penske and carries throughout the organization. With hard work, determination and focus, Team Penske looks to continue to add more trophies and more tales to its history as the team advances to its next landmark of success – 600 wins across all of its racing platforms.

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