Team Penske Following NASCAR Blueprint

Tim Cindric (center) is leading Team Penske's return to NTT IndyCar Series competition. (IndyCar photo)
Tim Cindric (center) is leading Team Penske's return to NTT IndyCar Series competition. (IndyCar photo)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Team Penske President Tim Cindric believes his NTT IndyCar Series operation has learned the blueprint to a return to action from its NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series operations.

Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing are the only two IndyCar teams that also field full-time NASCAR efforts. Team Penske is the only team that operates all of its racing teams out of the same shop.

NASCAR returned to action on May 17 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and has since competed at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

All of those races were within easy driving distance for the NASCAR teams that are based in the Charlotte, N.C., area. Most of the IndyCar teams, however, are located in and around Indianapolis.

What’s important for Team Penske, however, is learning the processes that NASCAR used and applying them to the IndyCar side of the shop as they return to action for Saturday’s Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.

“I think the fact that we’re running a NASCAR team out of the same building has probably given us a lot bigger edge on what to understand at Texas than maybe running Scott McLaughlin there for a few laps,” Cindric told SPEED SPORT during Wednesday morning’s Zoom conference. “I’ve got to commend NASCAR and their aggressiveness in terms of getting back on track because I think they’ve really served as a catalyst for the rest of motorsports worldwide to show the world that it can be done.

“There was a lot of risk in doing that in terms of being the first and taking the risks of, what happens and what protocols you have to have in place and secondary procedures or whatever else. Without a doubt we’ve learned a ton from the way in which it’s transpired within the NASCAR world.”

According to NASCAR chief racing officer Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR has shared its “back-to-racing” plan with other professional sporting series, including IndyCar.

“I think honestly that the way they started the protocols, there hasn’t been too many changes,” Cindric said. “They had things pretty well covered from the very beginning, and it’s just been a matter of executing. When you look at how NASCAR operates and whether it’s the pit stops or just how their haulers are arranged or how their communication happens relative to IndyCar, relative to IMSA, everybody has their own little idiosyncrasies of how you operate as a series. I think there’s some uniqueness there that’s going to continue to play out.

“But certainly, I think not only our team, but I think motorsports in general has learned a lot from NASCAR.”

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