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Penske in NASCAR


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#1 brabhamBT19

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 23:44

Hi,

I have few questions about Penske team. Since this board has a few knowledgeable chaps I decided to post it here, although at first I was thinking of posting it over there (for personal reasons) but then finlay I decided to post it here.

Questions:

1) In the early 90s, Penske team was associated with Ford in Nascar competition, while in Indycars they were associated with Chevrolet. How come? Did it bother Ford or Chevrolet for that matter

2) From the early 90s Penskes the main partner in indycars was Marlboro, yet they never ran Marlboro in Nascar. I find it a bit odd since Marlboro was quite popular in the southern states. Was it Winston that prevented that?

3) Was the name "Penske Racing South" official name, or was it used only to distingish the Nascar operation from the main team. Or was infact PRS completely independant from the main team so thats why they could sign contracts with opposition?







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#2 jm70

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 23:59

Winston was the series sponsor at the time, no other cigarettes allowed. Miller Beer was part of the same corporation, thus the Miller Light sponsor.

I believe Penske Racing South was a seperate division of Penskes many. Can't remember the name of one of the partners who recently left, Rusty Wallace was the third with Penske.

#3 Mat

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 00:53

Funnily enough, i believe Penske are still going through the same problems in NASCAR.

One of their Nationwide cars i believe is sponsored by Verizon (Sprint opposition) and so i believe they enter the car under a name like 'Penske Verizon Racing' but the car runs in just black Penske branding.

#4 deancrew

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 01:25

Hi,

I have few questions about Penske team. Since this board has a few knowledgeable chaps I decided to post it here, although at first I was thinking of posting it over there (for personal reasons) but then finlay I decided to post it here.

Questions:

1) In the early 90s, Penske team was associated with Ford in Nascar competition, while in Indycars they were associated with Chevrolet. How come? Did it bother Ford or Chevrolet for that matter

2) From the early 90s Penskes the main partner in indycars was Marlboro, yet they never ran Marlboro in Nascar. I find it a bit odd since Marlboro was quite popular in the southern states. Was it Winston that prevented that?

3) Was the name "Penske Racing South" official name, or was it used only to distingish the Nascar operation from the main team. Or was infact PRS completely independant from the main team so thats why they could sign contracts with opposition?



Penske's NASCAR efforts go back to 1972 when he and Mark Donohue ventured South with AMC and the MATADOR as a way to continue with AMC with the demise of a competitive TRANS AM series. That effort which led to a Donohue win at the Winston Western 500 @ Riverside in 1973, ( A first with Disc Brakes in Winston Cup Cars. . .An "Unfair Advantage! ) also had Dave Marcis, Gary Bettenhausen, and Bobby Allison each taking turns behind the wheel. Allison delievered several wins starting at Ontario in 1974 with more in '75 including the Southern 500. The MATADOR ended its run with PENSKE at Riverside in jan 1976 with a Spectacular CAM 2 Scheme, and was replaced with a Mercury Montego, which at the time seemed to be hot choice for NASCAR with the Wood Brothers and Bud Moore winning several races a year since '73. That effort never showed any fruit, and by '77 Allison had moved on to his own team and was replaced by Dave Marcis in 1977, and the Mercury's were replaced by Chevy Laguna's and Monte Carlos. Beautiful cars resplendent in CAM 2 colors they nonetheless had no success. and by the end of the year PENSKE was out of NASCAR, and sold his entire stock of Winston Cup cars to the Elliot Family & Rod Osterlund, who enabled one Dale Earnhardt to win Rookie of the year and Champion honors back to back. . . thats another story.

Penske returned to NASCAR briefly in 1980 with Chevy's and a very young Rusty Wallace, with a couple of good runs, gauging a return down south with cars sponsored by NORTON and PENSKE Chevrolet. He decided against it, instead concentrating on CART and Indycar racing, which was his earlier reason for abandoning his previous efforts. He did return though in 1991 with Rusty Wallace and Miller Beer and PONTIAC's with the #2. They moved to a new development program
with FORD Thunderbird's in the mid 90's, and joined with Michael Kranefuss's #12 team, eventually buying it outright, before evolving to 3 teams, and moving to DODGE. Which is where he is today. The only MARLBORO signage ever seen on a PENSKE Related Stock Car was an IROC / Marlboro activity in the mid 90's for a promotion. The Cars looked fantastic. MILLER has been a constant, as has MOBIL 1, Kodak was with the team for 2-3 years as well. Though competitive always, success at the ROUSH or HENDRICK levels has yet to be attained. Though i'm sure with time PENSKE will conquer in NASCAR as well.

#5 Direct Drive

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 03:31

Was it Winston that prevented that?



According to one of the Marlboro executives with whom I occasionally worked, Philip Morris and RJR had a "gentleman's agreement" not to tread on each other's turf, which meant NASCAR and drag racing for RJR, F1 and CART for Marlboro, various other events, music festivals, rodeos, and the like were similarly split.

#6 buckaluck

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 03:40

The Chevy motors for CART were actually Ilmore motors, but I doubt Penske would ever sign a contract that precluded him from doing what he wanted in another series of racing so Ford, Chevy & Pontiac never had a say in the matter. I'd say he went with Ford because he could get the funding from them as Chevy was most likely full with teams and couldn't give him the funding that Ford could. I'd say the main reason he has not had that much success in Nascar is do to the regulations that prevent innovative or creative ideas that have always given him the edge in many other forms of racing. They use to laugh at his team in the mid to late 60's as they would come with crews and cars that were spotlessly clean until they realized the reason they kept them so clean was because if there was a problem they could immediately see what and where the problem was so they could fix it in half the time. This idea was adopted by other teams rather quickly and helped elevate auto racing to a more respectable sport. Much of what racing is today we owe to Mr. Penske and Mr. France took note of his methods of treating racing as a business. If only Mark was still here with us what would it be like now, something tells me his Nascar teams would be doing even better.

#7 deancrew

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 14:40

Penske's GM relationship in NASCAR came to a close right about the time CHEVROLET's involvement in CART stopped. PENSKE had PONTIAC in CUP and CHEVY in CART with ILMOR. When Chevrolet's GM Jim Perkins decideded that the spending levels in CART couldn't be maintained by him, that precipitated the move by Mercedes to purchase GM's shares in ILMOR and rebrand the INDY motors as MERCEDES BENZ. In reality the Pushrod ILMOR INDY motor that shook INDY in '94 was actually conceived as a CHEVY. It just never raced as one. Once the GM relationship was severed in CART, it made it easier for PENSKE to take up FORD's offer of a development program in NASCAR. Remember at the time GM's top teams in NASCAR were Childress, and HENDRICK. DEI had yet to materialize, and PONTIAC was still a large presence in GM's NASCAR funding. Though Chevy had access to much more development $ and could promote its Brand more abundantly. I believe also that Penske saw the writing on the wall at GM that Pontiac's nascar funding was coming to a close, and he wouldn't be the top R&D team in Chevy's circle, that was RCR and Hendrick. Also many of PENSKE's racing activities also are connected to many of his other Business ventures as well. His PENSKE Truck Leasing programs were beneficiaries of Ford support to his racing activities as well. He has always stated that his Motorsport initiatives supported his Business initiatives as well.

#8 Tony Matthews

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 18:07

You may be interested to know that there was very nearly a Buick Ilmor...