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32 year, 3 months and 11 days at Penske Racing - I'M RETIRED!!!

Old 12-24-2010, 06:03 AM
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Old 12-24-2010, 07:03 AM
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Great story and great memories....a gear heads dream for sure....enjoy your retirement
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SteveDavid View Post
Chuck, on one hand you've had a dream come true career, and on the other you've got phenomenal memories and time now to savor those and enjoy whatever you wish to do. Best to you and yours in this next chapter of life
Thanks Steve. Being "in the business" yourself, I'm sure that you share a lot of my perspectives.
Originally Posted by BROWNIE View Post
Quitter.......... (Translation:Congratulations! Well done..............)
Thanks Brownie. Always nice to have the support of a fellow racer.
Retired! Boating full-time now.

Last edited by C_Spray; 12-24-2010 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:47 AM
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Izod racing experience?

I remember dropping off Al jr at his motorhome at Cleveland GP in 95 at 430am and meeting RP the next day

It's amazing how nice athletes and celebrities r when u hookem up with strippers!
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:58 AM
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Congrats Chuck!

Looks like R'Addiction has got someone to hang with now.
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:09 AM
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Chuck Congratulations on a wonderful career. For all your hard work, leadership and generosity, you deserve just as wonderful a retirement.

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Old 12-24-2010, 10:43 AM
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I had a PM asking about 1989-1998 as Team Manager, so here goes:

Roger asks me if I want to be Team Manager late in the 1998 season, as the previous TM has left to start his own team. I say "yes". (Duh...)
1989 - My hair immediately starts turning grey, and I gain elite status on virtually every airline program. For the next twenty years, I average 140+ days on the road, attending every race and at least 25 test sessions a year.
Sponsor agreements in 1989 required us to supply Patrick Racing/Emerson Fittipaldi with our own Penske race cars. They used them effectively and beat us at both Indy and the CART Championship. We learned that we had gotten too preoccupied trying to build the best trick parts instead of focusing on a single configuration and optimizing it. Lesson learned.
In 1990, we hired Emmo and Marlboro came on board. I had the privilege of working with Teddy Mayer (of McLaren fame) from this point until he died in 2009.
I was calling the shots for Danny Sullivan in 1989-1990. In his last race with us, we started on the pole and led every lap at Laguna Seca. Overall, we had 12 wins together at Penske.
I start running the radio/race strategy for Emmo in 1991.
Australia is added to the schedule. What fun it is packing for that... Cool place, though.
In 1991, Rick Mears won his fourth Indy 500 two weeks after we made a mistake on the car and caused him to crash at the Speedway for the first time in his career. Roger's Indy win #8.
In 1992, we make another mistake while Rick is testing the previous years' winner to see if it is better than the 1992 car. He winds up on his head on the back straight. We are mortified.
At an early-season race in 1992, George Harrison shows up and hangs out with Emmo for four days at a test following the race. Once I get over the shock, I find him to be one of the nicest people that I have ever met and a true car nut. I am quietly proud that I do NOT ask him for an autograph. When he dies of brain cancer years later, I grieve.
In the 1992 Indy 500, both Rick and Emmo are taken out in separate incidents about 3 seconds apart. As we walk back into the garages from the pit lane, we find a fax from the guys at Penske Cars, Ltd in England: "Just tell us what you need." Awesome guys; we need A LOT. We make the next race no sweat. I still have the fax.
Rick Mears retires at the end of 1992. He makes the announcement at the Penske Racing Christmas party because he wants "his family" to be the first to know. In his entire Indy career, he has never driven a car that had not belonged to Roger Penske at some point.
Aryton Senna attends an end-of-season test and drives one of our cars. His comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the car are perfectly aligned with what we know from a year of running it. He matches Emmos best time ever at that track during his second 14-lap run. I thought that I had seen it all but I am stunned. Even Emmo and Rick are impressed. Senna is smoother than silk while driving an unfamiliar car on a track he has never seen. The coolest part is that he shows up all by himself, even riding in Emmo's rental car. No entourage; nothing. That impresses me. A year later, I get a Christmas card from him. Five months after that, he is dead. I am there when Emmo is informed. He is destroyed. I grieve again.
Paul Tracy comes on board. We get very good at repairing cars.
We win the 1993 Indy 500 (RP #9) with Emmo. He leads only the last 13 laps, after coming back from being a lap down in a pit stop shuffle. We never adjust anything on the car all day, and he turns the fastest lap of the race on lap 199. He drinks OJ in Victory Circle. The #hit hits the fan.
After causing Nigel Mansell nightmares all year, we loose the CART championship to him by 8 measly points. He has NO IDEA what is coming in 1994. Nor do we...
1994. Wow. Because Al Unser Jr has joined the team, we are running 3 cars all year. I go on a hiring and buying spree.
We introduce scrambled radios so that all debriefing can be done on-air, and all crew members will know what's happening. After getting some very well-written fan letters, we agree to de-scramble during the races.
We get off to a good start in 1994, winning Phoenix and Long Beach.
Besides the mainstream CART program, along with Ilmor we are developing a completely special engine for Indy only. Only 10 people out of 75 in the building know about it. We even have a satellite engine shop down the street.
It is the worst snow year in a decade. In order or test at Nazareth, we have to have the Allentown airport snow removal equipment come in to clear the track. The resulting walls of snow are so high that we have to climb on top of the truck to see the car on the track. The drivers wear snowmobile suits over their nomex. We blow up lots of engines, but each one goes twice as far as the previous one. We test every three days throughout late February and March. The engines are rebuilt at night.
The engine winds up making 980 hp in race trim versus everyone else's 780-800. It makes life at Indy very complicated, though. The tires do not like the extra energy, and we are only marginally faster in practice and quallifying. There is so much torque that the tires are slipping on the wheels, so we have to sandblast the bead area.
On the day before qualifying, Emerson records 252 mph on the back straight, and comes back to the pits a religous man.
We lead almost every lap of the race and win. The Speedway changes the rules (twice) and the engine never runs in competition again. It is the only year that we do not blow up at least one engine at Indy; reliability is 100%.
All the other teams adopt a "wait until you don't have that engine" attitude towards us.
We sweep the next race 1-2-3, two laps up on fourth place, using the "conventional" CART engine. This just the start.
We introduce tire pressure sensors. They save our butt in several tests and races. After we sell the rights to them, they go on to save lots of equipment and lives. Our best accomplishment - EVER.
At the end of 1994, Penske Racing has won 12 of 15 races, finished 1-2-3 in five of them, and finished 1-2-3 in the CART championship. It remains the fourth most successful season the the history of motorsports, and the most dominant ever in Indy Car racing. We take an impressive team picture in the shop parking lot with six cars, four transporters and 75 personnel. A 20" x 30" version hangs on my office wall. I now own one of the cars.
I have absolutely NO IDEA how I lived through 1994.
1995 and onwards evolves into a slow nightmare as we wind up on the wrong side of the tire war. (Imagine having to run an aluminum prop while everyon else gets Herings...)
We fail to make the show at Indy. We go home, regroup, and come out of the box swinging at the next race in Milwaukee.
Al Unser Jr winds up second in the 1995 CART championship.
In 1996, the IRL is formed. We decline to participate, and will not be back to Indy until 2001, when we return and win the race 3 years in a row. I will not comment on what goes on in the IRL from 1996 through 2009.
In 1996, we go winless for the first time in decades. Emmo is running for a satellite team (Hogan-Penske) and suffers a career-ending accident at Michigan that almost kills him. We embark on a major cockpit-improvement program that ultimately involves all of CART and the teams and continues to make huge gains to this day.
We get a new designer in 1997, and the car is amazing. With the tire situation, it doesn't matter, but Paul Tracy manages to win 3 races.
At the end of 1998, Roger informs me that we are starting up a racing school for Marlboro and I will be running it. I am not thrilled, but it turns out to be a better deal that what the racing team has to endure in 1999. We eventually wind up looking after 59 race cars.
After two successful seasons of running the Racing Schools, Roger informs me that our actions have saved the sponsorship. He didn't bother telling me that that's what the stakes were going in...
Because my schedule is so much more flexible from 1999 onwards, I buy a Formula 382, discover Chesapeake Bay and develop a life. Dianne and I get married on the beach in Grand Cayman in bare feet in October 2003.
When we fold up the Racing Experience shop, we have given over 300,000 rides to 150,000 consumers and covered 1,800,000 miles with NO injuries.

The only thing that matters to me was the "no injuries" part. Race cars are fickle beasts.
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32 year, 3 months and 11 days at Penske Racing - I'M RETIRED!!!-1991in_022.jpg   32 year, 3 months and 11 days at Penske Racing - I'M RETIRED!!!-92senna-phoenix-pc21-500.jpg   32 year, 3 months and 11 days at Penske Racing - I'M RETIRED!!!-ef-ind93.jpg  

32 year, 3 months and 11 days at Penske Racing - I'M RETIRED!!!-265e-14.jpg   32 year, 3 months and 11 days at Penske Racing - I'M RETIRED!!!-pc23-500i-engine5.jpg  
Retired! Boating full-time now.

Last edited by C_Spray; 12-24-2010 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:45 AM
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Good 4 U!! Congratz! Happy Holidays!
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:48 AM
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Let me know next time you are in Georgia. Still got the Marina, come see me......Barkley
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:55 AM
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Yes Chuck, "you can go boating now", as soon as we figure out how to rebuild all our DPX drives, now that you have some time that is!

Congratulations on a GREAT career!

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