Com­pelling ques­tions ... and maybe a few ac­tual an­swers

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - News - — Ken Wil­lis, ken.wil­[email protected]

Have we over­looked the Cap­tain’s great 2018 sea­son?

Over five-plus decades, Roger Penske has be­come so syn­ony­mous with suc­cess, it can be easy to over­look the re­cent tro­phies he’s stashed into the

bulging dis­play case. Even at 81, he’s hardly just a fig­ure­head owner, but very much a part of team strate­gies and lo­gis­tics.

This past year, the Cap­tain was click­ing on all cylin­ders. Con­sider the spoils: The Indy 500 win with Will Power, Aus­tralia’s

V8 Su­per­car cham­pi­onship with Scott McLaugh­lin, and NASCAR’s Cup cham­pi­onship with Joey Logano.

What, there’s a down side?

Well, yes, in a way, though it’s not Penske’s fault. Many be­moan the lack of new blood in NASCAR’s own­er­ship ranks,

but old warhorses like Penske are mak­ing it tough on in­ter­lop­ers. He’s 81, Joe Gibbs is 78, and Rick Hen­drick turns 70 next year. As stated so many times

here, NASCAR needs an in­flux of younger own­er­ship, but the cur­rent busi­ness model makes it tough for any­one with­out se­ri­ous Wall Street con­nec­tions.

Are you buy­ing Jim­mie’s op­ti­mism?

Let’s punt and say “rent­ing.” Jim­mie John­son went to Bahrain early last week and en­joyed a well-pub­li­cized test stint in the For­mula One McLaren of two-time F1 champ Fer­nando

Alonso. … with him­self. Jim­mie was The seven-time im­pressed NASCAR champ is usu­ally quite hum­ble, but these aren’t usual times. Af­ter a win­less 2018, he’s in need of a pick-me-up, even

if he has to sup­ply the lift­ing. “I climbed in an un­fa­mil­iar car and en­vi­ron­ment and did re­ally well,” he told me­dia later last

week in Las Ve­gas. “So my nat­u­ral instincts, my abil­ity to drive, my abil­ity to scare my­self and chal­lenge my­self hasn’t gone any­where.”

The Indy 500 win with driverWill Power was among RogerPenske’s 2018 ac­com­plish­mentsas team owner.[AP/DARRONCUM­MINGS]

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