Current and Former Team Penske Drivers Share Their Thoughts on the Honor
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 23, 2018) – Today it was announced that Roger Penske, Founder and Chairman of Penske Corporation and Team Penske, was elected as a part of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced 489 major race wins, 556 pole positions and 32 Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. Over the course of its 52-year history, the team has earned 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, a Formula 1 win and overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Throughout its NASCAR history, Team Penske captured the NASCAR Cup Series Championship in 2012, the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship in 2010 and four of the last five NASCAR XFINITY Series Owners’ Championships (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017). The organization has produced 108 Cup Series victories, including two Daytona 500 wins (2008, 2015) and 65 XFINITY Series triumphs. In addition, Penske helped build and/or operate several successful racetracks in the sport, including Michigan International Speedway, Auto Club (then California) Speedway, Nazareth Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and North Carolina Motor Speedway.
Several current and former Team Penske drivers shared their thoughts on the Hall of Fame honor announced today for Penske (listed are their accomplishments with Team Penske):
Rusty Wallace (Third-winningest Team Penske driver, 37 NASCAR Cup Series wins)
“I don’t know of anyone that has accomplished as much across all levels of motorsports as Roger Penske. I don’t know of anyone in motorsports that is as respected among all levels of racing and business as Roger. He’s my personal mentor and my personal hero. He has helped me immeasurably, both in racing and in business. I can’t say enough about Roger; he’s just an all-around fantastic person.
“He’s one of those guys that just commands respect. Not just because of all of his success, but because he really cares about people. Everyone wants to please Roger because he does so much to help everyone else and he just has that desire to win. Winning is contagious around Roger.
“I’m happy to call Roger Penske one of my best friends. We’ve won a lot of races together and we’ve had a lot of success both on and off the racetrack. In my opinion, Roger is one of the most deserving individuals and I’m thrilled that he’s going to join us in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”
Rick Mears (Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, three-time INDYCAR Champion, 29 INDYCAR wins)
“It’s been an incredible relationship between myself and Roger since day one. Roger never pressured me from the moment I met him. There was never a time he came and said ‘you need to do this.’ He always let me do things at my pace. He never pressured me to be a great driver up front. He let me learn at my pace. And that is the type of person Roger Penske is.
“This is an incredible honor for someone who has been such a big part of my life, and the lives of so many within the racing industry. It’s not always about race wins and championships, but the type of influence you are able to have on people. Roger has always prided himself on his people. He will be the first to tell you he would never be where he is now without the people he had around him. And that humility and humbleness is what makes him a great leader. I am really excited for him and for this honor. To be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame is something that is so deserving of so many people, but very few are more deserving for what they have done for the sport and for so many people within the sport than Roger Penske.”
Sam Hornish Jr. (2006 Indianapolis 500 Champion, 2006 INDYCAR Champion, 3 NASCAR XFINITY Series wins)
“For me, driving for Roger Penske was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. You know he’s going to give you the tools to win and you want to hold up your end of the bargain. There’s a great amount of desire that takes place for someone to be a NASCAR team owner and it takes an even larger commitment of the most precious resource: time. There shouldn’t be a Hall of Fame that doesn’t have him in it and it’s without question that he should be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”
Brad Keselowski (2012 NASCAR Cup Champion, 2010 NASCAR XFINITY Champion, 54 total NASCAR wins)
“Roger’s contributions as a car owner combined with his contributions as a track owner put him in an elite category. There are many car owners who have won races in the series and a lot of car owners who’ve won championships, which he’s done, but what he was able to do for the sport, professionally from a sponsorship and track perspective, really put him in a unique category to me. When you drive for Roger Penske, you are driving for someone that has raised the bar and challenges you to do the same. You just learn a level of professionalism that he’s brought to everything he touches.”
Joey Logano (2015 Daytona 500 Champion, 18 NASCAR Cup wins, 11 NASCAR XFINITY wins)
“It’s an amazing accomplishment to be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It’s one of, if not the biggest thing you can do in our sport. The reasons why Roger is in there are very much deserving, not only from the competition side, but also as a track owner and the way he’s helped build our sport into what it is. I think a lot of that is hidden; a lot of people don’t know Roger was a driver or that he saved Michigan International Speedway from bankruptcy and built Auto Club Speedway. His success across the board in all forms of motorsports is incredible. It’s always been an honor for me to race for him and to be part of the amazing legacy he’s created for himself.”
