Roger Penske stands among the most successful team owners in motorsports history. The man seems to have the Midas touch in racing no matter what the discipline with victories in Trans Am, IndyCar, NASCAR and endurance racing over his illustrious career. Plus, he has built a fortune from businesses like car dealers and truck rentals over the years and even nearly bought Saturn from General Motors at one point.
When it comes to open-wheel racing, there are few names as big as Penske. But while Roger may not be fielding a team in the new Formula E championship, his son Jay is. The media mogul runs his own Dragon Racing team in the IndyCar Series, and will be competing in the electric racing series this season as well.
Dodge is leaving NASCAR on a high note. The automaker snagged the 2012 Sprint Cup series championship on Sunday when Penske and Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag at the Ford EcoBoost 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The championship win marks the fifth such title for Dodge and the company's first since 1975. That last championship victory came at the hands of none other than Richard Petty.
AJ Allmendinger did the crime when he took a pill offered by a "buddy" that was found to contain an amphetamine banned by NASCAR, then he did the time – losing his Penske drive and spending roughly two months in a Road to Recovery program – and now he's earned his way back into NASCAR society. The sport's governing body reinstated Allmendinger on Tuesday, so now the ex-IndyCar and NASCAR driver is waiting to figure out where he's going to go.
You could see this one coming like the draft around the high banks at Talladega. Penske Racing gave beleaguered NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger his walking papers today, a week after the sanctioning body indefinitely suspended him for failing a drug test. Allmendinger is currently ranked 25th in the points in the series.
What else could Roger Penske say? As the promoter and most public face of the Detroit Grand Prix, what else could the man do besides promise that the miserable track surface will be fixed before next year's race? Oh yeah, he could have made sure that the Belle Isle circuit was properly prepared for last weekend's event, which most certainly did not happen.
Unlike his pre-BAR Honda F1 days, Jacques Villeneuve's NASCAR career has been strewn with potholes – and by "potholes" we mean crashes, mechanical failures and lowly finishes. But there have been a few successes, with third-place finishes at Montreal in 2010 and at Road America in 2011 – both road courses – and pole position at Montreal last year in the Nationwide Series.
When McLaren was bringing its new MP4-12C to the United States, there were fears that Americans wouldn't recognize the name. After all, the team from Woking is known principally for competing in Formula One, which has had a spotty presence in the U.S. at best. Those fears proved to be misplaced, as customers in the States have been snatching up all the McLaren supercars they can get their hands on. And part of that might come down to the days when McLaren didn't only race in America, it dominate
There must be something in the water at the Busch household. Kurt Busch has reportedly just parted ways with Penske by "mutual agreement" after a season packed with controversy. The racer won 16 events in just six years of racing with the team, but lately found himself drawing headlines more for his off-track antics. Busch entered into a confrontation with two members of the media after a race in Richmond in September. He also lobbed a volley of obscenities at an ESPN reporter during the season
Open-wheel racing is returning to the Motor City next summer. The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will be held June 1-3, the first of a three-year sponsorship deal between General Motors, Penske Corporation and the IndyCar series. The weekend of racing will feature not only an IndyCar race, but the first Grand-Am event ever held on Detroit's island course.
Never underestimate the power of the middle finger. After a rain-delay restart ordered by IndyCar officials at New Hampshire Motor Speedway resulted in a crash, driver Will Power chose to express his displeasure by giving those officials a taste of universal sign language with both hands. The event happened on August 14, and chief race steward Brian Barnhart eventually issued an apology for the decision to get the competition underway again after calling the race off. Still, that hasn't stopped
On or off the track, Roger Penske is a force to be reckoned with. His team has taken the victory lap 15 times at the Indianapolis 500 and his business ventures have made him one of America's richest and most powerful entrepreneurs.