NASCAR Cup: Roger Penske receives Bill France Award for Excellence
Roger Penske (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
During the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards banquet Friday evening at Wynn Las Vegas, team owner Roger Penske was honored with the Bill France Award of Excellence.
The award isn’t presented every season, but when it is, it’s presented to someone who is deemed to have made outstanding contributions to NASCAR Cup-level racing.
Team Penske celebrated 50 years in racing throughout the 2016 race season. On the NASCAR side for the organization that participates in multiple disciplines of motorsports, Penske put both its NASCAR Sprint Cup entries — the No. 2 Ford driven by Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 of Joey Logano — in the 16 driver Chase for the Sprint Cup. While Keselowski was eliminated from the Chase in the race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, the final race of the second round, Logano made the Championship Four. Logano finished fifth in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to take second in the season-ending standings. Keselowski’s win at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in July gave Penske his 100th win as a car owner at the Cup level.
“I would just say that the 100th in NASCAR is something special,” Penske said after that race. “It’s a byproduct of all the good people we have, and to me, we’ve got to continue to remember that.”
Keselowski also was responsible for giving Penske its first national series title with a Nationwide (now-Xfinity) Series championship in 2010. He claimed Team Penske’s first Sprint Cup championship a couple of years later in 2012.
Team Penske fields entries in two of NASCAR’s three national series — the premier series, to reveal its new name soon, featuring new entitlement sponsorship from Monster Energy, and the Xfinity Series. The organization also competes in the V8 IndyCar Series and V8 Supercars. Penske made its debut in NASCAR in 1972. His first win in the premier series came the next season in the form of a Mark Donohue road-course win in Riverside, Calif.
Penske put Bobby Allison in a car full-time in 1976, but his team didn’t field a car full-time at the Cup level, again, until 1991, with Rusty Wallace behind the wheel. Other full-time Cup drivers at Penske over the years have included Jeremy Mayfield, Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr.