Rick Hendrick, his good rival and best friend, gave a hug. They traded hats. Rusty Wallace, who drove the No. 2 blue Dodge for so many years, gave the kind of full hug you give family as darkness and confetti fell on Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Roger Penske has defined the winner's circle in racing. The team owner has won 15 Indy 500 titles. He's won 76 NASCAR Sprint Cup races. He's built a successful business empire, is worth more than $1 billion and never has a hair out of place.
So here he was Sunday evening, celebrating the one thing he had never won, the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. This win was his great white whale, the one that always got away. And now he had it.
Only now, even at 75, Penske couldn't just throw himself into the moment in the manner his driver, Brad Keselowski, did. Keselowski is 28. He held an oversized beer glass. He shouted to the crowd, "We did it!"
Penske never was one for the big lights and loud lines. Instead, in this defining moment, The Captain offered why he has reached such pinnacles, if you listened closely enough.
It might not seem like much. But there amid the victory celebration, on the stage of everything he's wanted in this sport, he stood beside Keselowski and asked a simple question.
"Brad, what do we have to do to do this again in 2013?" Penske asked.
So often perspective is what separates the greats from the goods. Don Shula telling his Dolphins after his first Super Bowl title, "We need to improve." Pat Riley telling his Heat after their title last spring, "You're free to play better now."
One of the truths you discover in sports or business is how the greatest are all members of the same club. They think different, act different, expect different and ultimately achieve on a different level than most.
What they do, most of all, is understand fundamental truths.
"It's not about how much money you put in a team,'' Penske said. "It's about the people, the human capital."
This was a couple of hours after his race. Penske was sitting in the interview room being asked about all the times he came close. With Wallace, he finished second and third in the early 1990s.
"That was a long time ago,'' Penske said. "The competition has gotten tougher. Any weekend, 10 or 15 cars can win.
"I've played this race in my mind over the weekend so many times, yes or no,'' he said. "I guess when Jimmie lost that lugnut someone gave us four aces in our hand. We just had to make sure we didn't [waste] them."
Yes, there was some fortune involved Sunday. Johnson lost a lugnut, then had oil trouble and was out of the race. Suddenly, years of work gave way to the realization he finally won.
"Personally, I feel amazing I've been able to achieve this,'' he said. "In racing, I've been awed for the people on the stage. To be able to join that select group and say I'm a champion in NASCAR, it means a lot.
"To me, it took guts to stay in NASCAR. I could've said, 'Well, I've won the Indy 500 15 times and that's enough.' But you haven't competed until you've competed for this. I think I just woke up here. It's a big thrill."
Keselowski is the new star in racing. He's a fresh face, a fun face, a new driver who fights after races, uses tweets in them and probably can't process exactly what he accomplished Sunday.
Penske can process it. He's chased it long enough.
"I'm going to come to the races as long as I can,'' he said. "I don't have a deadline. At this particular point, racing keeps me young. I need a couple of more championships."