Team Penske President Tim Cindric joined the Fast Car 2 NASCAR podcast with Mike Wallace to review the organization’s historic sweep of the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 over Memorial Day weekend.
With NTT IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden and NASCAR Cup Series pilot Ryan Blaney winning their respective races under the Team Penske banner, the organization became the first team to win both crown jewel races in the same year.
On the podcast, Cindric discussed the behind-the-scenes view he witnessed.
Q: On Sunday, you win the Indy 500 with Josef Newgarden. The next day, due to rain delay, your team comes back and wins the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. What was that weekend like for you and your team?
CINDRIC: The whole weekend was pretty surreal to be honest.
We’ve been working here for a few years to try and get Roger (Penske) to where he was starting the race with the command to start engines and then was him back on that same stage at the end of the race, now that he’s the steward of the place.
To be able to finally accomplish that was goal No. 1.
Goal No. 2, I’ve been working with Newgarden as a strategist. He’s been trying to win that race for 12 years and we’ve been together for seven, if I remember correctly. To see him finally check that box, with all the success he’s had on the ovals, I know how much pressure he’s put on himself to win at that place.
Really, I don’t know if an IndyCar driver is truly complete until you experience winning the Indy 500, so awesome day there.
As you said, to turn around and then watch Ryan Blaney break his losing streak there and put him back in victory lane at the Coca-Cola 600 with our group and being the first group to ever do that — it’s hard to get Roger something he doesn’t have.
Big weekend for us.
Q: What’s the mojo around the shop on Tuesday morning? Was it back to business as normal, or was there a pep in everybody’s step until 11 a.m., and then they realized they had to get back to work?
CINDRIC: We have a happy hour here.
We try to celebrate our victories and Tuesday was a double happy hour. We typically do it at lunch, so we had a band here, we had shrimp and steak, and it was really cool.
Ryan (Blaney) was able to come in and the team usually watches the last 10 to 15 minutes of each race. Josef (Newgarden) was on his media tour in New York, but he called in and did some live video.
Great celebration. We were off to Detroit Grand Prix the next day and Gateway that next week.