Penske Racing is planning to run three NASCAR Sprint Cup and one Nationwide series team full time in 2011, though the entry for Sam Hornish Jr. is dependent on sponsorship.
In 2010, Penske fielded three Sprint Cup teams (with drivers Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Hornish) and two Nationwide teams (with drivers Justin Allgaier and Keselowski). Keselowski won the Nationwide Series title, the first NASCAR championship for team owner Roger Penske.
Approximately 50 people were laid off from the organization this week, with more cuts expected to come Friday.
Hornish will definitely run the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup season opener, and the organization is working to land sponsorship to continue running his No. 77 team.
"We need to take advantage of the resources we have going forward," said Walt Czarnecki, executive vice president of Penske Corp. "We haven’t ceased our efforts. This just hasn’t been a strong sponsorship climate. We had tough decisions to make. We have a couple of things going, but we had to base those decisions on today, not tomorrow."
Penske says that if he can’t find sponsorship for Hornish in NASCAR, he will run him in the Indianapolis 500.
Hornish finished 29th in the series standings in his third full season of Cup competition. Busch finished 11th after making the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and Keselowski, in his first full Cup season, finished 25th.
On the Nationwide side, Penske said that no decision has been made concerning a crew chief for Keselowski in 2011. Keselowski’s 2010 crew chief, Paul Wolfe, is moving to the driver’s Sprint Cup team.