If you were to ask a person on a street corner to name an iconic North American motor sports figure, more than likely they would say the name, “Roger Penske.”
And why not? Seemingly everything the man has touched in motor sports has turned to gold. He’s the racing world’s Midas.
From Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the history of the Indianapolis 500 to Daytona International Speedway and the prestige of the Daytona 500, Penske has seemingly won it all in motor sports in the United States.
So, what more could the man deemed as “The Captain” have left to do in motor sports?
How about taking both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.
Sunday afternoon, Penske will field three entries in the 96th Indianapolis 500, including pole sitter, Ryan Briscoe, four-time Indianapolis 500 champion, Helio Castroneves, and Indy Car points leader, Will Power.
Since his return to the speedway in 2001 after the nightmare of 1995 which saw both his entries fail to miss the field, Penske’s driver’s have sipped the milk in victory lane five times (Four with Castroneves and once with Gil de Ferran).
Every time one of his machines roll through the gates of “Gasoline Alley”, everyone know’s that those are the cars they have to beat in order to claim racing royalty in arguably the world’s most recognizable race.
So, while winning another Indianapolis 500 would indeed be spectacular for Penske’s already astounding racing resume, it wouldn’t be anything that the man hasn’t already accomplished.
However, if he were to win Indianapolis and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day, that could be something truly phenomenal. It’s also something that certainly is doable for “The Captain” Sunday.
In the final practice session at Indianapolis on Friday—known as “Carb Day”—all three of Penske’s Chevrolet powered cars were in the top-12 in the session.
That strong performance in the final practice session only adds to the month of May that the legendary team has put together.
Although Penske’s NASCAR team doesn’t have near this history that his Indy Car program does, it doesn’t mean that the stock car operation isn’t as good by any stretch of the imagination.
So far, that’s holding true this weekend in the “hub” of NASCAR.
At the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Penske’s famous “Blue Deuce” with Brad Keselowski behind the wheel paced the final practice session for the Coca-Cola 600 Saturday afternoon.
The Penske cars running well at CMS isn’t something new either. Just last weekend for All-Star Race festivities, both Keselowski and A.J. Allmendinger were able to run inside the top-ten throughout the majority of the night with Keselowski even taking the checkered flag in a segment.
To say that Penske Racing has a shot at winning at least one of the races would be an understatement. Actually, it frankly wouldn’t make sense given their recent performance at the two tracks.
But how are Penske’s chances to take both events on the same day?
Only the magic of Memorial Day weekend racing could possibly know. We will just have to play witness to Mr. Penske and his chance at history by winning both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in one day.