CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 20, 2016 – Roger Penske’s fabled Team Penske is celebrating its 50th Anniversary during the 2016 racing season, and “The Captain” hosted a gala in Charlotte on Jan. 20, inviting team members, drivers and sponsors who were part of the operation which dates back to its first race in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1966. Since then, cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have scored more than 420 major wins, over 480 pole positions and 28 National Championships across open-wheel, stock-car and sports-car racing.
In its storied history, the team has earned 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 wins, a Formula 1 win, and overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. More than 80 drivers have raced for Penske in the past five decades.
The gala was held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and 42 of those 80-plus drivers where there to celebrate, from George Follmer, George Wintersteen, Bobby Allison and others from the early years, to current stars – Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya, Joey Lagano, Brad Keselowski and Helio Castroneves, among others.
Follmer, Wintersteen, Power, Montoya and Castroneves were joined in the celebration by fellow RRDC members AJ Allmendinger, Bill Alsup, Marcos Ambrose, Mario Andretti, Gil de Ferran, David Donohue, Emerson Fittipaldi, David Hobbs, Wolfgang Hustedt, Rick Mears, Leo Mehl, Max Papis, Sam Posey, Judy Stropus, Danny Sullivan and of course Mr. Penske himself. If we’ve left you out, we apologize!
More than 1200 guests were in attendance,with Jay Leno providing his comedy routine and even former President George W. Bush sending a video shout-out to The Captain.
Other RRDC members who have driven for Team Penske include Ryan Briscoe, Geoff Brabham, Bobby Brown, Craig Fisher, Jerry Hansen, Patrick Long, Charlie Parsons, Brian Redman, Johnny Rutherford and the late Ronnie Bucknum, Mark Donohue, Dick Guldstrand, Al Holbert, Bob Johnson, Peter Revson and Dr. Dick Thompson.It was a magical night, culminating with an after party at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Whiskey River in downtown Charlotte.
Our lady of the snapshots Judy Stropus was everywhere