On the final episode of our 15-part ‘How Roger Penske Changed The Indy 500’ feature, our guests are three of The Captain’s rivals, starting with Rahal Letterman Lanigan co-owner Bobby Rahal (at right in 2003 Indy 500 photo above); continuing with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown; and closing with Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull.
Below are excerpts from Hull’s interview:
A RACER, FIRST
“If you step back maybe just a little bit, and you look back in — look at Michael Andretti, look at Chip Ganassi and look at Roger Penske when they were race drivers. You almost see the same thing in the management of their teams. And because they still have their own way of doing business, they have their own personality. And their personalities come through in the management of their teams in a very similar manner to how they drove race cars.”
THE CONSISTENCY OF MOTION
“I think that Mr. Penske approached his very first 500, now 50 years ago, the same way he’s going to approach this one. And, he sets the standard for his people with his ethic, and I think that’s always defined the culture. There’s probably not too many people left at Penske Racing, except for Roger, that have been there 50 years.
“But if you think about it, the consistency of motion, the consistency of action by him has set the standard not only for his people, but for the rest of us to follow. He’s the gold standard for the Indy 500. And in our lifetime, and my racing lifetime, with Chip Ganassi, I think Chip will probably get there, if he has the 20 years head start that Roger does have.
“And there are others — Michael [Andretti’s] team is trying to do it too, and they’re doing a great job of it. So there’s others that have followed in the wake of what Penske Racing does at Indy. For open-wheel people in the United States, for sure, that is the race that sets you apart, and it certainly set him apart in the eyes of all of us.”