Roger Penske, the most successful team owner in Indy car history and the winningest team owner at the Indianapolis 500, claimed yet another monumental motorsports achievement as the champion team owner in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series.
Penske won his second NASCAR Cup title Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida when Joey Logano lived up to his guarantee as “the favorite” and blew by race leader and defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. in the closing laps to win the championship race.
Logano became the second driver to win the Cup title for Penske, following Brad Keselowski in 2012.
The latest achievement allowed Penske to come close to scoring a clean sweep of major North American motorsports achievements in 2018. Will Power scored his first Indianapolis 500 win in May in a Team Penske entry, extending Penske’s record to 17 victories at “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” That came two weeks after Power also won the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Keselowski gave Penske the Indianapolis Motor Speedway sweep when he drove to victory in the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard in September. It was Penske’s first win in the NASCAR event on the IMS oval. A week later, Team Penske scored its 500th victory in all motorsports disciplines when Keselowski won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The only major award Team Penske didn’t win was the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series championship. Power finished third in the title fight to Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi the same day Keselowski won at Las Vegas.
For Penske, Logano’s championship on Sunday was another proud moment in a long line of racing accomplishments, many of which have come in the Indianapolis 500.
From Mark Donohue giving Penske his first Indy 500 win in 1972, to Rick Mears’ four triumphs, to Helio Castroneves’ three, to Power’s first in 2018 – and everyone in between – Penske has made an indelible impact on motorsports. And the 81-year-old Penske who shows no signs of slowing down.
In all racing series, Team Penske has 504 victories, 578 pole positions and 33 national championships.
“Those are all special milestones, and for me, 33 championships that gives us as Team Penske, and certainly to get the Indianapolis race, the Southern 500 (at Darlington), and now to think that we're the champion of 2018 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is something that I never imagined it at the beginning,” Penske said amidst the celebration Sunday night at Homestead.
In Indy car racing alone, Team Penske has 203 race wins, 264 poles and 15 season championships.
“To see Team Penske in this championship hunt, it’s a team effort and this guy (Logano) did it there at the end when it counted,” Penske said. “He said he wasn’t going to do anything but win and that is what he did tonight.
“He beat all of these guys fair and square.”
Castroneves, a South Florida resident, was at the track to cheer on Logano and help celebrate the championship on stage, even posing with the championship team during the lengthy photo shoot. Power and 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Simon Pagenaud were quick to send Logano their congratulations.
This was a day when all of Team Penske joined to help the organization celebrate the stock car championship.
“When it comes down to it, it’s a big accomplishment,” said Tim Cindric, Team Penske president. “Those guys worked on it and delivered it again today.”
Still, Penske yearns to check off one more accomplishment this year. DJR Team Penske driver Scott McLaughlin leads the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship heading to the season finale Nov. 25 in Newcastle, Australia.
“I'm going to leave Thursday morning to go to Australia,” Penske said. “We're 14 points ahead for the driver championship with Scott McLaughlin. That would be a season to remember, there's no question, when you think about the milestones and all the times we tried to win (in NASCAR) at the Brickyard. Winning all three races there this season.
“We have high respect for our people. We've got great sponsors, and one of the things that I'd have to say, we delivered for our sponsors, and that's given us the opportunity to fund this team at the level it needs to be.”