Why Roger Penske will transform IndyCar and Indianapolis Speedway
By acquiring Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series, Roger Penske has landed his greatest deal, and now faces one of his toughest jobs. But there is no better man to provide the adrenaline shot needed by U.S. open-wheel racing, writes David Malsher.
In the modern sense of the word, Roger Penske has ‘owned’ Indianapolis Motor Speedway for quite some time. His team’s 18 Indianapolis 500 wins are one obvious illustration of that, since nearest rival car owners Michael Andretti (2005-’17) and Lou Moore (1938-’49) are on five apiece, and Chip Ganassi (2000-’12) is on four. No less significant is how rarely Penske cars are off the pace at Indy: sure, the occasional bad pitstop or driver misjudgment will harm the result, but in terms of pace, The Captain’s armada is almost always right there.
That’s no surprise. It’s an open secret within Team Penske that the boss puts higher stock in conquering the Brickyard than winning the IndyCar championship, so much of the squad’s off-season car development goes into superspeedway improvements. And that will remain the case even now that Pocono Raceway’s deletion from the IndyCar calendar leaves IMS as the series’ only oval over 1.5 miles in length. Therefore, given the depth and quality of human and financial resources at the team’s disposal, it’s to be expected that Penske cars are prominent in the month of May.
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