On the surface it’s been a relatively quiet year for Roger Penske’s team so far, with no luck in the Indy 500, four victories and five poles between his three superb race cars. Ho-hum, top two in the standings plus a prodigal open-wheel champion back in victory lane – what’s new? Happily, we can also report that his son Jay’s managed to stay free from jail, at least as of this writing.
Those under the radar partial year results would be a banner season for nearly every other IndyCar outfit, but not Roger Penske’s. The Captain (of what? I always wonder) is the winning-est team owner in IndyCar and Indy 500 history during a career spanning five decades. Still, there could be trouble a-brewing in the Napoleonic Team Penske empire, above and beyond his son’s odd urinary tendencies.
In many years of close albeit long distance observation of El Capitan, IRR has never heard Mr. Penske utter the word “shame” nearly so often as this year, although with Paul Tracy and Little Al driving for him in the past he certainly had reasons. He invoked the distasteful term several times live over the airwaves during the last handful of races – and toward his own team, no less.
He repeatedly referred to the “shame” of Power banging into Castro-Neves and vice versa, the “shame” of Power’s many penalties and the shame of it all, generally (or would that be Captainly?). That’s pretty strong language for the soft-spoken near-octogenarian billionaire-car-magnate (unless compared to Donald Sterling, or most-of-the-rest-of-us). But still, he does have a point.
Most of Mr. Penske’s rather weak, halting stream of shame has been aimed squarely at Will Power’s feet. In short glimpses on tv and unarguably to all Australians (trust us, don’t argue with them), William’s a seemingly mild mannered quiet type, at least as far as Aussies go. To a few discerning Americans (and all New Zealanders and many Kentish folk), he’s certifiably koala shit crazy, as many Aussies tend to be.
We don’t mean crazy fast either, although he’s sometimes that too depending on the circuit and his mood. We mean rubber room and recreation yard unstable. Deuces are wild for Power’s fast #12 Series Title Sponsor car as he owns two wins, two poles and second place in points in the second half of 2014. He’s also been publicly shamed by Penske for his mad-cap zaniness before the entire IndyCar race viewing world – all two hundred thousand of us – at least twice in the last two months.
Remember his televised double bird display toward race control at New Hampshire a few years back? Classic Crazy Will; uncharacteristic of a Penske driver, however. For those of us who don’t know him personally or even read his wife’s feed, there’s no lack of photographic evidence as to Will’s waaaaay outback temperament. In fact many race day photos and videos are highly illustrative – here are two from the Aussie press.
Photo from heraldsun.com.au
Photo from dailytelegraph.com.au
Talented as he is, Mad King Power has pissed away a number of opportunities in races this year and in previous years. New Hampshire and a couple of Indy 500s speed to mind. Emperor Roger doesn’t like penalties, doesn’t like pissed opportunities (particularly at the 500), doesn’t like crazy and most certainly doesn’t like the word shame associated with his organization.
The Captain didn’t get to be the best at what he does (Cap’ning the Good Ship Chip & all IndyCar land, let’s say) by tolerating such nonsense, either. Will Power be forewarned, you wild-man Australian scion of a convict, you. You’re being watched by Cap’n Penske. And the rest of us.