Roger S. Penske in front in the pits during the Indycar Long Beach Grand Prix 2019
|Born||Roger Searle Penske|
February 20, 1937
Shaker Heights, Ohio, U.S.
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Teams||Non-works Cooper and Lotus|
|First entry||1961 United States Grand Prix|
|Last entry||1962 United States Grand Prix|
Roger Searle Penske (born February 20, 1937) is an American businessman and entrepreneur involved in professional auto racing and a retired professional auto racing driver. He is most famous for his ownership of Team Penske, DJR Team Penske, the Penske Corporation, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar, and other automotive-related businesses.
Sports Illustrated named him Sports Car Club of America Driver of the Year in 1961. After retiring from driving a few years later, he created one of the most successful teams in IndyCar Series and NASCAR racing. He is the most successful owner in the Indianapolis 500 with 18 victories. He is known by his nickname of "The Captain". In addition, Penske serves as a race strategist for his IndyCar team, currently for driver Will Power.
Penske is a corporate director at General Electric and was chairman of Super Bowl XL in Detroit, Michigan. He was previously on the board of The Home Depot and Delphi Automotive before resigning to chair the Detroit Super Bowl Committee. He has an estimated net worth of $1.83 billion as of 2018.
Penske was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019.
Early life and education
Penske was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio in 1937. His father, Jay, was a successful corporate executive for a metal fabrication company and encouraged his son to become an entrepreneur. As a teenager he bought older cars, repaired them and sold them at a profit from his family's home in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from Shaker Heights High in 1955, and is a 1959 graduate of Lehigh University, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta.
Penske's first racing venture was in hillclimbing, but then ran road course racing in Porsches. Penske made his first professional racing start at the now-abandoned Marlboro Motor Raceway in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
By 1960, he was a well-known race car driver (Sports Illustrated SCCA Driver of the Year). He competed in two Formula One Grands Prix, and won a NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model race at Riverside in 1963. He never ran the Indianapolis 500: he was offered a rookie test at Indianapolis, but turned it down for business reasons; rookie Mario Andretti stepped in for Penske to take that test.
Penske Racing debuted in 1966 at the 24 Hours of Daytona, after Penske had retired from race driving. His team first competed in the Indianapolis 500 in 1969, winning that event in 1972 with driver Mark Donohue, and their first NASCAR win was in 1973. His teams have won many races in the subsequent years. He closed his European-based Formula One business in 1977.
Penske Racing now operates an IndyCar Series team composed of Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, as well as Hélio Castroneves on an Indy only basis, and a NASCAR team with drivers Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney. Previously, Penske Racing ran cars in the CART series that included some of the best drivers of the time, including Gary Bettenhausen, Tom Sneva, Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Al Unser, Al Unser, Jr., Emerson Fittipaldi, Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan, Paul Tracy and Gil de Ferran. After many years of trying, his team won the Daytona 500 in 2008 with Ryan Newman driving. Penske, would later win another Daytona 500 in 2015 with Logano behind the wheel.
In 2005, Porsche set the stage to make a comeback in sports car racing in the United States and chose Penske Racing to run in the LMP2 class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The Penske Porsches took center stage in 2006, winning immediately, including victories at Mid-Ohio finishing 1-2 ahead of Audi (competing in a higher classification) and the annual Petit Le Mans, a 10-hour showcase event held at Road Atlanta. His team scored an overall victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2008.
Penske also ran a Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype in the 2008 Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Kurt Busch, Ryan Briscoe, and Hélio Castroneves driving. The car was run in conjunction with Wayne Taylor's SunTrust Racing. They finished third overall.
In 2009, Penske suspended his participation in the ALMS, switching to ALMS's rival Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series for the full season. They used a Porsche-powered Riley with Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas driving.
Penske purchased the old Matsushita air conditioning plant in Mooresville, NC and reconditioned it to consolidate his racing business. All of Penske's racing operations are under one roof, with his IndyCar, NASCAR, and American Le Mans Series (through 2009) teams sharing over 424,000 square feet (39,400 m2) of space encompassing 105 acres (42 ha).
In late 2014, it was announced Penske would take a 51% stake in Australian V8 Supercars team Dick Johnson Racing, forming DJR Team Penske. The team entered one car in 2015, initially for Marcos Ambrose before he stepped aside to make way for Scott Pye. The team expanded to a second car for New Zealander Fabian Coulthard in 2016, before Pye was replaced with another Kiwi in Scott McLaughlin in 2017. Coulthard won the combined team's first championship race at the 2017 Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint. In 2019 the team won the biggest race of the year, the Bathurst 1000.
On September 16, 2018, driver Brad Keselowski won the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, giving Roger Penske his 500th race victory as an owner across all racing series. Later the same season, Joey Logano would clinch the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, winning Penske his 2nd Championship in the Cup series.
An avid car collector, he owns many rare American and European automobiles, including a Ferrari FXX, of which only 30 were made.
Penske is chairman of Penske Corporation, based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Some of the company's holdings include Penske Automotive Group, an international company that operates automobile dealerships in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe; Penske Truck Leasing, a truck sales, leasing, and fleet maintenance company; Penske Motor Group which has dealerships in California and Texas. On November 4, 2019 Penske purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5-mile course in Speedway, Indiana, the Indianapolis 500-mile race and IndyCar from the Hulman Family for an undisclosed amount.
Honors and Awards
- 1995 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee
- 1998 International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee
- 2002 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame inductee
- 2015 Automotive Hall of Fame inductee at a Renaissance Center gala in the City of Detroit, Michigan.
- Simeone Foundation Spirit of Competition Award recipient
- Two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion (as owner - 2012, 2018)
- Five-time IndyCar Series Champion (as owner - 2006, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019)
- 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee
- 2019 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
- Street renamed "Roger Penske Drive" in Santa Ana, California
Motorsports career results
SCCA National Championship Runoffs
|1960||F Modified||Porsche RSK||1|
|1962||D Modified||Cooper Monaco||1|
|1963||D Modified||Zerex Special||1|
Complete Formula One World Championship results
|1961||John M Wyatt III||Cooper T53||Climax Straight-4||MON||NED||BEL||FRA||GBR||GER||ITA||USA
|1962||Dupont Team Zerex||Lotus 24||Climax V8||NED||MON||BEL||FRA||GBR||GER||ITA||USA
- Penske Corporation
- Penske Racing
- Roger Penske owner statistics at Racing-Reference
- Roger Penske driver statistics at Racing-Reference
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- Roger Penske - Forbes, Forbes.com.
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- "Year-by-Year Highlights: 1965 - 2018". www.teampenske.com. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
- "Brad Keselowski clinches first Cup title after Johnson exits". USA Today. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
- "Joey Logano wins 2018 Monster Energy Series title". Official Site Of NASCAR. November 18, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
- Lane, Amy (October 28, 2012). "Penske drives to the lead of super PAC list". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Welch, William M. (August 20, 2011). "Time to draft Roger Penske for president?". USA Today. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- "Roger Penske buys Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar Series from Hulman family". CBS Sports. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
- Roger Penske at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
- Roger Penske Drive
- Brudenell, Mike (July 23, 2015). "Penske credits humble beginnings on Automotive HOF night". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
Local racing mogul honored in ceremony
- "Roger Penske". Hall of Fame Inductees. Automotive Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
- "2018 Spirit of Competition Award". www.simeonemuseum.org. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
- Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 284. ISBN 0851127029.