Look Back at The Penske Games, Entering Its Final Laps

October 19, 2020

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

Who knew what visual magic would be created by simply taking some of the world’s most talented racecar drivers and pitting them against each other in simple, yet challenging party games? The Penske Games has become one of the most engaging, fun and compelling video features on social media over the last few years and as the Games begin their final laps, look back with us to how all the fun began.

In 2017, in an effort to create a cool content series that would engage fans on its social media channels and showcase the personalities and playful rivalries of its drivers, Team Penske unveiled “The Penske Games.” The video series was intended to shine the spotlight on the team’s drivers in a lighthearted manner by having them participate in silly games that would get them out of their comfort zones. The challenge was accepted, and the Penske Games was born.

No one could have imagined what happened next as the Penske Games became a huge hit.

The first season of the Penske Games featured the drivers competing against each other in simple games with each driver captured on video individually in front of a white backdrop. The drivers shared their frustrations, excitement and accomplishment with the video crew and some of the best content emerged from the remarkable self-deprecating commentary from the competitors as they laughed at themselves while trying their best to conquer each challenge.

The very first Penske Games featured the drivers building a car out of Legos and the driver that constructed their vehicle the fastest was determined the winner. After that strong debut, some of the early Penske Games included the drivers hula hooping as long as they could, reciting the alphabet backwards, drawing specific items blindfolded and so much more.

One of the more memorable moments of the first season occurred during the hula hoop round. Former INDYCAR and Indianapolis 500 champ Simon Pagenaud made the claim that he had never hooped before. After impressing himself with his hula prowess, he started to gather some confidence and sang a little song he came up with…”hula hoop on a regular day.” After fans embraced the saying, Team Penske created a t-shirt with Pagenaud’s likeness and catchyphrase and it became one of the hottest-selling items on the team’s online store.

At the end of the first Penske Games season, a winner was crowned based on total championship points earned over the course of the video series. Adding to his numerous career achievements, which includes three Baby Borg Warner trophies for his three Indianapolis 500 victories, countless victories and pole trophies in both the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, along with a 2007 “Dancing with the Stars” Mirror Ball trophy, Helio Castroneves added one more honor to his legacy. This one represented his prowess for being the best Team Penske driver to win goofy games in front of a camera.

One of the biggest successes of the Penske Games has been how fans have responded to each episode, sharing their feedback on the popular profiles. As more editions of the Games were released, fans eagerly awaited the next chapter and communicated their excitement about not only seeing their favorite driver in a new way, but also learning more about all of the Team Penske racers through their performance in the features. As fans began to embrace different drivers through the Penske Games, many shared that they began to watch other racing series so they could see their new favorite guys competing on the track, as well as off of it.

In addition to fans, the media also began to champion the Penske Games. NASCAR Race Hub on FOX aired the team’s “Chubby Bunny” segment and coverage of the Penske Games episodes and its phenomenon appeared at NBCSports.com, USA Today, FoxSports.com and many others. Media members were fascinated by the competition within the team, often times asking the drivers what it was like to bond with teammates not only competing in the same series but other series as well, and how they were able to adapt to the challenges that each game presented.

The team’s peers also recognized and honored the success of the Penske Games. Team Penske won the 2017 Best Use of Social Media honor during the annual NASCAR Marcoms Awards for the fun and quirky video series.

In 2018, Team Penske took the Games to the next level by combining its NASCAR, INDYCAR and IMSA drivers all in one video series.

Last year, DJR Team Penske’s Virgin Australia Supercars Championship drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard flew to the U.S. from Australia to compete in the Penske Games alongside the team’s NASCAR, INDYCAR and IMSA drivers. With some of the world’s biggest racing stars assembled in one room playing games, teasing each other and rooting for their teammates, the personalities and showmanship of the Team Penske drivers continued to shine.

After millions of video views and countless laughs, Team Penske announced prior to the start of this season that 2020 would be the final year for the Penske Games.

Since 2017, the Penske Games has generated more than 15 million views, with 8.6 million minutes viewed for a total reach of over 30 million people!  And fans will be happy to know that there’s more on the horizon with a few more Penske Games planned before the end of the year.

While the laps may be winding down on the Penske Games and the 2020 season, the team plans more exciting video content for the future. Fans should keep their eyes peeled for some fun new features that will be released in 2021!

More Penske Material

Read more about the personalities, stories and moments that make Team Penske unique.