September 20, 2021

Brad Penn, Penn 1 High Performance Motor Oil

“The Official Engine Oil of Eat Sleep DSM.”

The Brad Penn, Penn 1 High Performance Motor oil, also widely known as “The Green Oil”, has been by far the most amazing oil I have ever used. Once I learned of it and it’s history and background, I have refused to use any other oil in my DSM and has been the only oil I have used in the last 4 years. I have recommended it to all of my friends and any of my customers with DSM’s. I am proud to say that I was able to convert most of my closest friends to Brad Penn lovers as well. In this write up, I will not only list the never-ending reasons as to why I love this oil, but I will also be trying to “promote” this oil to you. It is a way for me to “give back” to Brad Penn for developing such an amazing oil for racers and also for being very committed to the production.

Text by AJ Hunsinger // Photos by AJ Hunsinger & D.A. Lube

Zinc Phosphate Level

I originally heard of this oil on the old DSM forums as it was (and still is) talked about quite a bit. One of the very first things that sold me onto this oil was the high amount of “zinc” content that Brad Penn uses in their oil. Zinc, or zinc phosphate, is very important with anti-wear protection. The more zinc phosphate, generally means less engine failures. Zinc on it’s own will not help with anti-wear protection. Zinc and phosphate are two individual anti-wear additives but need each other to work.

“You can put zinc in the oil but it won’t act as an anti-wear agent until you add the phosphorous,” says Lake Speed, Jr. of Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil. “When you have a limit on the amount of zinc-phosphorous you limit the anti-wear agents. The combination of zinc and phosphorous is limited to a maximum of 800 parts per million in API/SM classification, which is the latest classification that came out in 2004.”

It is definitely more than just a coincidence that engine builders have been experiencing more flat tappet cam failures in the recent years compared to any years prior. That is because today’s engine oil regulations limit the amount of zinc phosphate, which limits anti-wear additives that your flat tappet cam requires in order to keep it spinning freely.

Motorsports has changed a little over the years, so has our oils

Another good thing about zinc phosphate is that it acts similar to a “film” that coats the engine parts throughout the engine. With a less zinc phosphate count, the bearings and other miscellaneous engine parts can become almost dry after sitting long enough. With oils like Brad Penn that are high in zinc phosphate, a film residue coats the inside of the engine and will remain there. This provides better, immediate lubrication upon startup.

Experts say that the reasons behind the changes in engine oil are numerous, but one of the main reasons is that the American Petroleum Institute (API) has regulated the amount of zinc levels to .08 percent, down from .15 of a few years ago (and even higher levels before that) due to its harmful effects on catalytic converters and emissions systems.

A chart of Brad Penn, Penn 1 High Performance oil with a zinc level of .15 across the board

The latest API formulations are aimed at extending the life of catalytic converters, not racing engines. Around 1996 most of the OEM’s had already started manufacturing OHC engines with roller followers, that in turn, allowed them to use lower zinc-phosphorous anti-wear additives.

So while performance engines of the early 1990’s could share the same oil as production engines without consequence, today, the use of API approved street oils in many performance applications will likely lead to trouble, especially during flat tappet cam break-in periods.

“Any oil that you get that says API or ILSAC GF-4 contains a limited amount of zinc and phosphorous, and for most racing applications, that’s not what you want,” says Speed.

It is for this reason some engine builders have switched to diesel oil for break-ins as some of these formulations are known to have higher levels of zinc.

“The current diesel oil spec is CJ-4 is limited to 1,200 parts per million (ppm), so it does have 400 ppm more than API pass car oil but it’s only marginally better. A lot of people get mislead hunting down the oil with the highest ppm, as if it were the Holy Grail, and it really isn’t,” says Speed.

The amount of detergents and the balance to the amount of detergents and anti-wear is another big difference between racing oil and API oil, say experts.

Forced Performance Motor Oil Study

A table indicating oil weights and ZDDP content is supplied below, suitable oils are highlighted in YELLOW.


