With his victory on Sunday at the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, Ricky Taylor earned the distinction of becoming the 50th driver to win for Roger Penske.
It only took the defending IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype title winner four races to capture his maiden victory with the squad, as he and teammate Helio Castroneves authored a 1-2 for Acura Team Penske last weekend. And with his win, the young American joined the likes of Mark Donohue, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Rusty Wallace, Timo Bernhard, Josef Newgarden, and so many others who’ve delivered Penske’s Indy cars, sports cars, and stock cars to Victory Lane. The gravity of the achievement – and the illustrious group of past and present Team Penske winners – isn’t lost on the Floridian.
“I was talking to some of the guys in the shop on Monday about it because either my teammate Dane Cameron in the other Acura or I were going to become the 50th, and it just as easily could have been him,” Taylor (pictured at left, above, with Castroneves and team president Tim Cindric) told RACER.
“Being the 50th to win is more than just a number; it’s joining such an amazing club with so much history for such a successful team owner. And for me, it’s about feeling more accepted in the organization because I’ve won, which is what I was hired to do. Seeing my name with the other names on the list is surreal.”
Ninety-nine drivers have sought victory for Penske since his team was formed in the 1960s. Taylor’s journey to racing for The Captain started with a simple test on the Homestead road course in 2017 as the team sought his input from behind the wheel of Simon Pagenaud’s Chevy-powered Indy car. With an offseason move from his father’s Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi program to Penske’s new Acura ARX-05 DPi effort, few questioned whether Taylor would deliver in short order.
“It feels different than winning for my dad’s team,” he added. “That can’t be replicated anywhere else because it was a family operation. And winning for Roger Penske is special in its own way because…it’s Roger Penske.
“For me, I was thinking back to the IndyCar test and how I got out of the car at Homestead and was thinking, ‘Wow, I got to test for Roger Penske,’ and if that’s all I ever did for him, it would have been a huge honor. After Mid-Ohio, it was, ‘Wow, I won for Roger Penske!’ It’s every driver’s dream. It’s a team of winners – they expect to win, and anything short of that is disappointing.”