Roger Penske

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Roger Penske
Roger S. Penske (2019).jpg
Penske in front in the pits during the IndyCar Long Beach Grand Prix 2019
BornRoger Searle Penske
(1937-02-20) February 20, 1937 (age 85)
Shaker Heights, Ohio, U.S.
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityUnited States American
Active years19611962
TeamsNon-works Cooper and Lotus
Career points0
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First entry1961 United States Grand Prix
Last entry1962 United States Grand Prix
1994 Indy 500 winning Penske PC23 driven by Al Unser Jr
Penske in 2005

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.[1] 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".[2] In addition, Penske also served as a race strategist for his IndyCar team, most recently for driver Will Power.[3] In 2019, Penske purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and NTT IndyCar Series from Hulman & Company for an undisclosed sum.

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.[4]

Penske was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019 by President Donald Trump.

Early life and education[edit]

Penske was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio in 1937.[5] His father, Jay, was a successful corporate executive for a metal fabrication company and encouraged his son to become an entrepreneur.[6] As a teenager he bought older cars, repaired them and sold them at a profit from his family's home in Cleveland, Ohio.[7] 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.[8]

Racing career[edit]

Penske's first racing venture was in hillclimbing, but then ran road course racing in Porsches.[9] 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 with the Dean Van Lines team,[10] but turned it down for business reasons. Rookie Mario Andretti stepped in for Penske to take that test.

Penske continued racing until 1965, when he retired as a driver, to concentrate on his first Chevrolet dealership in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[11]

Racing teams[edit]

Penske Racing debuted in 1966 at the 24 Hours of Daytona,[12] 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, Scott McLaughlin, and Will Power, and a NASCAR team with drivers Austin Cindric, 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, Helio Castroneves 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.

Roger Penske was inaugurated into the Wall of Fame at Sonoma Raceway in 2015

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).

Penske won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with driver Brad Keselowski on November 18, 2012.[13]

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.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Penske receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump in 2019

Penske has five children, two with first wife Lissa and three with second wife Kathy: Roger Jr, Gregory, Blair, Mark, and Jay Penske.

An avid car collector, he owns many rare American and European automobiles, including a Ferrari FXX, of which only 30 were made.

Political activities[edit]

Penske (right) with President Donald Trump (center) and Joey Logano (left) on the White House south lawn in 2019

Penske Racing donated $500,000 to Restore Our Future, Mitt Romney's Super PAC.[15] He was discussed as a potential candidate for Mayor of Detroit, but he declined to run.[16] Penske endorsed Donald Trump in the 2020 United States presidential election.[17]

Penske Corporation[edit]

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.[18]

Awards and honors[edit]

Auto racing

Halls of Fame



Motorsports career results[edit]

SCCA National Championship Runoffs[edit]

Year Class Car Position
1960 F Modified Porsche RSK 1
1961 D Modified Maserati/Cooper 1
1962 D Modified Cooper Monaco 1
1963 D Modified Zerex Special 1

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 WDC Points
1961 John M Wyatt III Cooper T53 Climax Straight-4 MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER ITA USA
NC 0
1962 Dupont Team Zerex Lotus 24 Climax V8 NED MON BEL FRA GBR GER ITA USA

24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
1963 United States North American Racing Team Mexico Pedro Rodríguez Ferrari 330 TRI/LM P +3.0 113 DNF DNF



  1. ^ "Penshe Drives at Bridgehampton". The Journal News. May 21, 1962. Retrieved July 23, 2020 – via
  2. ^ James, Brant (March 4, 2013). "Long-Range Vision". Autoweek. 63 (5): 54–60.
  3. ^ "IndyCar: Without Hélio, Team Penske moves on". February 11, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  4. ^ Roger Penske - Forbes,
  5. ^ "2009 Kronk Gym Foundation Honorees: Roger Penske" (PDF). Kronk Gym Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 27, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  6. ^ "Roger Penske Sports Biography, Photos & Rise To Success". February 20, 1937. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  7. ^ "Gale Encyclopedia of Biography: Roger Penske". Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  8. ^ "Roger Penske". Forbes. August 10, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  9. ^ "293 - Roger Penske: The Captain". iHeartRadio. Dirty Mo Media. April 13, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  10. ^ "INSIGHT: The Penske/Porsche link spans more than 60 years". Racer. October 21, 2022. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
  11. ^ "#382 Roger Penske". Forbes. 2017. Archived from the original on May 19, 2006. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  12. ^ "Year-by-Year Highlights: 1965 - 2018". Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  13. ^ "Brad Keselowski clinches first Cup title after Johnson exits". USA Today. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  14. ^ "Joey Logano wins 2018 Monster Energy Series title". Official Site Of NASCAR. November 18, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  15. ^ Lane, Amy (October 28, 2012). "Penske drives to the lead of super PAC list". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  16. ^ Welch, William M. (August 20, 2011). "Time to draft Roger Penske for president?". USA Today. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  17. ^ Ziegler, Sara (October 28, 2020). "Inside The Political Donation History Of Wealthy Sports Owners". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  18. ^ "Roger Penske buys Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar Series from Hulman family". CBS Sports. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g Roger Penske Drive
  20. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  21. ^ "2018 Spirit of Competition Award". Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  22. ^ Roger Penske at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ "Roger Penske". Hall of Fame Inductees. Automotive Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  25. ^ Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 284. ISBN 0851127029.

External links[edit]