CONCORD, N.C. — Brad Keselowski got the first of many surprises at his first meeting with racing great Roger Penske.
The rising NASCAR star now driving Penske Racing’s No. 2 discovered the Michigan address for their get-together was an unmarked, routine building Keselowski had driven by all the time growing up in Rochester Hills. He never knew it housed Penske’s offices.
Keselowski shrugs his shoulder and smiles, saying, “That’s just Roger.”
Penske will see if his buttoned-down approach works during one of auto racing’s biggest weekends, at the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600.
Penske has been the king of Indianapolis with a record 15 wins. The team has three entries in the top six starters this year, including Ryan Briscoe on the pole, series points leader Will Power in fifth and three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves in sixth.
Team Penske is also in strong shape to chase a second Coca-Cola 600 crown in three seasons. Keselowski owns victories at Bristol and Talladega this year while teammate AJ Allmendinger is starting 11th and had a fast car throughout Thursday’s practice.
Keselowski, who’ll start 24th for Sunday night’s NASCAR race, said Penske’s drive to be the best flows through all the programs.
“What makes it so much fun to be part of his teams is the commitment to excellence that (Penske) has,” he said.
Penske moved the IndyCar shop south in 2007 to put all operations under one roof – and spread the shared success of Penske Racing.
“If Penske racing has a win, as far as I’m concerned, that has an umbrella effect for every one of our people. From the shop people to the truck drivers to the pit crews and the crew chiefs and the chief mechanics,” said the mogul known at the “Captain.”
Penske president Tim Cindric said the formula to winning is the same in NASCAR as it is in IndyCar.
“I think over time we’ve been able to take the best of both worlds,” Cindric said. “I think we’ve been able to take the good out of both, and you couldn’t do that unless they were in the same building. So we are starting to see more of the payback.”