“Do not use Mobil1 10w30 or any other “on highway” GF-4 oil in your 4G63 motor with any FP high output stock appearing turbo. Use a suitable racing oil designed for high film strength and heavy pressure loading such as Brad Penn, Joe Gibbs, Valvoline VR1, Amsoil Racing oil, or Royal Purple racing oil. Also remember that racing oils are detergent free and need to be changed frequently.”, said Robert Young from Forced Performance.
Oil Weights and Other Brad Penn Products
There are several Brad Penn High Performance weight options available. All of which are partial synthetic.
  • SAE 0W-30
  • SAE 5W-30
  • SAE 10W-30
  • SAE 10W-40
  • SAE 15W-40
  • SAE 20W-50 (what I personally use during Racing Season months, as well as most other racers)
  • SAE 30
  • SAE 40
  • SAE 50
  • SAE 60
  • Nitro 70

Brad Penn also carries several other products other than just engine oil.

  • SAE 30 Break-In Oil
  • V2 4 Stroke Motorcycle Oils
  • Engine Assembly Lubricant
  • FS Hypoid Gear/Blower
  • Racing Lubricant
  • Classic GL-4 Gear Lubricant
  • LS GL-5 SAE 80W-90

Dick Glady, of Brad Penn, says that they have been receiving rave reviews from engine builders who have used their break in oil. “We have a strong detergent dispersant package with the base oil formulation. Which basically allows the metal that flakes off during the break-in to be pulled away from the metal parts.”

Glady, adds that the detergent additive suspends the particles and gets them out of the engine quickly.

American Refining Group Incorporated, Located in Bradford, PA

The second thing that really got me hooked on Brad Penn was the fact that it is produced AND manufactured in Pennsylvania, Bradford Pennsylvania to be specific. I am a Pennsylvania boy and very proud of it. So when I learned that Brad Penn was located in PA, that was it. I was “hooked on Penn”. 

Breaking this down even further, there are a few other really cool things about Brad Penn and the location of their plant.

  • It is the oldest, continuous running lube refinery in the fucking world! It opened in 1881, formerly known as Kendal Refinery.
  • In 1997, ARG (American Refining Group) purchased the refinery.
  • Produces ONLY, 100% Pennsylvania Grade Crude Oil. Now, Crude Oil is free of asphaltic constituents, contains only trace amounts of sulfur and nitrogen, and has excellent characteristics for refining into lubricating base stocks. Lubricants made from refined Pennsylvania ‘Sweet’ Crude Oil have been the choice of equipment manufacturers and consumers for well over 100 years.
  • First refinery in the world to be ISO* 9000 certified (quality management system standard)
  • October, 2009, they obtained ISO 9001:2008 certification.
  • In 2001, the Penn Grade 1 Racing Oil was announced, as well as its nickname, “The Green Oil”.
  • Brad Penn product line began in 2014.

Glady, points out that Brad Penn is the only US refinery of motor oil and it processes 100 percent pure Pennsylvania Grade crude oil. “We process it so we get a very unique cut off our fractionation tower. We blend this cut into our racing oil and it has a tremendous affinity for metal surfaces. It goes after the metal surfaces and stays there. So, not only have we not cut our zinc levels, which are typically 1,500 ppm, and our phosphorous at 1,400 ppm, the whole story isn’t just the zinc, it’s the combination of that and the properties of our unique base oil.”

Appalachian Basin
The Pennsylvania grade crude oil region comprises approximately 35,000 square miles, covering a geographic area running from Southwestern New York, through Western Pennsylvania, and into Eastern Ohio, and West Virginia. ARG purchases over 3.0 million barrels of PA Grade Crude Oil annually.
  • 1/3 of crude from OH, NY, WV.
  • 2/3 from local producers w/in 125 mile radius of refinery.
  • 70% of the known PA Grade Crude reserves are still underground.

D-A Lube Company Buys Brad Penn Brand- 2014

The D-A Lube Company purchased the Brad Penn brand oil, officially, on December 31st, 2014. D-A Lube also has maintained and enjoyed a long history with ARG (American Refinery Group). The only way that I was able to find out about this was when I recently went to view the Brad Penn website, which has always been When I went to the site, it was completely changed and there were no Brad Penn logo’s or oil anywhere on the site. It had all been converted to solely Penn Grade Motor Oil.

