Archive for January, 2011

Penske Racing Museum

January 15, 2011

The Penske Racing Museum showcases a collection of cars, trophies and racing memorabilia and chronicles the career of one of the most successful sports dynasties. Roger S. Penske, a winning racer in the late 1950s, Penske was named 1961’s Sports Car Club of America Driver of the Year by Sports Illustrated. After retiring from driving, he created one of the most successful teams in IndyCar Series and NASCAR racing. Penske racing has more than forty years of racing experience and more than 250 major race wins highlighted by Fifteen Indianapolis 500-mile race victories. The museum features a collection of Indy 500 winning cars surpassed only by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. The tops of several cars are open so car lovers can linger over the high-tech interior.

            On display in the museum is a replica of the 1963 Pontiac Catalina which Roger Penske drove to victory in the 1963 Riverside 250 along with the 2006 Dallara Honda which Sam Hornish Jr. drove to win the 2006 Indy 500. Several legendary race cars are on display. The 1974 Penske PC-1 was driven by Mark Donohue. This car was designed by Geoff Ferris and built at the Penske Cars, Ltd. shop in Dorset, England. The Hurst/Olds Cutlass 1972 Indianapolis 500 Pace car is also on display.  The 1985 Penske March 85C 1985 Indianapolis 500 Winner was driven by Danny Sullivan. The “Spin and Win” car, driven by Danny Sullivan in 1985, won Penske Racing’s 5th Indy 500. The Penske PC-17 1988 Indianapolis 500 winner was driven by Rick Mears. The 1973 Porsche IROC RSR was driven by Mark Donohue and the 1963 NASCAR Pontiac Catalina (replica) was driven by Roger Penske. The 1977 Penske PC-5, driven by Tom Sneva, is the first car to hold the single lap qualifying record of more than 200 mph at the Indianapolis 500 and the first time Penske Racing campaigned their own chassis at the Indy 500. The 1994 Indianapolis 500 winner was driven by Al Unser Jr. The 2002 Dallara IR2 Indianapolis 500 winner, driven by Helio Castroneves, was Penske Racing’s 12th Indy 500 win and Castroneves’ second. It marked the first time a driver won the Indianapolis 500 in his first two Indy 500 starts. The 1991 Indianapolis 500 winner was driven by Rick Mears.  

            The Museum’s Boutique offers Penske Racing merchandise including die cast cars and books as well as apparel for women, men and children. T-shirts, pens and one of a kind car parts, signed by Penske Team drivers, are available for purchase. The Turn 4 Café offers a variety of breakfast and lunch options ranging from bagels and breakfast sandwiches to freshly made salads and hot or cold sandwiches. Visitors can enjoy meals inside the café where Penske Racing displays their winning trophies from over the years or on the mezzanine overlooking the test track and the Land Rover off-road course.

Penske racing Museum 7125 E. Chauncey Lane Phoenix AZ 85054 Tel: 480-538-4444 Web site: http://penskeracingmuseum.com

Border Air Museum

January 1, 2011

Douglas, Arizona was the first international airport of the Americas. Aviation was an important part of the evolution of Douglas and was almost lost if it were not for Richard and Irma Westbrook. Richard, a 1949 Douglas High School graduate, worked for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA.) Westbrook was inducted in 1993 into the NASA Hall of Fame. The Border Air Museum was a gift to the City of Douglas by the widow of the late Richard Westbrook in 2002. Richard died before the museum was completed. The Border Air Museum houses Westbrook’s collection of air history.  

            The museum exhibits a Trojan airplane which was made in Douglas in the 1950s. Other exhibits include displays of American Airlines memorabilia, a wall of history of the Douglas Army Air Field with artifacts, an in-depth history of Douglas aviation, history of the Mexican Revolution and aviation in Douglas, Women’s Air History, and a history of Hollywood making films using the Douglas airport. There is a letter from the President Roosevelt declaring the Douglas airport “The First International Airport of the Americas.” It was the first airport in the state to have night flights.

            Douglas had the first airplane in the state of Arizona. In 1908, a group of Douglas men formed the Douglas Aeronautical Club and built a glider from mail order plans. This glider was pulled into the air by a two horse buggy equipped for release with an aerial hitch, from behind the YMCA building. A year later they added a motor and propeller and they had motorized airplane.

            By 1913 this airplane was famous locally as The Douglas Bomber. General John “Black Jack” Pershing, who led the U. S. expeditionary force to capture the notorious Pancho Villa, recruited Charles Ford and his Douglas Bomber to fly over the border and drop bombs south of Agua Prieta on the railroad tracks to stop supplies flowing into Villa’s troops. The bombs were made from lard buckets filled with dynamite, scrap metal and concrete.

            After World War I and the Mexican Revolution, Douglas became a take off point for barnstormers. These stunt pilots and aerialists–or barnstormers as they became known–performed amazing tricks with airplanes. Barnstorming was the first major form of civil aviation.  By the 1930s, the Douglas Airport was a stopping point for American Airlines, traveling from San Diego to San Antonio.

Border Air Museum,  East 10th Street & Airport Road, Douglas AZ 85607, Tel: 520-417-7344