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.

Ka-boom! NHRA Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon blows up brand new car body

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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Former NHRA Funny Car champ Cruz Pedregon was a happy man coming into Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colorado (a suburb of Denver).

The reason Pedregon was feeling good was he had a brand new Toyota Camry body atop his Funny Car chassis. It was state of the art, it looked fast and it was prepared to run fast.

And everything really looked good as soon as Pedregon hit the gas in his qualifying run vs. Tim Wilkerson.

Well, for a few seconds, that is.

As the two drivers hurtled down the 1,000-foot drag strip, Pedregon’s brand new body was destroyed in a massive explosion.

Fortunately, Pedregon was uninjured.

Check out the big ka-boom: