A long wait

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, drives during the NASCAR Victory Lap on the Las Vegas Strip on November 29, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, drives during the NASCAR Victory Lap on the Las Vegas Strip on November 29, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — It took Roger Penske 28 years to win the trophy he originally proposed to tire maker Goodyear.

One of the highlights of Champion’s Week is the presentation of a 1:12 scale gold car to the Sprint Cup champion. That’s a tradition Penske established long ago on the IndyCar side of Penske Racing and one he suggested to Goodyear for their Sprint Cup program back in 1984.

“I’d been with Goodyear as a tire distributor for many, many years, and Bob Murcer was the president, and he said, ‘All the drivers get up and say ‘I’d have finished better, but I blowed a tire,’ and I don’t know what to do,” Penske recalled after the Myers Brothers ceremony. “I had gotten a fellow outside of Toledo (Mike Dunlap) that had done these gold cars for us when we won Indy.

“I said, ‘Why don’t you have him build a gold car, and you give that to the drivers, and they’ll talk awful good about Goodyear in the future.’ He thought that was a good idea. We had one made for him, and ever since, it’s been the trophy given to the (champion) driver.”

This year, for the first time, it goes to a Penske driver — Brad Keselowski.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.