Few figures in international motorsport have made as a lot of an affect as Penske, 85, who receives the award that was created to recognise the handful of very particular people who haven’t solely contributed an enormous quantity to the game throughout an extended profession, however who may also go away an enduring legacy.
For some folks, Penske’s accomplishments in motorsport is obvious within the statistics. Crew Penske has scored 17 Indy automotive championships, 18 Indianapolis 500 victories, and a complete of 231 Indy automotive wins. Throughout the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Collection, Penske automobiles have amassed 10 championships, three Daytona 500 triumphs and 219 wins.
Crew Penske’s newest titles in each INDYCAR and NASCAR have are available in 2022, due to Will Energy and Joey Logano, respectively, and this was additionally the 12 months wherein the group pushed previous the staggering benchmark of 600 victories.
2022 NASCAR champion Joey Logano, Crew Penske Ford (left) and group proprietor Roger Penske
Photograph by: Barry Cantrell / NKP / Motorsport Images
Penske has received in just about each class into which he’s ventured. The group’s unique talisman, Mark Donohue, not solely scored Penske’s first Indy 500 win but in addition dominated Trans-Am and Can-Am.
John Watson helped guarantee Penske’s transient interval in System 1 yielded glory, whereas there have additionally been nice sportscar successes – the Daytona 24 Hours in 1969 with a Lola T70, LMP2-class wins and an general Sebring 12 Hours triumph with the Porsche RS Spyder, and most lately IMSA championships with Acura.
In Australia’s Supercars collection, Crew Penske, Dick Johnson Racing and Scott McLaughlin mixed to take a number of titles earlier than McLaughlin transitioned to INDYCAR, the place after only one season, he grew to become a winner.
This proves the depth of McLaughlin’s expertise but in addition exhibits that regardless of proudly owning each the INDYCAR SERIES and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 2020, Penske is a competitor who retains his group sharp and who nonetheless recognises prodigious potential.
In 2023, the revived sportscar arm of Penske companions with Porsche as soon as extra. Given the heritage of each marques, no-one could be shocked if a Porsche Penske Motorsport-run 963 is first previous the checkered flag at Le Mans or Daytona, or ultimately takes championship honors within the WEC or IMSA.
Roger Penske (proper) with Rick Mears
Photograph by: Motorsport Images
Rick Mears, who received 4 Indy 500s and three INDYCAR titles for Penske and as an adviser stays with the group 30 years after his retirement, is in awe of his boss.
“Other than speaking about drivers and racing, I normally keep quiet and simply take heed to Roger,” he says. “The larger stuff in regards to the sport itself, I’ll have opinions, however no matter I consider, he’s already considered… normally months or years earlier than it ever crossed my thoughts! That’s how far forward of the curve he at all times is, and I’m positive it’s the identical in his companies. That’s why Roger remains to be so profitable.”
The enduring Enzo Ferrari used to say crucial victory for his racing group was the subsequent one. It’s the identical for Penske. Crew president Tim Cindric, who joined the squad in 1999, says the size of his boss’s ambition struck arduous after his position as Helio Castroneves’ strategist introduced glory at Indy in 2001.
“I will always remember, in Victory Lane, the primary time we received collectively,” recalled Cindric. “I mentioned, ‘Wow, that is 11 for you, however it’s an enormous deal for me,’ and Roger says, ‘I need 20’. He put it in perspective proper then; that it simply wasn’t sufficient.”
That’s what makes Roger Penske so particular; his need to by no means accept all of the greatness that he and his group have achieved to this point. It’s all in regards to the subsequent problem, and that’s why he is the gold normal of American-based motorsports.
Roger Penske, Founding father of Crew Penske, at Porsche 963 testing in Daytona
Photograph by: Porsche