The master of the Indianapolis 500 finally claims a victory at Daytona

Roger Penske's empire just got bigger. No longer must he be content with more Indianapolis 500 victories than any other car owner. Now he's a Daytona 500 winner, too.


Somehow, it just seems right he won the 50th running of NASCAR's biggest race.

The Captain, as he is known by almost everyone in racing, has always had a way of winning the big one -- in Indy cars.

Now, Penske finally got THE big one in stock car racing, courtesy of Ryan Newman, who was pushed to the win by teammate Kurt Busch as the two drove past hard-luck Tony Stewart on the final lap.

"I know we did something special for The Captain," Busch said. "Roger never put extra pressure on us to win this race. He does throw in a nice bonus in our contract if we do win this race."

This victory's meaning was obvious. NASCAR has not been kind to the suave, silver-haired entrepreneur.

"We've been open-wheel guys, and, coming down here, it's been tough," said the winner of 14 Indy 500s. "And this has got to go to the top of the charts here."

Although the stock-car team had 82 poles and 57 victories in 927 races entering Sunday's race, there were no victories at Daytona International Speedway.

Penske has come close to winning Daytona before. Bobby Allison was the runner-up in a Penske car in 1975, and Newman finished third in 2006. But this victory came as a surprise. Nobody gave Penske's Dodges, which hadn't shown any speed, much of a chance.

"I can say I've been coming here almost 30 years trying to get to Victory Lane here," Penske said. "We've worked hard and we've come close, but this one was pure team effort."

Attention to detail has always been the watchword of Penske Racing, right from the early days when the old-timers in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage laughed at the crewcut kids in the spotless uniforms who kept the floors clean enough to eat off of.

The laughter stopped in 1972, just three years after Penske's arrival, when Mark Donohue -- an engineering graduate like Newman -- gave Penske his first Indy win.

Penske's teams have won more than 200 races and 20 national championships, including 12 Indy car titles.

Now he's celebrating another first.


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