NNS: Roger Penske's First NASCAR Championship

It's very hard to believe, but Brad Keselowski’s 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship is Roger Penske's first NASCAR title of any kind in almost 40 years of trying.

The Penske resume is unsurpassed in other realms of motorsports:

• 15 Indianapolis 500 victories

• 12 IndyCar titles

• Trans Am champion

• Can Am champion

• American Le Mans Series champion

• IROC founder

• Formula One race winner

Many do not realize that Roger was a very successful racing driver before he became one of the most successful car owners of all time. A brief Penske resume:

DOB: 2-20-37 (73)

Born: Shaker Heights, OH (same town as Paul Newman)

1958: Runs first SCCA race

1959: Wins first SCCA race at Lime Rock

1961: Eighth in Formula One race at Watkins Glen, N.Y.; SCCA National D Modified champ; Sports Illustrated's SCCA “Driver of the Year”

1962: Ninth in Formula One race at Watkins Glen; USAC Road Racing champion;New York Times “Driver of the Year"

1963: Wins stock car race at Riverside International Raceway

1965: Retires as driver, buys Chevrolet dealership in Philadelphia

1966: Penske Racing and Team Penske launched with driver Mark Donohue

1967: Wins USRRC Championship with Donohue

1968: Wins USRRC and Trans Am championships with Donohue

1969: Donohue wins rookie of the year at Indianapolis 500; Wins second Trans Am title

1970: Donohue earns first Champ Car pole at Sears Point

1971: First Champ Car win at Pocono Raceway; Third Trans Am title

1972: Donohue wins Penske his first Indy 500; Can Am Title won by George Follmer driving for injured Donohue

1973: Donohue wins Penske's first NASCAR race at Riverside, as well as Can Am title

1975: Donohue killed in Austria; Bobby Allison wins two NASCAR races

1976: Penske wins only Formula One race with John Watson in Austrian Grand Prix

1977-78: Tom Sneva wins USAC Champ Car titles

1977-83: Penske wins USAC/Champ Car championship six of seven years

1978: Rick Mears wins first Champ Car race driving a Penske chassis

1985: CART champ

1988: CART champ

1993: Rusty Wallace finishes second in NASCAR Sprint Cup points

1994: CART Champ

2000-01: CART champ

2006: Indy Racing League champ

2010: NASCAR Nationwide Series champ

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for You can follow him online at and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.