Team Penske Travel Handles All The Details

October 27, 2020

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Team Penske fans love to watch their favorite drivers and teams compete at tracks all over the country during the racing season. In 2020, the challenges of traveling to tracks and competing in NASCAR, INDYCAR and IMSA races has become a little more complicated during the time of a global pandemic. Thankfully, Team Penske relies on an experienced and dedicated travel department to coordinate all of the details and overcome any obstacles encountered by the hundreds of team members that commute from the team’s headquarters in Mooresville, NC to race tracks all over North America to compete throughout the course of the long racing season.

Angela Fultz and Kristin Scott essentially serve as an internal travel agency for Team Penske as they help coordinate the travel arrangements and logistics for the team’s employees each week. Fultz, a 20-year team member with Team Penske, has witnessed the evolution of team travel and she has helped guide the organization through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When I started at Team Penske, I was responsible for just the NASCAR travel on two full-time Cup Series teams,” said Fultz. “Over time that number grew and we eventually formed the travel department in 2017 to handle all of the NASCAR, INDYCAR and IMSA travel. Right now, we’re responsible for booking four NASCAR Cup Series teams, one NASCAR Xfinity Series team, three NTT INDYCAR SERIES teams and the two IMSA teams.”

For Fultz and Scott, coordinating team travel means being on-call and ready to address each and every change and detail that team members may encounter while on the road.

“A lot of our crew members are able to fly on the team plane, but we still have a fair amount of our team that travels via a private charter and also commercially,” said Scott. “With commercial travel you’ll invariably end up with flight delays and other glitches along the way, but that’s all part of the job.”        

On any given weekend, Fultz and Scott schedule between six and nine flights utilizing the team’s plane and another charter flight provider for the NASCAR and INDYCAR teams if the two series are racing on the same weekend. On a typical INDYCAR SERIES race weekend, there can be up to an additional three and sometimes five commercial flights needed for the team and the same is true with the organization’s IMSA teams, whose flights are typically all commercial.

While the overwhelming majority of team members get to the track by way of air travel, Team Penske’s transportation department leads the charge on the ground, hauling cars and equipment to the track each weekend. During the racing season, the travel department can have 12-14 Freightliner trucks and as many as 28 drivers on the road. Those drivers often reach their final destinations in the middle of the night, and if a rental car or hotel booking gets crossed, the reliable Fultz and Scott tandem are on-call to quickly resolve the issue.

One of the biggest undertakings each year for the Team Penske travel department comes during the Month of May, when the organization’s INDYCAR teams descend on the city of Indianapolis for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500.

For the Month of May, Team Penske typically coordinates approximately 25 commercial flights with over 90 rooms booked in Indianapolis as the majority of the team become temporary residents of the city. With so many team members stationed in Indianapolis, away from the Mooresville home-base, Scott typically travels to Indy to be on-site during the month to handle any issues. During a normal year, Team Penske welcomes a number of sponsor guests during the month of May for both the Indy GP and the Indianapolis 500, and the team’s travel department is there to provide any needed support to ensure a smooth race weekend experience.

In 2019 alone, Fultz and Scott booked over 3,400 rooms for race weekends across the three major sanctioning body race schedules. That number doesn’t include the more than 250 rooms booked for other travel and events. The total number of nights booked for last season far exceeded 11,000.

As the 2020 race season began, Fultz and Scott had all of Team Penske’s hotel rooms booked for the entire season. In March, however, the racing world paused as the COVID-19 pandemic brought out the red flag.

“Scrap it and start again is a lot easier said than done,” according to Fultz. “Every hotel room we’d booked, every flight that was booked, every rental car we had reserved for the entire calendar year had to be canceled. On top of that, we had to wait until each series was able to release a schedule, or portion of a schedule, so that we could go back to the original hotels to book, which we were able to do in most cases.”

When racing returned in May from a 10-week shut down, travel was completely different than before. Like all other aspects of our “new normal,” travel protocols were put in place and the Team Penske travel department had to account for that as well.

“While the total numbers of traveling team members were down, room numbers were actually up in many cases,” explained Fultz. “Everyone was put into their own room for distancing and we moved to assigned seating on our flights to have specific contact tracing ability. Additionally, everyone had to begin traveling in masks and wearing gloves.”

As the 2020 race season draws to a close, Fultz and Scott continue to stay on top of the ever-changing travel landscape as they navigate last-minute flight schedule changes and crew roster adjustments with planning already underway for the 2021 season and the 55th year of competition for Team Penske.



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