Johnson: Patience required for Penske success
Dick Johnson has called for patience as DJR Team Penske continues to refine its fledgling operation into a winning Supercars concern.
Just 18 months into the Australian/American alliance that saw Roger Penske buy a 51 percent stake in the Queensland operation, Johnson says there are no doubts that success looms on the horizon.
Despite some podium success the team continues to be tested with indifferent results which saw Fabian Coulthard finish eighth and team-mate Scott Pye classified 18th in the opening 200km leg in Townsville this weekend.
Coulthard and Pye sit 14th and 17th in the championship standings respectively after 14 races.
THE FINAL RACE OF THE 2023 REPCO SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP ON ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST STREET CIRCUITS. GO ALL IN AT THE VAILO ADELAIDE 500, CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS
“We certainly haven’t got there yet and it’s been a lot slower than what we would have liked. But it will come,” Johnson told Speedcafe.com.
Johnson, initially a sceptic of Penske’s decision to run one car in its foundation year in 2015, now believes starting frugally was a coy move.
“I thought it was a bad move to run one car last year, but now it just shows how smart Roger (Penske) is,” he said.
“It gave them and us the opportunity to be able to get used to each other and know what is required and what isn’t required and what people are needed.
“I don’t think Penske has taken part in any motor racing venture that has failed.”
Johnson said the addition of Scott McLaughlin to the squad next year alongside incumbent Coulthard reflected the morals of Penske, who had paused on pursuing McLaughlin while he remained contracted to Garry Rogers Motorsport.
“That’s why he (Penske) won’t be successful in a bad way,” Johnson explained.
“He will never, ever buy a driver out of a contract or anyone else for that matter.
“He will wait until they come off contract if he thinks they are the right person.
“To be in partnership at whatever level with a guy who has those sort of morales, you couldn’t wish for anything better.”
Johnson sees similarities between McLaughlin and Craig Lowndes, who at one stage many seasons ago was on the Queenslander’s driver wish list.
“Yes he is very similar,” Johnson said.
“It is not just the ability to turn a steering wheel and push a brake pedal that defines a good driver.
“When you come into a team like you have with the DJR Team Penske arrangement, there are many other aspects that are required of a driver.
“It’s the way they conduct themselves in public, online, with the fans, corporately and there are a lot of things that come into play.
“They are the things that Roger really looks for.
“With his idea of a team that is what he demands. And rightfully so because you are representing a lot of different corporate companies.
“You just can’t afford to do anything stupid. Image is everything.”