Penske Proud of Championship

Roger Penske

Brad Keselowski’s 2012 title brought legendary team owner Roger Penske to the top of the sport’s mountain. (Photo: Getty Images)

Roger Penske is celebrating his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship after nearly 40 years of trying.

Brad Keselowski’s 2012 title brought the legendary team owner to the top of the sport’s mountain, an accomplishment Penske treasures.

“I never realized the power and the impact of this sport,” Penske said. “I’ve been involved in running the Super Bowl in 2006 in Detroit and saw the noise and all the things that goes on with the champion.

“This is special. This is about an individual. This is not stick-and-ball—this is really someone gets to the top. You race 38 weekends and it’s a business where you can’t run into the locker room when you have a bad day or run behind the bench.”

Penske’s success in Indy Car racing is well documented with 15 Indianapolis 500 victories to his credit among many other accolades. But despite winning races over the years with his NASCAR team, putting together a Sprint Cup Series championship effort has eluded him – until now.

“So many people asked me why it took 40 years,” Penske said at Friday night’s ceremony in Las Vegas. “Winning it tonight is obviously so important, but when I think of my family and five children and 11 grandchildren and a world-class business, I’d have to say you’d have to put those in front of a championship.

“Tonight, getting to that final goal which is to be a NASCAR champion, the timing couldn’t be better.”

Penske shared the championship success with the 40,000 employees he has around his many business endeavors and plans to share that celebration throughout his empire.

“I walked into my office on Monday morning and we had a big banner already made up as the champion,” Penske said of what awaited him following the Homestead season finale. “Think about walking into your own place and see that. So pretty special.

“That banner is going to hang in every one of our 1,500 locations around the U.S. that we’re champions. That’s something not everybody can say.”

Penske took some time during his acceptance speed on Friday night to thank his entire organization for the effort, but he also made some news by offering Tony Stewart a ride for next year’s Indianapolis 500.

Stewart has completed the Memorial Day Sunday double twice in the past, running both the 500 at the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, but hasn’t tried in several years.

Whether or not his mind changes after Penske’s invitation remains to be seen.

“I know we took your spot this year,” Penske said to last year’s champ Stewart Friday night. “But you’re a car owner … you’re a driver, you’re a track promoter -- how about doing the double at Indy this year? Are you available?”

When asked about it after the ceremony, Penske confirmed it was a serious offer.

“If he wants to do the double, I’d put him in it,” Penske said. “He and I have talked about it. I guess I gave him an official (offer) tonight.”

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