Happy birthday to three big IndyCar names: Penske, Unser, Kimball

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We’re wishing a happy birthday to two iconic names of the IndyCar community, and one up-and-coming current driver who could well earn the “iconic” label if his career continues to progress.

The legends, first. Roger Penske, “The Captain,” turns 77 today. Penske has presided over one of North America’s most successful motorsports operations ever, and led his automotive empire to match.

In IndyCar, Team Penske has 15 career Indianapolis 500 victories, and has enjoyed recent NASCAR success too with three championships in the last four years (2010 Nationwide and 2012 Sprint Cup driver titles each won by Brad Keselowski, plus the 2013 Nationwide owner’s championship).

Bobby Unser, a member of one of North America’s legendary racing families, turns 80 today. He’s won three Indianapolis 500s (1968, 1975, 1981), the latter of which was driving for Penske. And he enjoyed a successful second career as a color commentator after his driving career ended.

Relive some of the memories in this brief clip as Unser calls a race at Detroit in 1992 with a Penske-owned car, Paul Tracy, battling big rivals Michael Andretti and Bobby Rahal.

Meanwhile, shifting to a younger name, Charlie Kimball turns 29 today. Kimball has spent his three years in IndyCar growing and developing with the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing organization, and turned heads in a much-improved 2013.

Here’s highlights from Kimball’s first win at Mid-Ohio:

It’s different times in IndyCar for sure between the ’90s and today, but Penske’s still working tirelessly to ensure his organization remains at the top of the heap, while Kimball and Ganassi continue the rivalry.

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool