Rare is it the case in modern day IndyCar that a driver is announced for the following season in September of the previous year. Rarer still is it the case that said driver is announced without any confirmed sponsorship.
Yet that’s the situation Team Penske finds itself in now, with team president Tim Cindric optimistic the backing will come for Penske’s third car driven by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2014.
“The approach that we took, because obviously it was a pretty short time frame once it got to the point where it was something that really looked like we could put it together, it really came down to Roger’s commitment to the sport and Roger’s commitment to winning,” Cindric explained on a conference call Monday.
“The approach that we have taken, really, is let’s put the competitive piece in play first, and then hopefully we can sort the rest of it out. And I guess that’s one of the advantages we all have working for Roger is his commitment to winning comes before everything else.
Penske has run AJ Allmendinger in a third car at five 2013 races, one of which (Long Beach) came out of pocket without sponsorship. Cindric confirmed the lack of sponsors at the moment but anticipates that will change.
“No, we don’t have even one sponsor for one race as we sit here today, but, you know, I’m confident that will change as things go along.,” he said.
If you underestimate the clout Roger Penske still carries, an announcement like this will make you reconsider. He’s one of exactly three people in the paddock (Chip Ganassi, and maybe Michael Andretti) who could pull off this move.
His other two puzzle pieces on the driving front were also confirmed with Helio Castroneves and Will Power returning, and the team has re-upped with Chevrolet on the engine front.