team penske


Team Penske Turns First Laps of 2011 at Barber Test

2011 Indy Car

LEEDS, Ala. (March 1, 2011) – Team Penske took to the track at Barber Motorsports Park for the first laps of the 2011 IZOD INDYCAR Series season on Tuesday. Drivers Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power all spent considerable time on the track getting re-acquainted with their cars, engineers and crews.

For the drivers it was a welcome opportunity to get back in the cockpit and on to the track. For the engineers it was a chance to try a few of the ideas they were working on in the off-season and for the mechanics it was an opportunity to get back into the flow of a day at the race track.

The day was smooth and productive for all three crews and drivers. There were no official timed laps, but all of the teams were pleased with the work they accomplished.

“It felt great to be back in the car,” said Helio Castroneves. “Today was mostly about getting back in to a groove and finding our rhythm. We spent the first part of the day just getting comfortable and then in the afternoon we were actually able to test a few things out on the track. Overall, it was a very productive day and I certainly look forward to coming back for the open test in a couple of weeks.”

“I was happy to be back in an IndyCar, it has been a long time away from the car for all of us,” said Ryan Briscoe. “We spent the morning just kind of knocking the rust off. This afternoon we were able to get into our test program and it was a productive afternoon. We are already looking ahead to the open test and we are excited to get the season underway.”

“We had a great day on track, it felt like I had not been out the car at all and was almost surprised at how I immediately felt comfortable,” said Will Power. “I can’t wait to come back for the open test and then get down to business in what is sure to be one of the most competitive seasons in IndyCar history.”

Team Penske will next take the track at the open test March 14 -15 at Barber Motorsports Park.


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Team Penske Signs Shell and Izod


For more than 20 years, most of the Indy race cars fielded by Roger Penske and his formidable team were painted Day-Glo orange and white and carried the Marlboro logo, a brand made by the team’s primary sponsor, Phillip Morris USA. The cars were one of the most easily recognizable in motorsports, in part because Team Penske drivers won the Indianapolis 500 several times in Marlboro colors.

But Phillip Morris dropped its sponsorship at the beginning of last season, and, like other teams, Penske has needed to piece together sponsorships to keep fielding a full three-car team. Within the last week, Penske has announced three deals that, along with Verizon’s continuing primary sponsorship of Will Power, the up-and-coming Australian driver, could benefit his team enormously.

Team Penske said Monday that Izod, which is also the title sponsor of the IndyCar series, would be the primary sponsor of the car driven by Ryan Briscoe in several races in 2011, including the Indy 500. The car driven by Helio Castroneves at Indy and in other races will be sponsored by Shell, Penske said Friday. Meijer, a retail chain in the Midwest, will be an associate sponsor of all three cars.

Izod had been the sponsor of the Andretti Autosport car driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay, another rising star. Tony Kanaan, another longtime driver on the team owned by Michael Andretti, lost 7-Eleven as his sponsor and his ride with Andretti at the end of the season. Meijer had been an associate sponsor for Marco Andretti, Michael’s son.

Sponsorship dollars, which are even more vital to success in auto racing than horsepower, have moved decidedly in Team Penske’s direction. Further, there is the strong possibility that Sam Hornish Jr., the 2006 Indy 500 champion, who has not had much success racing stock cars in the last three years, could race in the 2011 Indy 500 for Penske.

“He’s always had an open invitation to run the Indy 500 with us. Nothing’s changed,” Tim Cindric, the president of Penske Racing, said in a teleconference on Monday.

Referring to Hornish’s status as a Sprint Cup driver, Cindric added, “I think what’s changed is the fact we haven’t been able to secure a full‑time Cup ride for him. And that makes things a bit more obvious. But he’s always had an open invitation with us to run Indy.”

Although the series has been energized by signing on at least three manufacturers for a new car program for the 2012 season, the imbalance in sponsorship dollars could be seen as a step back for parity in the series. The top five in last year’s standings drove either for Chip Ganassi or Penske. (Dario Franchitti, the series champion, drove for Ganassi.)

Danica Patrick finished 10th in the standings last year driving a car for Michael Andretti. Kanaan was sixth, Hunter-Reay was seventh and Marco Andretti was eighth. Mike Kelly, executive vice president of marketing for Izod’s parent company, Phillips-VanHeusen, said his company simply thought sponsoring Penske’s team was a better business opportunity.

“There’s no question he’s a contender out on the track,” Kelly said of Hunter-Reay.

[Source: The New York Times]

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Constructors: Team Penske

Construction Team Penske

An aluminum salesman, Roger Penske began racing in the late 1950s and enjoyed considerable success as a sports car driver in the United States. He did the occasional single-seater race, including a couple of United States Grands Prix before he turned his hand to NASCAR. He retired from the sport in 1964 to concentrate on building up a network of car dealerships and as these began to flourish he established Team Penske in 1966 with Mark Donohue as the driver/engineer. The team enjoyed rapid success in CanAm and TransAm and won the classic Daytona 24 Hours in 1969, Donohue becoming Rookie of the Year at Indianapolis on the team’s first appearance at the 500. Successes followed in Championship racing, TransAm and Formula 5000. The 1972 season marked a high point for the operation as Donohue won the Indianapolis 500 and the team won the CanAm title with George Follmer driving a Porsche 917. Further successes were added in NASCAR and USAC and at the end of 1974 Roger Penske decided to enter a team in Formula 1.

The team was sponsored by First National City and a factory was established in Poole, England. The first car – the Penske PC1 – appeared at the Canadian Grand Prix in 1974 where Mark Donohue finished 12th. The following year Donohue persevered with the car but it was not very competitive and at midseason Penske decided to switch to the March 751. Three races later Donohue died after a practice accident at the Osterreichring. The team regrouped and ran John Watson in the final race of the season at Watkins Glen. The following year Watson was signed up to drive a new Penske PC3 but this was not as good as had been hoped and in the midseason Penske produced a new PC4. This was much better and at the Austrian GP, a year after Donohue’s death, Watson gave the team its first victory.

At the end of the year Penske announced that the team would not be continuing in 1977. The cars were sold to Gunther Schmid’s ATS team and the Penske factory in Poole began producing Indycar chassis.

The first Penske-built Indycar – the PC5 – appeared in the summer of 1977 and was a replica of the McLarenM24. Driving a McLaren (with which he won at Texas and Pocono) and then the PC5, Tom Sneva won the USAC title in 1977 and in 1978 followed up with another title in the Penske PC6. In 1979 Rick Mears gave the team its third consecutive title.

In the 1980s Penske remained the force to be reckoned with in CART while also expanding into NASCAR and into track ownership but he never returned to F1 – despite regular rumors that he was planning to do so.


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Shell Signs Multi-Series Sponsorship Deal with Penske Racing

Shell signs multi-series sponsorship deal with Penske Racing – Penske Social

For years Marlboro has been nearly synonymous with Penske, its racing cars (in open-wheels especially) adorned with the tobacco company’s red-and-white color scheme for decades, even if their name hasn’t appeared on the cars since 2005. But after 19 years in racing together, Marlboro parent company Phillip Morris ended its sponsorship of the motor racing dynasty earlier this year. Now it appears that Shell Oil could be taking its place.

The deal, which comes into effect next season, encompasses Penske Racing teams in several series, including the Indy Racing League and both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series in NASCAR, but does not appear to extend to Penske’s American Le Mans Series team.

In the Sprint Cup, the Shell deal comes at the expense of Richard Childress Racing (pictured above), which brought in Shell to replace Jack Daniels sponsorship which it lost last year. The Shell and Pennzoil logos will instead adorn the #22 car of Penske’s former champion Kurt Busch, while teammate Brad Keselowski’s #2 Dodge will continue with Miller Lite sponsorship. In Indy, meanwhile, the sponsorship replaces Penske’s longstanding deal with ExxonMobil.

[Source: Autosport]

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