For some teams, they would rather forget their 2014 seasons. For other teams, though, they want to remember them for a long time to come. That is the case for Penske Racing after winning the owner’s championship in XFINITY, a Verizon IndyCar Series Championship and 22 wins between NASCAR and IndyCar.
Looking towards this year, there’s reason why they can’t be as successful as everybody is back on board for another year.
“I think we’re strong as we go into 2015,” Roger Penske said. “It’s amazing in this world today that we can say that all of our sponsors have renewed with us to go forward on multiple year contracts, which gives us a great base to build on as we go into the future. Great wins, some tough racing, both cars right down to the end there as far as the Chase. Joey got in and obviously we didn’t get what we wanted, but I thought the format was outstanding. The numbers that I’ve seen from NASCAR on the media and also the fan base have just been outstanding, so, for me, a great year for Team Penske and no question for our partner at Ford. Think about it, we’ve been with them two years now and we have over 15 wins each year with the Ford Motor Company. That’s a pretty good start for us. We have a lot to live up to as we go forward next year.”
One of the important relationships that Penske has been able to maintain over the years is with the Miller Lite Brewing Company, a partnership that goes back 34 years when Penske owned Michigan International Speedway in the early eighties.
“When the opportunity presented itself in 1990 to partner with Don Miller and Rusty Wallace, Miller was just a natural extension of that because of Rusty’s relationship,” Walt Czarnecki, Vice Chairman of Penske Racing, recalled. “Over these past 30 years and specifically 25 years on the racing side, I really think it’s interesting to see that the Miller Brewing Company, now Miller/Coors, has gone through management changes and ownership changes and one of the consistent, stable parts of their marketing program has been their relationship with Team Penske. That tells me that we’ve delivered, that we’ve provided the value to Miller and conversely they’ve done an awful lot for us, helping our drivers in the past elevate their profiles as well as elevating the profile of Team Penske. So it’s a great partnership with many more years to come.”
If anything, Team Penske feels that they can get stronger via their new technical alliance with the Wood Brothers.
“We’re really looking forward to this association, not only with the team but with the personalities there with Eddie and Len, Glen, of course, and Leonard we’ve known for a long time,” Czarnecki said. “We really view this as an opportunity to enhance the overall technical prowess of both teams. We’ll be sharing a lot of technical information, working with them clearly with Jeremy and Corey Tuckey, who will be the car chief and has also been with Team Penske. The shock person has also been associated with us, Darcy, so we see a very clear avenue channel of communication with both of them communications with both of them enhancing both teams and overall enhancing the Ford effort on the race track.”
While there are no changes to the line-up on the Sprint Cup side with regards to the drivers and crew chiefs, the same can’t be said for the XFINITY side. Greg Erin will take over as crew chief for the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford, a ride that will be split between Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano and possibly others. Jeremy Bullins will move over to WBR to be crew chief for Blaney.
“Greg has been a big part of our organization,” Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing, commented. “Obviously he raced for a championship with Sam back in 2013 and last year he’s been a big part of both of our championships as far as the owner’s championships the last two years. He’s ready to move into the 22 and have to deal with all these different personalities week in and week out, with the three or four different drivers we’ll throw at him, but it’s a proven group and I know Greg is up to the task and we’re certainly having the same expectation to be up there at the front at the end of the year.
“We appreciate the role that Greg has played, not only with the Nationwide team in the past, but he’s also helped us with the Cup test team and that type of thing and he’s invaluable in terms of his experience. Hopefully, that continues to pay off for us with the 22 car.”