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Roger Searle Penske (born February 20, 1937) is an American businessman and entrepreneur involved in professional auto racing and formerly a professional auto racing driver himself. He is most famous for his ownership of Team Penske, DJR Team Penske, the Penske Corporation, and other automotive-related businesses.

Roger Penske
Roger S. Penske (2019).jpg
Roger S. Penske in front in the pits during the Indycar Long Beach Grand Prix 2019
Born (1937-02-20) February 20, 1937 (age 82)
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

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".[1] In addition, Penske serves as a race strategist for his IndyCar team, currently for driver Will Power.[2]

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.[3]

On June 20, 2019, President Donald Trump announced Penske would be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Early life and educationEdit

Penske was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio in 1937.[4] His father, Jay, was a successful corporate executive for a metal fabrication company and encouraged his son to become an entrepreneur.[5] As a teenager he bought older cars, repaired them and sold them at a profit from his family's home in Cleveland, Ohio.[6] Penske is a 1959 graduate of Lehigh University.[7]

Racing careerEdit

Starting in the late 1950s, 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, Pennsylvania.[8]

Racing teamsEdit

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

Penske Racing debuted in 1966 at the 24 Hours of Daytona,[9] 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 Hélio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, 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).

Penske won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with driver Brad Keselowski on November 18, 2012.[10]

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.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

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 activitiesEdit

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.[12] Penske was discussed as a potential candidate for Mayor of Detroit, but he declined to run.[13]

In 2016 a "Draft Roger Penske for US Senate (Michigan)" movement began.[14]

Penske CorporationEdit

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; and Penske Motor Group which has dealerships in California and Texas.

Racing awardsEdit

Motorsports career resultsEdit

SCCA National Championship RunoffsEdit

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 resultsEdit


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. ^ "IndyCar: Without Hélio, Team Penske moves on". Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  3. ^ Roger Penske - Forbes,
  4. ^ "2009 Kronk Gym Foundation Honorees: Roger Penske" (PDF). Kronk Gym Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 27, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  5. ^ "Roger Penske Sports Biography, Photos & Rise To Success". February 20, 1937. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  6. ^ "Gale Encyclopedia of Biography: Roger Penske". Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  7. ^ "Roger Penske". Forbes. August 10, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "#382 Roger Penske". Forbes. 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  9. ^ Team Penske - Year by Year Highlights, Retrieved January 8, 2015
  10. ^ "Brad Keselowski clinches first Cup title after Johnson exits". USA TODAY. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  11. ^ "Joey Logano wins 2018 Monster Energy Series title |". Official Site Of NASCAR. November 18, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  12. ^ Lane, Amy (October 28, 2012). "Penske drives to the lead of super PAC list". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  13. ^ Welch, William M. (August 20, 2011). "Time to draft Roger Penske for president?". USA Today. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  14. ^ JLenardDetroit. "Draft Roger Penske for USSenate (Michigan) | RedState". RedState. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  15. ^ 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
  16. ^ "Roger Penske". Hall of Fame Inductees. Automotive Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  17. ^ "2018 Spirit of Competition Award". Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  18. ^ Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 284. ISBN 0851127029.

External linksEdit