1975 –
1989
Della Penna was a regular entrant in Formula Ford (1975-1979) and Formula Atlantic (1980-1985), winning the rookie of the year honors and two west coast championships in that Formula.
1991 Della Penna opts to concentrate on team ownership and developing young drivers working with such notables as WillyT. Ribbs, Juan Fangio II (nephew of his racing idol) and Jimmy Vasser. Della Penna won the Toyota Atlantic North American Championship with Vasser in 1990 and finished second in 1991 by only four points. (Vasser moved to compete in the CART championship in 1992))
1993 Della Penna focuses his efforts on finding a young talent with whom his team could move up the American open-wheel ladder series, advancing from the Toyota Atlantic series to CART. He found California native Richie Hearn.
1994 Second place CART Series finish (Hearn)
1995 Della Penna Motorsports wins the Toyota Atlantic Championship (Hearn).
1996 In 1996 the team advanced to the highest levels of American open-wheel racing, the between the series and the team participated in selected CART races and five in the IRL including the 1996 Indianapolis 500 where Della Penna and Hearn finished thirdd
1996 –
2000
Della Penna Motorsports continued to run in the CART circuit until 2000 when Della Penna sold the team.

“When you give a young, talented driver a fast car and the support he needs, the results will come.”

– John Della Penna