After some panic, I decided to do some research. Initially, I jumped to worst case scenario like I always do; no more Brad Penn. But, that turned out not to be the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. This deal with D-A Lube Company went down at the end of 2014. But, the website hadn’t changed until just now, the end of 2016. So, it had already happened and been in affect for 2 years now and Brad Penn is still available.

“American Refining Group has agreed in principle to sell the Brad Penn Lubricants brand to D-A Lubricant Company Inc. We have also reached a blending and packaging agreement in which we will continue to blend and package most of the Brad Penn Lubricants at the Bradford, Pa. facility. D-A will continue to serve the Brad Penn distributor network with its lubricant products. Brad Penn distributors will receive the same level of service they have experienced with ARG from D-A Lubricant.”, said ARG in their press release.

Here is where the change is. The change is the name, more or less, and the bottle design. Eventually, there will be no more Brad Penn High Performance oil, according to the bottles you buy. It will instead say Penn Grade 1 Racing oil, which technically it already had as both Brad Penn and Penn Grade 1 have been displayed on the older/current bottle design.

So, it will be the same oil, just a new look. The former Brad Penn Racing oil, soon to be known as Penn Grade 1 High Performance oil, will still be produced and manufactured in the ARG refinery in Bradford, PA.


Penn Grade Motor Oil Named First-Ever Presenting Sponsor of the Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 – The historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29th added more history today with the race’s first presenting sponsor, PennGrade Motor Oil.

A brand of Lebanon, Indiana-based D-A Lubricant Company, PennGrade Motor Oil will serve as presenting sponsor through a multi-year deal running through 2018.

“This historic announcement is welcome news for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and generates even more momentum for the entire Verizon IndyCar Series,” Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles said. “PennGrade Motor Oil, with its deep understanding of the heritage and tradition that fuels the Indy 500, is the perfect presenting sponsor for the world’s greatest race.”
“We’re thrilled that PennGrade Motor Oil is joining us, not only for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 but for more Indy 500s going forward,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles said. “My grandmother worked for D-A Lubricant so I’m well-versed in the company’s history and I know our fans will appreciate the Hoosier connection as well.”

D-A Lubricant sponsored entries in the “500” from 1955-58, with a high finish of sixth in 1956 with driver Bob Sweikert. D-A-sponsored cars also ran in the USAC Championship series during that time, winning once in 1957 and four times in 1958. Last year, the company was a major associate sponsor of Graham Rahal’s Dallara-Honda in the Verizon IndyCar Series and will continue on as a team sponsor in the future.
The company recently acquired Brad Penn, a manufacturer of a product called PennGrade 1, well-known to grassroots racers and muscle-car enthusiasts for its effectiveness in high-performance engines. As part of the acquisition, D-A Lubricant is launching a new consumer brand called PennGrade Motor Oil, which is available online now and will eventually be launched as a full-scale consumer retail product.

“I can’t think of a more powerful vehicle to help us launch our brand PennGrade Motor Oil than the Indianapolis 500,” D-A Lubricant Company President Gisela Miller said. “The eyes of the world will be on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May as they are every year, and I couldn’t be more excited to have our company sharing that spotlight.”    
“There’s no better way for us to debut PennGrade Motor Oil than by partnering with the world’s largest single-day sporting event,” D-A Lubricant Company Chairman and CEO Mike Protogere said. “The Indianapolis 500 has stood for automotive innovation since 1911 and we’re thrilled to add an exciting new chapter to that heritage with our product.”

The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil will be a once-in-a-generation celebration of speed, progress and the pursuit of glory. Helio Castroneves will try for his fourth Indy 500 title, a hallowed record shared by A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. Defending champion Juan Pablo Montoya chases a third win, while past champions Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan will seek to further cement their status among “500” greats. Competing against these racing icons is a new generation of exciting drivers including Graham Rahal, Josef Newgarden and Gabby Chaves.
The Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil is the world’s largest single-day sporting event and is syndicated globally in 147 countries. The 99th Running generated more than 2.8 billion social media impressions. TV ratings for last year’s race – and the entire Verizon IndyCar Series – experienced significant year to year growth. For more information on the race and series, go to and

DSM Vendors That Carry Brad Penn, Penn 1 High Performance Oil

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  • Street Tuned Motorsports
  • Jay Racing
  • And more (will add more when verified)

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