Roger Penske was alight with joy after Josef Newgarden earned the 600th win for Team Penske by claiming victory at Texas Motor Speedway’s XPEL 375. Considering all of the success spread across open-wheel, sports cars, and stock cars his teams have secured since the program was established in the late 1960s, it’s a number that will likely go unmatched.
“Well, 600 is certainly special,” Penske told RACER. “We set a goal each year what we’re going to try to do and we wanted to be more competitive in ‘22. And obviously to win 600 and to see what all out teams have done is remarkable.
“I’ll tell you a quick story. At the last big crew meeting we had two weeks ago at the shop, I told everybody in the shop $1,000 if we win the 600th, but only the driver that gets it gets $600 in cash, so I peeled out six $100 bills for Newgarden in the winner’s circle.”
Coming off a 2021 season where Team Penske wasn’t as competitive as it desired throughout the entirely of the 16-race season, opening 2022 with one pole, two front row starts, and two wins suggests the organization is back in business.
“It was a good day for everyone, for Chevy obviously, for all the teams and all the sponsors,” Penske said. “We’ve got a great group of guys right now here in IndyCar; we just have to keep going, not let our heads get too big. Scotty McLaughlin just shows you how good he is and with Will [Power], I think we’ve got three winners. Also seeing Scotty run like he did today, we know he’s plugged in for the Indy 500, too.”
Even for an 85-year-old icon of motor racing who’s seemingly won everything, getting to 600 had a visual impact on Penske.
“That’s the big one, obviously, for the team and for the history of our company,” he added. Big day for everybody. I never thought 56 years ago or whenever it was that I’d be standing here at 600. I’m glad to be standing!”