CONCORD, N.C. – Keeping the rules static in the Sprint Cup Series will save Roger Penske some money, but the business-minded team owner believes it could help generate some revenue, too.
“If we’ve got good racing, what I’d like is to see (the rules) stabilize, then you could sell some of your old cars to some teams,” Penske said Saturday before the Sprint All-Star Race. “People forget that a used race car market is good for everybody because we can hand down cars that maybe aren’t Triple-A cars, but they’re very good for people who want to come and run. And if they keep changing the rules, the cost to update them is prohibitive for someone wanting to get in the sport. So, I like that piece of it.”
After cutting horsepower and downforce this season, NASCAR was planning another reduction in downforce for 2016. But officials have backed off on that plan in the past month, indicating the 2015 rules could remain in place.
The financial burden to teams has been cited as a reason, and Penske said it would be difficult to absorb the costs if the new rules hadn’t been determined by now. NASCAR originally had planned to unveil the 2016 rules in Saturday’s Sprint All-Star Race — about four months ahead of last year’s release of the 2015 package.
“Every time we change something, it costs us money,” Penske said. “There’s been good communication between the car owners and NASCAR. Before we make a change, we look at the costs associated with it.
“The racing has been good (in 2015). There’s been different winners. The main thing is we’ve got to have enough time. That’s where if they weren’t able to make a decision by the end of May or early June and let you know six months ahead of time, it’s pretty hard to execute. Especially when you’re running two to three cars, and some of these teams are a lot bigger than we are and are building cars for other people, so there’s a lot more pressure.”
Penske jetted to Charlotte Motor Speedway after Saturday’s qualifying session for the Indianapolis 500 was canceled by rain.
Sitting inside his plush mobile office in the infield a few hours before the race, he chatted with a small group of reporters in a wide-ranging interview addressing NASCAR and IndyCar.
Penske hopes solid results will help attract sponsorship for a full-season deal for Ryan Blaney, who finished fourth two weeks ago at Talladega Superspeedway. Blaney is under contract to Team Penske but is driving part time for Wood Brothers Racing, which receives chassis and technical support in an alliance with Penske.
“I’d hope there can be an extension” into a full-time deal in 2016 with Wood Brothers, Penske said. “That would be our goal. This is a partnership really with the Woods’ people and ours. We’ve got the technology and the ability to build the right pieces for them. It’s like a brother in law.”
Penske said he was pleased with his Sprint Cup team, which opened the season with a Daytona 500 victory by Joey Logano and also scored a win at Auto Club Speedway by Brad Keselowski.
While Penske has emerged best in class at Ford since joining the manufacturer in 2013, Jack Roush’s team has been sliding from its perch as a Ford stalwart. Penske said there had been more collaboration recently between the two teams.
“I think they’ve done some wind tunnel work with us in the last 30 days,” Penske said of Roush. “They seem to be a little bit better. It’s disappointing for Jack because he’s been so dominant, but you go through those cycles. We’re running (V8 Supercars) in Australia, trying to figure out how to get from 18th to 10th place. It’s not easy, especially with the rule changes, trying to get everybody on the same page. I think they’ll persevere and be OK.”