Sunoco, a primary sponsor of Roger Penske's racing teams from 1966-1982 and currently the official fuel of NASCAR and INDYCAR, will support the RRDC Evening with Roger Penske presented by Firestone. The third annual Road Racing Drivers Club's West Coast banquet will be held on Thursday, April 14, prior to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.).
"The iconic Sunoco brand has been a part of Roger Penske's history since the heyday of sports car racing in the '60s," said RRDC president Bobby Rahal. "It is very fitting to have Sunoco on board as a sponsor of the RRDC Evening with Roger Penske, and we welcome their support.”
"Sunoco is pleased to support the Road Racing Drivers Club as it honors Roger Penske for his outstanding career accomplishments and the tireless work he has done to promote motorsports," said Bob Owens, Sunoco's senior vice president of marketing. "Sunoco has long been associated with racing excellence, and our relationship with the Roger Penske Racing Team with Mark Donohue when they won the 1972 Indianapolis 500 with a Sunoco-sponsored car remains a prime example. This duo succeeded in capturing several sports car championships, including SCCA, Can-Am, and the inaugural IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway. For these triumphs and so many more, we congratulate Roger on a remarkable career."
Sunoco began its relationship with Penske Racing in 1966 when Elmer Bradley, a Sunoco executive, met Roger Penske while shopping for a Corvette at Penske's Chevrolet dealership in Philadelphia. At that first meeting, Penske suggested using Sunoco products in the Corvette he was entering in the 24 Hours of Daytona, including Sunoco 260 gasoline and Sunoco motor oil and lubricants. Penske even proposed putting Sunoco's iconic logo on the red Corvette's quarter panel.
The program took off when Sunoco later became Penske Racing's major sponsor. A succession of Sunoco Special Blue race cars were driven to victory lane by Mark Donohue and other Penske Racing drivers in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the USRRC, Can-Am, Trans-Am, and USAC Championship series, including the 1972 Indy 500, Penske Racing's first win at The Brickyard. Sunoco products were also used in Penske Racing's entries in the NASCAR Winston Cup series and CART in the '70s and '80s.
Over the years, the program proved to be a powerful platform for advertising and promotion, especially when tied into Sunoco's vast network of retail fuel locations. Sunoco also provided outstanding technical product support and development primarily through Jerry Kroninger, an engineer at Sunoco's Marcus Hook refinery. Kroninger designed the innovative refueling systems that later became famous as one of Penske Racing's "Unfair Advantages."
Sunoco continues to be a force in the racing world as the Official Fuel of NASCAR , INDYCAR , and over 40 other series in the U.S. and in other countries.
The RRDC Evening with Roger Penske will be held at the Hilton Hotel, 701 West Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, Calif., with cocktails at 6 p.m., and dinner at 7:15 p.m. The RRDC is pleased to announce that the event has reached its capacity and reservations can no longer be accepted.
Proceeds from the evening will help support the club's "SAFE is FAST" initiative, aimed at mentoring your drivers, and the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997. Previous banquets have honored Dan Gurney and Parnelli Jones, drawing fans and luminaries from all forms of motorsports.