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Fourth of July Guide 2011: Weekend Getaways- Penske Racing Museum

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Want to do something truly All-American to celebrate this years July 4th or just relish in the speed on the fast and famous racecars of Indy and NASCAR lore. Penske Racing Museum is the perfect destination for both.

The museum is owned by Penske, an icon in the racing industry, who owns nearly a dozen car dealerships throughout the country. The museum, which has been described as one of the area’s best-kept secrets, is located north of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard among the premium Penske Automotive Group Jaguar and Bentley dealerships in the Scottsdale 101 Auto Collection. It is a must-see road trip detour this holiday weekend.

The museum (opened in 2002) is open to the public, free of charge, and it showcases an amazing collection of cars, trophies, and racing memorabilia that chronicles one of the most successful dynasties in all of sports. The museum gives speed car fans an up-close and personal experience with automobiles that are ordinarily just a blur on the track. For the racing enthusiast the two-story, 9,000-square-foot museum features a vast array of cool and colorful cars. The tops of several cars are opened so car lovers can linger over the high-tech interior.

It’s difficult to pinpoint which one of the cars is most popular with guests but here are a few favorites:
• The 1974 Penske PC-1 – the first car designed and built by Penske Racing at its plant in England.
• The 1963 NASCAR Pontiac Catalina – which was driven to victory by Roger Penske at the NASCAR Riverside 250 in 1963.
• The Cosworth Ford DFX V8 – Rick Mears drove this sleek yellow car in 1986, setting what was then the closed-course speed record of 223 mph. Driver Al Unser Sr. also won his fourth and Penske Racing’s sixth Indy 500 driving this car in 1987.

The museum annually draws approximately 18,000 tourists journeying from around the world to relive historical races and rich history and the breadth of Penske Racing. The museum also has a second-floor boutique and café which a worth taking a timeout for. There’s something for every race fan at the Penske Racing Museum, which is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Located just about an hour from Phoenix, AZ, the museum is a must-see for fans coming to town for this 3-day holiday weekend. For more information, visit penskeracingmuseum.com or call 480-538-4444.

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