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Roger Penske wins Bathurst 1000 for first time in career

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Roger Penske’s checklist is nearly complete. The most successful team owner in auto racing history checked another one off the list with a victory in Sunday’s famed Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama in New South Wales, Australia.

The 82-year-old team owner’s two-driver entry of Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat won the Bathurst 1000 on the same day Penske’s No. 6 Acura Team Penske entry won the WeatherTech SportsCar championship in the DPi category in the Motul Petit Le Mans.

Although the Bathurst 1000 was run on Sunday, because of the International Date Line, it started with two hours remaining in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans at Michelin Speedway at Road Atlanta. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and 1999 CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron are the championship drivers for Acura Team Penske.

This year’s Indianapolis 500 winner, Simon Pagenaud, was the team’s third driver this weekend at Michelin Speedway.

Penske attended the Bathurst 1000 with his DJR Team Penske operation and saw McLaughlin and Premat win the famed endurance race in a single-lap dash. This came after Andre Haimgartner crashed his Nissan with three laps to go to bring out the eighth and final caution period.

The 26-year-old McLaughlin, who also won the Virgin Australian Supercars Championship, drove his Ford Mustang to a 0.68-second victory over Shane van Gisbergen’s Holden Commodore.

“It’s one off our bucket list now,” Penske said. “What a champion.

“He’s got the momentum within the team, and he’s lifted the whole place up. I’ve said it a lot this week, he reminds me of Rick Mears, who won the Indy 500 four times. He could always lift the team.”

Penske’s checklist is quite impressive. His cars have won the Indianapolis 500 a record 18 times, including Pagenaud’s win on May 26. Team Penske also has a record 16 IndyCar “National Championships,” won the 2012 NASCAR Cup Championship with Brad Keselowski and the 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Championship with Joey Logano. Penske drivers also have two Daytona 500 wins with Ryan Newman in 2008 and Logano in 2015.

Penske’s cars and drivers have won more than 500 races counting all series the team has competed in since its inception in 1966. Those include such series as Formula One, Can-Am and Trans-Am in addition to IndyCar, NASCAR, ALMS, IMSA and Virgin Australia SuperCars.

It was McLaughlin’s first Bathurst 1000 win.

“I can’t believe I won the bloody Bathurst 1000,” McLaughlin said. “We had such a good car all week. We put so much pressure on all week.”

It’s already been an incredible year for Penske.

Pagenaud won the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26. Josef Newgarden won the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series championship with four wins and seven podiums (top three finishes) and two poles in a remarkably consistent season. His Acura Team Penske IMSA team won the DPi championship with Montoya and Cameron and all three of his NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series drivers including Keselowski, Logano and Ryan Blaney remain in contention for the 2019 NASCAR Cup title.

It was also the first Bathurst 1000 victory in 25 years for team co-owner Dick Johnson of Australia.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.