For an organization like Team Penske, greatness isn’t something that’s taken lightly. It’s something that’s not achieved for, it’s expected. 40 drivers championships and 18 Indy 500’s later, is an accomplishment to behold. But it’s something that this boy in 1951 never in his wildest dreams expected to happen.
Back in 1951, Jay Penske, Roger’s dad, took his wide-eyed son to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the very first time. It was that day over 61 years ago now, to which sparked Roger Penske’s passion for racing. The younger Penske, wanted to be one of these gladiators. Eventually, he’d become one.
Penske used to race. People forget that. Roger was the 1960 SCCA Driver of the Year in fact. However, one thing that he didn’t do was drive in the Indianapolis 500, the race that started this whole dream and empire of his. He was offered a rookie test but he never took it. Instead, that test went to…
Penske at a young age also had a smart business mind too. That also came from his father. Jay was a successful corporate executive for a metal fabrication company and had always urged his son to become an entrepreneur instead of a race car driver.
So even while racing, Roger would buy older cars, would fix them up and then sell them for a profit. He’d do so out of his family home. So with knowing how to make a buck and a passion that drove him as much joy as racing did, why not merge his passions together?
Roger Penske knew his limits and felt like that rookie test should go to Andretti. I’d say as we sit here six decades later, he made the right choice and helped forge the path for two drivers.
Andretti is an all-time great in Formula One, INDYCAR and NASCAR. Penske is an all-time great in INDYCAR and NASCAR, just as an owner.
61 years after that first visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Penske is on the verge of possibly accomplishing another rare feat that this business mogul has never done before – holding the NASCAR Cup Series as well as the NTT INDYCAR Series championship trophies from the same year.
“I was actually looking at some statistics earlier in the week, and since 1967, we have been multiple champions in seven years, seven seasons, and in three of those seasons, we won three championships,” said Team Penske’s, Walt Czarnecki. “So it was either an INDYCAR championship, NASCAR Xfinity owners’ championship, Australian Supercars championship, NASCAR Cup Series, but never, to your point, INDYCAR and Cup. It really would be something that — it would be one of our goals to do it, particularly this year, so you’re absolutely right.
“We’ve been blessed with good teams all those year, been able to accomplish a lot, but still a little bit more to do, and as I said, this will be one of our goals, to win the Cup and win the INDYCAR in the same year.”
Penske has built an enormous empire employing thousands of humans. Everything he touches turns to gold. It’s not a coincidence. It’s because Penske’s fingerprints are all over everything he does. He doesn’t take anything lightly and always surrounds himself the best.
That’s why for as successful as a year that 2022 has been, it’s something that’s not at all surprising in the very least.
On Sunday in Phoenix, Penske is hoping to Joey Logano joins Will Power as champions in North America’s largest racing series’. No other organization has ever done this feat before and who knows if it will ever happen again.
Penske won 9 of the 17 INDYCAR races this season including a victory by all three drivers. In the Cup Series, all three drivers also won here, although one of which wasn’t a points paying event.
Think about it, they won the Busch Light Clash in the LA Coliseum back in February. Austin Cindric then won the Daytona 500 two weeks later. Ryan Blaney won the NASCAR All-Star race in Texas. Logano is here in the Championship 4 for the fifth time of his career and hoping to net his second championship in those 5 tries.
If he can do so, he’d be the first Penske Cup driver to win multiple championships. Among their 40 career championship trophies, only 4 of which have come in NASCAR. 2 in the Xfinity Series (1 by Brad Keselowski and 1 by Austin Cindric) and 2 more in Cup (1 each from Keselowski and Logano).
Logano would be the first Penske driver with 2 crowns.