Roger Penske, Dick Johnson, Marcos Ambrose ... It doesn't get much better than that.
Team Penske announced today that it will form a partnership with one of the most successful motorsport teams in Australia, Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) and will compete in the popular V8 Supercars Championship, beginning in 2015.
DJR is the oldest racing team in Australian motorsport and have now joined forces with one of the most iconic team owners in all of racing. They currently compete with Scott Pye and David Wall.
With our new business ventures in Australia, it makes sense to showcase our brands through the V8 Supercars Championship
The driver announcement that goes with this may be even bigger than the partnership ... That would be none-other than the ace, Marcos Ambrose himself. He will pilot the No. 17 Ford Falcon.
Ambrose is a two-time V8 Supercars champion; winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. Ambrose won 28 of the 65 races he entered in the series. Ambrose then moved on to a winning career in NASCAR where he has earned seven wins and eight pole positions while competing in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series over the past nine seasons.
Team Penske statement
“Team Penske is excited to partner with Dick Johnson Racing to compete in the V8 Supercars Championship starting next season,” said Roger Penske. “We believe in building our businesses through racing and our success on the track. With our new business ventures in Australia, it makes sense to showcase our brands through the V8 Supercars Championship and the opportunity to work with DJR and Marcos Ambrose convinced us to go forward.”
Dick Johnson statement
“We are certainly looking forward to this new challenge,” said Dick Johnson, a legendary driver himself who claimed five Australian Touring Car Championships and won the prestigious Bathurst 1000 race three times before he retired from racing in 1999. “I have always admired what Roger Penske has accomplished in business and with his racing teams and it will be a thrill to work with Team Penske and Marcos in 2015.”
This is a great opportunity to return home to a place that I love in a Series where I’ve experienced a lot of success
If any team owner should be able to deal with Ambrose, it is Johnson, who had his own stint in backmarker NASCAR Cup cars in the 1989 and 1990. Perhaps his most famous moment came in the Banquet 300 road race in Sonoma in 1989. Johnson hit some oil, left the track and high-sided the number 38 car on a tire barrier.
It was a brief period when ESPN had live microphones in race cars. As he hit the barrier, Johnson shouted, Ah, f***!” ... After which laughing announcer Bob Jenkins told Johnson, “We love your accent!” It was the last time live sound was allowed on ESPN race broadcasts.
Johnson, now 69, ran five Cup races plus the Winston Open for sponsor Redkote, with an average finish of 30th.
Marcos Ambrose statement
“This is a great opportunity to return home to a place that I love in a Series where I’ve experienced a lot of success,” said Ambrose, who has earned two career victories at the highest level of NASCAR competition – the Sprint Cup Series. “It will be an honor to race for two motorsport legends in Roger Penske and Dick Johnson.”
Bringing together two powerhouses
Team Penske has produced more than 400 race wins and 26 national championships in its storied history while DJR has earned over 80 victories and seven Australian Touring Car/V8 Supercar titles in over 35 years of racing.
Quotes via Team Penske and Dick Johnson Racing