CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Blog By Race Chaser Online Senior Editor Tom Baker — Photo courtesy TeamPenske.com — The last 30 days or so have turned out to be some of the biggest for Team Penske as an organization. This group is on fire right now, winning and growing and succeeding on all fronts this season.
Their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operation is looking an awful lot like the Championship team of 2012, with the difference being that “Bad Brad” Keselowski has a teammate in Joey Logano who could challenge him right down to the wire. Brad has won two straight races now, and has to be a heavy favorite going into Loudon this weekend because he won there in July.
After years of “almost”, Will Power finally won an IndyCar Championship for “The Captain”, beating out his teammate Helio Castroneves in a points race that was as exciting as any in IndyCar have been in a while. Juan Pablo Montoya also got a victory earlier this year and started to look much more comfortable as the year came to a close.
Speculation about the organization expanding into V8 Supercar racing became fact this week as it was formally announced that they have acquired controlling interest in the Dick Johnson Racing team and hired one of the best ever in that motorsports discipline, Marcos Ambrose, to drive for them in 2015.
This new venture speaks volumes about the way Team Penske goes about the business of Motorsports. Instead of doing a “start-up” program, he went out and bought controlling interest in an existing one and hired a driver who not only is one of the all-time greats in V8 Supercars but has shown the ability to win in NASCAR on road courses, making him a candidate to play a limited role in that capacity if all were in agreement.
As if all that wasn’t enough, you have IndyCar insider Robin Miller speculating that perhaps Simon Pagenaud may end up moving over from Schmidt-Peterson-Hamilton Racing to Penske, who would have to add a fourth team to accommodate that move.
I’m not totally convinced the Pagenaud deal is going to happen, but at this point I put nothing past Roger Penske and his management team. Pagenaud is considered by many in IndyCar to be championship material, and he gave it a very strong run this year with a team that obviously doesn’t have the resources of a Penske or a Ganassi or even an Andretti.
One would imagine that corporate funding would have to be in place for Roger to even considering adding a fourth team, but maybe if he sees Pagenaud as the long-term replacement for one of his veteran racers, he may consider expanding for the short-term.
You may or may not be a fan of one or more of Roger Penske’s drivers, but you cannot deny the first-class way in which he runs his organizations (the race teams and his other business entities).
When it comes to setting the gold standard for success in motorsports, Team Penske surely makes the grade.