24 JUNE 2014
As long-term benchmarks, it’s hard to
argue against organizations such as John
Force Racing in NHRA Funny Car drag
racing and Team Penske at the Indy 500.
Longevity in itself is no grounds for being
called a powerhouse, but longevity and a
high level of ongoing, frequent success is.
For JFR, that equates to 18 Funny Car
titles in the last 24 years and, for Penske,
15 “500” wins since taking its first with
Mark Donohue in 1972.
Yes, each has endured fallow periods
– and, in the case of Team Penske, been
forced to sit out several Indy 500s due to
the schism in U.S. open-wheel racing that
began in 1996 – yet each was able to
bounce back and re-establish supremacy
before a blip became a trend.
As noted, there’s no science involved in
choosing these powerhouse teams, and we’d
be amazed if our list coincided with yours.
Why not let us know the teams you feel are
racing’s ultimate powerhouses.
Let the heated debate begin...
Formula 1 World Championship
When Ayrton Senna joined McLaren
in 1988, Honda came, too. The period
of success that followed included the
single-most dominant season in F1
history, when Senna and Prost won 15
of 16 grands prix between them. The
move from turbo to normally-aspirated
engines in ’ 89 didn’t faze the alliance,
with Drivers’ Championships for Senna
in ’ 88, ’ 90 and ’ 91 and Prost in ’ 89.
Four consecutive Constructors’ crowns
for McLaren merely confirmed the
overwhelming level of dominance.
McLaren’s near-perfect winning record in 1988 came down to a
great car/engine in the Honda-powered MP4/4 (ABOVE) and two
incredible drivers in Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost (ABOVE RIGHT).
USAC Championship Car
In a departure from the multi-season
domination of many of our other
contenders for the ultimate racing
powerhouse, we nominate Ansted-Thompson Racing and driver A.J. Foyt
for a stellar ’ 64 USAC Championship.
To win 10 of 13 races, on a mix of
paved and dirt ovals, switching between
a Watson roadster and Meskowski
dirt car, was a huge achievement,
capped by Foyt’s second Indy 500
win (ABOVE) – the last by a roadster.
CART Indy car racing
Plenty of other championships have
been earned by the various strands
of Chip Ganassi’s racing empire, but
four straight CART titles by TCGR,
1996-’ 99, remains an astonishing
sequence of success made even more
so because they were earned by three
different drivers, and all in an era
when the depth of competition in the
series was unequaled. Read more
about the first 25 years of Target Chip
Ganassi Racing, beginning page 36.
For oUr ULtiMate
see page 26