Sonoma Raceway Celebrates Team Penske's 50th Anniversary at GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 31, 2016) - Sonoma Raceway will join with Team Penske to celebrate the team's 50 years of racing excellence during the upcoming GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Verizon IndyCar Series season finale, Sept. 16-18.
Team Penske enters the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma as the most successful team in racing history with 28 national championships, 16 Indianapolis 500 wins, two Daytona 500 Championships and more than 430 major wins across open-wheel, stock car and sports car competition. But the accolades don't quite do it justice. In broader terms, Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in professional sports history, and led by a former sports car driver who built an automotive empire with the same effort apparent at the racetrack.
It began in 1966 as Roger Penske Racing, five years after Penske was named by Sports Illustrated as driver of the year in the Sports Car Club of America. Fifty years later, Team Penske is recognized as the most powerful enterprise in American motorsports, having 13 IndyCar championships, five NASCAR titles, over 100 NASCAR Sprint Cup victories and even a Formula 1 victory to its credit. In recognition of his many accomplishments, Roger Penske was inducted into the Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame in 2015.
Race fans are invited to join the anniversary celebration during a Q&A session with three of Team Penske's most recognizable drivers, Juan Pablo Montoya, Rick Mears and Gil de Ferran, on Sunday of race weekend. The question and answer session will be open to all race fans and is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18, in the main paddock.
Team Penske will attempt to add to its legacy at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, a race it has won five times, including three times with Will Power (2010, 2011 and 2013). The effort to score a sixth Sonoma victory and a championship will be undertaken by a four-car team consisting of Power, Helio Castroneves, Montoya and Simon Pagenaud.
"Without the leadership of Roger Penske, it's very difficult for us to do what we do," said Castroneves, a race winner and pole sitter at Sonoma Raceway. "He goes to every race with the same passion that he had when he started. Everybody on the race team feels that."
Penske, now 79, doesn't plan to retire anytime soon.
"My sons and our family love the sport," Penske says. "It's a common thread through the company, so there's no reason not to be involved. If we can sustain the sponsorship and the key people stay with us and will continue to help us we can go on forever and I don't see any reason we can't do that."
For more information or to purchase tickets for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, including preferred parking, garage access, pit and pre-race passes, visit www.sonomaraceway.com/indycar or call 800-870-7223. Kids 12 and under are admitted FREE all weekend and parking is FREE.
Team Penske Highlights at Sonoma Raceway
2015 - Will Power earns his fifth pole position at the track, resetting his track record for the 2.385-mile course in qualifications with a lap of 1 minute, 16.2597 seconds (112.589 mph). Roger Penske is inducted into the Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame.
2014 - Will Power earns his fourth pole position at the track, setting the track record for the 2.385-mile course in qualifications with a lap of 1 minute, 17.2393 seconds (111.161 mph).
2013 - Will Power records his third victory at the track.
2012 - Ryan Briscoe wins the 85-lap (202.75-mile) race with an average speed of 95.740 mph. … Teammate Will Power, the pole winner with a lap of 1 minute, 17.2709 seconds (111.116 mph), finishes second. Both are track records for the first year on the 2.385-mile course.
2011 - Will Power, the pole winner, sets the track record for the 2.303-mile course in winning the 75-lap (178.875-mile) race with an average speed of 96.408 mph. … Teammate Helio Castroneves is the runner-up and Ryan Briscoe completes the Team Penske sweep of the podium.
2010 - Will Power sets the track record for the 2.303-mile course in winning the pole position with a lap of 1 minute, 16.5282 seconds (108.337 mph). He cruises to the 75-lap race victory a year after sustaining a serious back injury in a practice crash on the course.
2009 - Ryan Briscoe is the runner-up.
2008 - Helio Castroneves sets the track record for the 2.3-mile course in winning the 80-lap (184.24-mile) race with an average speed of 100.254 mph. He finishes 5.2926 seconds ahead of teammate Ryan Briscoe for the widest margin of victory in race history.
2007 - Helio Castroneves is the runner-up.
1970 - Mark Donohue earns the pole position with a lap of 93.419 mph in qualifications for the USAC race.