NASCAR and IndyCar Series owner Roger Penske joined Dave Despain Sunday night on Wind Tunnel on SPEED to discuss his organization’s progress this year and plans for the future. Following are excerpts from the interview:
Despain: ...on the status of your teams? Penske: “We’ve got eight races to go, so I’d say the team really has been producing. Each has a win. We had a couple of wins at the beginning of the season. We led the championship for a while. I think we’re resurging here and, to me, I feel very good about where we’re going with the Dodge product. They’re giving us a lot of support. I think we’ve got our cars better. The engines are running well and I know we’ve got two great drivers. To me, I take my hat off to the whole team. It was a great weekend and Parker Kligerman, on the other hand, who is our development driver, finished second in the Trucks.”
Despain: The Dodge people have expressed interest in expanding their stable to include more teams. Do you foresee more Dodges under the Penske umbrella in the near future? Penske: “I think it all depends on what they want to support from the standpoint of equipment. Certainly financial support is important to a team like ours as we go forward to compete with the Fords, the Chevys and obviously the Toyotas. To me, more teams are fine. We’ll run two cars next year. We’ve got two good drivers. We’ve got the development capability using the Nationwide Series. Sam (Hornish) hopefully will have a full run next year and obviously Brad wants to continue on. We’ll have Jacques Villeneuve. In fact, (Alex) Tagliani running at Montreal coming up in the next couple of weeks, so we’ve got a good program. We’ve got good people – the engine shop is doing a great job and I want to thank all those guys. So, I see us two for two next year with the sponsorship that we have in hand.”
Despain: So, Hornish will continue to pursue his stock car career, assuming sponsorship can be found? Penske: “I think we have a good chance with Alliance Truck Parts, which has been supporting him the last several races and they have a very big interest in Sam and what he can do. He’s been great off the track and we’ve seen a good job he’s done on the track and we’re going to run him now in five or six more races and they want to go with him next year. A planned full season with Sam maybe to run for the championship, give him a real year to sort it out and then Brad (Keselowski) will run select races and will fill in probably with Parker Kligerman to try continue to build his capability within NASCAR.”
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