Penske team mates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano both had wild rides at the Geico 500.

Logano was caught up in the touch and spin pinball that happens at Talladega with the speed and thin margin for error collide. The #22 got around and caught air after a touch from a loose Denny Hamlin in the #11 and Ricky Stenhouse in the #47. Several other cars took damage but it was Logano in the air. The car tumbled and rolled and came to a stop wheels down in the grass.

Logano was OK but a bit outspoken on cars still able to spin and fly. He mentioned spoiler height as a possibility to keep cars on the ground and later interviews looking forward to the new car for 2022.

Brad Keselowski was in the mix but it was the final lap when it came into play with the #2. Keselowski led just one lap, the one that really counts, and took the checkered flag. 27 drivers were noted in the lead throughout the race but it was Keselowski at the end.

Next up, NASCAR rolls into Kansas.

The season seems to be cranking up for the Ford badge. The Penske Racing Ford badge, specifically.

Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have traded off starting positions in the front row, finished in the top 5 and have put one of their Fords into Victory Lane.

The previous week at Phoenix, Keselowski was on the pole with Logano on his wheel. This week at Vegas Logano was on the pole with Keselowski on the wheel. Both finished in the top for both of these races with BK taking the win in the most recent Kobalt Tools 400.

It should also be noted Keselowski finished 3rd at the Daytona opener while Logano was just outside of the top 10 at 11th. The season has opened well for the Penske Fords with Keselowski off to a quick points chase showing, perhaps, that his 2012 championship has the possibility of a repeat. (more…)

A.J. Allmendinger…

Remember him? There was much thrown about for a NASCAR suspension in July of 2012. A drug test showed signs of amphetamines which Allmendinger maintained came from Adderall which he took, he said, from a “friend of a friend”.

Adderall, by the way, is a drug used for ADHD and/or narcolepsy and is somewhat of a derivitive of amphetamines but is also a prescription controlled substance.

Yes… We all know he was suspended. We all know Roger Penske pulled him from the #22 which gave way for Joey Logano to be in it for 2013. We all know it was stupid to take a prescription medication from a “friend of a friend”…

However, A.J. Allmendinger did follow all the rules after the incident, went through the “Road to Recovery” program and was reinstated by NASCAR in September of 2012. By that time, Sam Hornish, Jr. had the wheel of the #22 and Allmendinger was on the search for a seat. (more…)

Brad Keselowski.

Sprint Cup Champion for 2012.

It was close. Or rather, could have been.

The #2 Miller Lite Dodge team and Penske Racing ran a season that was consistent and put them into the position to be on the final podium for the Sprint Cup.

However, there was a hitch. The Lowe’s #48 team of Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Racing. They made a push. They got on top. They had problems. They fell back.

A crash, a mechanical, another mechanical… (more…)

If you consider yourself an auto racing fan, or even an automobile enthusiast, you have probably had a discussion with a non-auto person who fails to see the attraction of the sport. It is also likely they fail to see the validity of the sport noting, in their view, it is merely a loud waste of time and fuel while being an environmentally destructive activity. These critics have rarely taken the time to research their opinion. They only look at the surface and apply a self-righteous set of values to come to these conclusions. They do not recognize production car advances taken from the racetrack. Vehicle safety, aerodynamic design, engine and transmission technology, braking applications and fuel economy all come from track testing and refinement on racing cars.
penskesaturn1That said, can we assume that knowledge, engineering and applications of building race cars from the ground up can directly translate to building production cars for the general public? We likely have our chance to find out. Roger Penske (Penske Racing) has signed on to take the Saturn brand from economically challenged General Motors. Penske is taking on a challenge but that is nothing really new. GM has failed the Saturn brand on several fronts leaving Penske open to rebuild the name as he sees fit. If he can keep cars running in NASCAR, INDY and GrandAm then this may seem like an easy win. He’s got a shot but not a guarantee.

General Motors launched Saturn in the mid 1980’s as a “different kind of car company”. Saturn quickly became a high ranker in consumer satisfaction. Their cars were attractive and held value. They were competing quite well with some of the imports know for economy and life span. So… what went wrong? You probably can not take one singular point as the problem but a high ranker could be the GM mindset of building one car with several labels. Saturns began to be built on the same platforms as other GM brands’ models. What was a “different kind of car company” became “the same car with a different badge”.

Enter Roger Penske. Anyone familiar with the Penske name will know he doesn’t jump without looking. It does not mean he never misses (Penske Car Care Centers…) but it does mean he sees something with potential. He has a deal with GM to basically supply Saturn models for the next couple of years. Penske will have to eventually set up or take over his own design and manufacturing facilities. Some current Saturn models are re-badged European models from Opel/Vauxhall. It has been rumored the Chinese are looking at the Opel label and it would seem unlikely that Penske would, with the facilities in place in the U.S., purchase a Chinese owned product just to drop his badge on it.

The questions remain and the answers may be some time in coming. Can Roger Penske succeed with Saturn? Will the Chinese take control of the Opel name which some of the Saturns are based on? Will Penske get control of manufacturing facilities inside the United States? What would a Penske design team put out to the American public? Will it continue to be “Saturn” or will we see a “Penske” brand take shape?

The answers to these questions will, hopefully, be very exciting for the American automotive public.