Roger Penske

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Roger Penske
Roger Penske - Carb Day 2015 - Stierch 1.jpg
Penske at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Carb Day for the 2015 Indianapolis 500
Born (1937-02-20) February 20, 1937 (age 80)
Shaker Heights, Ohio, US
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United States American
Active years 19611962
Teams Non-works Cooper and Lotus
Entries 2
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1961 United States Grand Prix
Last entry 1962 United States Grand Prix
1994 Indy 500 winning Penske PC23 driven by Al Unser, Jr
Penske in 2005

Roger S. Penske (born February 20, 1937) is an American entrepreneur who has been involved in professional racing. He is most noted as the owner of the auto racing team Team Penske, the Penske Corporation, and other automotive-related businesses.

Penske has the most victories as an owner in the Indianapolis 500 with 16 owner victories. He was named 1961's Sports Car Club of America Driver of the Year by Sports Illustrated. After retiring from driving a few years later, he created one of the most successful teams in IndyCar Series and NASCAR racing. He is also known by his nickname of "The Captain".[1]

Penske is one of the corporate directors 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 $1.95 billion as of September 2015.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio,[3] Penske's father was a corporate executive for a metal fabrication company and encouraged his son to become an entrepreneur.[4] As a teenager he bought older cars, repaired them and sold them at a profit from his family's home in Cleveland, Ohio. In 10 years, Penske raced and sold about 32 cars.[5] He is a 1959 graduate of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, where he was also a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.[citation needed]

Racing career[edit]

Starting in 1958, Penske purchased, raced and sold race cars, and was successful both financially and on the track. 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).[citation needed] 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 continued racing until 1965, when he retired as a driver, to concentrate on his first Chevrolet dealership in Philadelphia, PA.

Racing teams[edit]

Penske Racing debuted in 1966 at the 24 Hours of Daytona,[6] 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. In 1982, he became the Chairman of the Penske Truck Leasing business.

Penske Racing now operates a NASCAR team with drivers Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano. It also operates an IndyCar Series team composed of Hélio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power. 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.

For 2009, Penske has suspended his participation in the ALMS, switching to ALMS's rival Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series for the full season. They are using a Porsche-powered Riley with Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas driving.

Penske recently[when?] purchased the old Matsushita air conditioning plant in Mooresville, NC and reconditioned it to consolidate his racing empire. 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.[citation needed]

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

In September 2013, Penske's Cup Series team was the center of controversy when driver Joey Logano made the Chase for the Cup. Radio communications showed everybody that Penske's team had tried to manipulate the finish of the Federated Auto Parts 400 like Michael Waltrip Racing did to help Logano earn his spot in the Chase. Penske's team was put on indefinite probation for their antics. Penske denies the allegations to this day.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

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

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

Political activities[edit]

Penske Racing donated $500,000 to Restore Our Future, Mitt Romney's Super PAC.[7] Penske was discussed as a potential candidate for Mayor of Detroit, but he declined to run.[8]

In 2016 a "Draft Roger Penske for US Senate (Michigan)" movement began.[9]

Penske Automotive Group[edit]

While CEO of Penske Automotive Group in 2008, Penske earned a total compensation of $2,706,388, which included a base salary of $1,000,000, no cash bonus, stocks granted of $1,680,005, and no options granted.[10] He was involved in an attempt to purchase the Saturn Corporation, makers of Saturn cars. On September 30, 2009, his Penske Automotive Group announced the deal to purchase Saturn had fallen through.

Racing awards[edit]

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


  1. ^ James, Brant (March 4, 2013). "Long-Range Vision". Autoweek. 63 (5): 54–60. 
  2. ^ Roger Penske - Forbes, Accessed 21 September 2015.
  3. ^ "2009 Kronk Gym Foundation Honorees: Roger Penske" (PDF). Kronk Gym Foundation. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  4. ^ "Roger Penske Sports Biography, Photos & Rise To Success". 1937-02-20. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  5. ^ "Gale Encyclopedia of Biography: Roger Penske". Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  6. ^ Team Penske - Year by Year Highlights, Retrieved 8 January 2015
  7. ^ Lane, Amy (28 October 2012). "Penske drives to the lead of super PAC list". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Welch, William M. (20 August 2011). "Time to draft Roger Penske for president?". USA Today. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  9. ^ JLenardDetroit. "Draft Roger Penske for USSenate (Michigan) | RedState". RedState. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  10. ^ 2008 CEO Compensation for Roger S. Penske,
  11. ^ 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 
  12. ^ "Roger Penske". Hall of Fame Inductees. Automotive Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 5, 2016. 
  13. ^ Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 284. ISBN 0851127029. 

External links[edit]