Penske recalls “our fiercest competitor” Carl Haas

Roger Penske owner has spoken movingly of Carl Haas as a friend, someone who helped him in his early days, but who also became one of Team Penske’s greatest rivals.

Penske recalls “our fiercest competitor” Carl Haas
Roger Penske
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, Roger Penske
Paul Newman and Carl Haas congratulate Sébastien Bourdais
Carl Haas

He told Motorsport.com: “I first recall Carl Haas back in an airport race, I think it might have been in Akron, Ohio, and he was racing a little Elva Courier. He was in a smart blue driving suit and that car was also very buttoned-up! So I go back almost 60 years with Carl, and I got to know him in those days.

“He and [wife] Berni became very good friends of mine as we were building our race team. I went to England with him to visit Lola a number of times and I remember him renting a big white Rolls-Royce for us rolling around London. We had a lot of fun.

“Then, as we started to get going, he was a big help to me in supplying us with Hewlands and other parts, and provided credit and  things that helped us get down the road. So that was Carl the friend.

“As a competitor, he ran one of the very best teams we ever ran against, I’d have to say. The people he had were very loyal to him. He was a racer himself but also a very shrewd businessman, who really knew how to provide value to his sponsors.

“But the most important thing I think about when I remember Carl is the partnership with his wife, Berni. Those two stayed together, and she was at his side throughout his career, and to me that’s a real tell-tale of the kind of relationship they had. True partners for life and in all aspects of life.”

A terrific team owner

Newman/Haas scored 107 wins in its 28 years in Indy car racing, leading to eight championships from its first with Mario Andretti in 1984 to its last with Sebastien Bourdais in ’07.

Said Penske: “No question, Newman/Haas Racing were our fiercest competitors for a number of years. Carl and I got to know Paul Newman together and ultimately Paul became Carl’s business partner in the team and Mario [Andretti] came on board. I watched that relationship grow into one of the great Indy car teams.

“You get over 100 wins in anything, you’ve got to be proud, but to do it at this level of the sport is really something.

“There are always strong competitors out there, but Carl was a genuine guy who became a terrific team owner whose business was in the sport. Racing was in his blood.

“It’s very sad that the last few years were so tough on him and of course Berni. But Carl’s going to be remembered with a great deal of affection by a lot of us, and with a huge amount of respect by everyone who knows about racing.”  

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