Team Penske Driver's Cool Canines

September 28, 2020

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

When you race at intense speeds, against the best in the sport at some of the most challenging tracks in the world, it’s nice to have a friendly face to come home to. As they compete for wins and championships for one of the top organizations in sports, many of Team Penske’s drivers enjoy spending time with their pets as a way to relax off the track. Like so many other pet owners, the racer’s appreciate the companionship, loyalty and unconditional emotion that their “little ones” can provide, not to mention their unique personalities and the fact that they are, well, adorable. With so many dog lovers among the current roster of Team Penske drivers, here’s a look at some cool canines – the furry, four-legged, best friends that are part of the racer’s families.  

Sturgill Blaney – Sturgill is a two-year-old shepherd/lap mix and best buddy to Ryan Blaney. The 26-year-old driver has long loved dogs and he pursued the breed in search of a pet. During his quest, the No. 12 Ford Mustang racer came across and rescued Sturgill as a puppy from Saving Grace in Raleigh, N.C. in 2018. Saving Grace is an organization dedicated to helping homeless animals find permanent, loving homes. Sturgill has a very unique name, but the handle might sound familiar to avid country music fans. Sturgill is indeed named after Sturgill Simpson, one of Blaney’s favorite singer/songwriters.

Millie Logano - Joey Logano and his wife Britney love having Millie, a one-year-old black and white Frenchie as part of their family. Millie joined Team Logano as a puppy from a local North Carolina breeder and she is the little sister to the family’s late Frenchie, Luigi.  Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Millie was the No. 22 Ford Mustang driver’s travel companion and a regular at racetracks where she liked to frolic in the driver/owner lots on the NASCAR circuit. Millie has a “spunky and sweet” personality of her own and enjoys rides around town, snuggles and belly rubs from all the members of the Logano family.

Norman Pagenaud – Norman Pagenaud is as close as they come to a celebrity pet in the Team Penske family. A precocious Jack Russell Terrier, Norman became the “fur-child” of Simon Pagenaud and his wife Hailey four years ago. He was almost called “Vader” because of Simon’s love for Star Wars movies, but instead he was named after Lake Norman, the largest man-made body of fresh water in North Carolina, that’s near Team Penske headquarters in Mooresville, N.C and the Pagenaud’s home. Shortly after the Simon and Hailey welcomed Norman to their family, he attended his first race at Barber Motorsports Park in 2016 and his dad ended up winning the race from the pole in the No. 22 Chevrolet. Since then, Norman has been a regular on the INDYCAR circuit and he’s even become a world traveler joining his parents on their annual trips to France. Norman is in demand as he has a personal services agreement with Julius K9, a dog harness manufacturer and he was famously featured on the Baby Borg Warner trophy created for Simon following his memorable Indianapolis 500 win in 2019.The base of the trophy features Norman’s tiny head positioned next to dad’s likeness. Anyone that needs more Norman in their life can follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @NormanPagenaud as the popular pooch has more than 12,000 combined followers across both social media channels.

Brian DiBenedetto - Brian is a great Pyrenees mix that Matt and Taylor DiBenedetto rescued from Hartman’s Haven Dog Rescue in Hickory N.C. Hartman’s is non-profit, all-volunteer, all-donation supported rescue for unwanted and homeless dogs that operates solely with a small network of foster homes. Brian was found under an abandoned house in Catawba County. N.C. with his mom, his brothers and sisters. The DiBenedetto’s rescued Brian when he was eight weeks old and now he lives a spoiled life with full run of the DiBenedetto’s household. Brian is a prominent personality on Matt’s social media channels and he’s become popular with the followers of the No. 21 Ford Mustang driver. Brian actually got his name from the popular animated television comedy Family Guy! The DiBenedetto’s named their canine companion after Brian Griffin, the wise and worldly talking dog voiced by Seth MacFarlane in the long-running series.

Spot and Martin Montoya – The Montoya family is home to two dynamic doggies. Spot is a seven-year-old and Martin is a four-old. The dogs joined the Montoya clan in Florida and they have attended several races with their dad, Juan Pablo – winner of the 2015 Indianapolis 500 for Team Penske and current IMSA sports car racer for Acura Team Penske – his wife Connie and their family. Spot got his name due to the large spot on his back and Martin already had his name when he joined the Montoyas but they all liked it and decided Martin Montoya had a nice ring to it.

Lollipop Castroneves - Lollipop is a six-year-old Tea-Cup Yorkshire Terrier that was delivered to the Castroneves’ home courtesy of Santa Claus! Lollipop was named by Mikaella, the daughter of three-time Team Penske Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and current Acura Team Penske sports car standout. Lollipop loves traveling with the Castroneves family to races and she may win the prize for the cutest name among all the Team Penske driver’s pets.

Henry Cameron – Henry is a four-year-old golden doodle who was adopted by Acura Team Penske IMSA Champion racer Dane Cameron and his family. Though Henry is a doodle breed, he certainly looks like a full golden retriever. The Camerons adopted Henry three-and-a-half years ago after a family on Dane’s son’s baseball team developed a dog allergy and the pooch needed to find a new home. Henry travels with his family on local road trips and to the mountains and he’s also journeyed to see extended family in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to playing, Henry also loves to take long naps with his humans.

Chase McLaughlin – A two-and-a-half-year-old Cavoodle – King Charles Cavalier and Poodle mix – Chase first joined the McLaughlin family in 2017. Reigning DJR Team Penske Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin and his wife Karly gave Chase a home when Karly first moved to Australia from the United States to begin the couple’s new life together. After an extensive online search for dog names and a realization that their newest family member loved a good game of “fetch,” the McLaughlins knew they found an appropriate moniker for Chase! He is also known as the “Sheriff of the house” as he never leaves their side when they are home. Chase does not travel with the newlyweds when his parents are out of town but he visits with the McLaughlin’s long-time friends, who also have a Cavoodle – named Shadow. Chase and Shadow are the same age, they have known each other since they were puppies and McLaughlin points out the two dogs are “literally best friends.”

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