Ryan Blaney (NASCAR Cup Series driver, 7 NASCAR XFINITY wins)
“Roger has been a tremendous influence not only in my racing career, but for the motorsports industry worldwide. The Penske name has become a symbol of success on and off the racetrack. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor. Without his leadership and knowledge, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Josef Newgarden (2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion, current series point leader)
“Congrats to Roger on this achievement. He is a legend in so many aspects of motorsports, so it is only natural for him to receive this kind of recognition in NASCAR as well. It has always been a team effort for Roger and that has spread across all of his motorsports platforms. For me, it is fun to keep up with what the NASCAR teams are doing. I have always been a fan of that style of racing so it is great to see Roger get recognized for all the time and energy he has put into that part of Team Penske.”
Simon Pagenaud (2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion, 7 IndyCar Series wins)
“Congratulations to Roger on such a great honor. I don’t know if he fully understands everything he has done for our sport of auto racing. All of us drivers can’t thank him enough for being such an incredible man for motorsports, for the history that he’s built and the empire around racing that is Team Penske. Thank you Roger for everything you’ve done and what an honor.”
Will Power (2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion, 30 IndyCar Series wins)
“Congratulations to Roger for his election into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It’s a very deserving honor for someone who has meant so much for motorsports and for me personally in my career. His accomplishments in NASCAR are certainly impressive and there’s no question that he’s established a legacy there from his time as a driver to owning and managing successful racetracks to all the production on the track as a team owner. I feel so privileged to drive for Roger and for Team Penske. He represents everything that you think about when you consider a Hall of Famer.”
Helio Castroneves (Longest-tenured Team Penske driver, 32 total wins, 53 total poles)
“If there was ever a person that deserved to be inducted into any racing Hall of Fame it would be Roger Penske. He deserves it not only for what he has done in motorsports but also for the person he is. He is a leader for all of us and someone I have always admired throughout my career. Congratulations, Roger, on your induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It has been such an honor to drive for you during my career. I hope to give you many more race wins in the future.”
Ricky Taylor (Acura Team Penske driver, 50th different driver to win for Team Penske)
“As a driver, my whole career has been looking up to the organization Roger Penske built and the success Team Penske has enjoyed. I think that is something everyone aspires to in any business or in any form of motorsports. As a driver, I am just thrilled to be able to learn from everything he has done and accomplished I think this is something that everyone agrees is well-deserved. I could go on and on, but I think the respect he has from drivers, teams and fans all over the world sums it up the best.”
Juan Pablo Montoya (2015 Indianapolis 500 Champion, Acura Team Penske driver)
“I think Roger’s election into the NASCAR Hall of Fame is something that people expect. Everything that Roger has done, not only in NASCAR, but in racing in general has been amazing. He has been an enormous influence in motorsports all over the world. For me personally I just want to give him a huge congratulations on this honor. I am very proud to be a part of this organization and everything Roger and the team stands for.”
Dane Cameron (Acura Team Penske driver)
“What an honor to become a part of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. That is obviously another amazing achievement in an impressive tenure in all of motorsports. Roger has set a very high bar and has always done things his way, which is with professionalism and integrity. This is certainly a cherry on the top of a storied career in motorsports and another accolade. I have always admired the hard work he has put into all the racing series at Team Penske and to see him get his NASCAR Cup Series Championship and Daytona 500 wins was fantastic. No one has done it like Roger all across the board.”
Scott McLaughlin (DJR Team Penske Australian Supercars driver, 13 Supercars wins, 23 Supercars poles)
“A massive congratulations to Roger on being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I have been a huge NASCAR fan from afar in Australia for many years, and even before I drove for Mr. Penske the level of professionalism, sportsmanship and love of NASCAR within Team Penske was clearly visible. I am now very fortunate to see all this first hand, and my views have been confirmed. RP is a very deserving inductee and I am excited and privileged to call him my boss.”
Fabian Coulthard (DJR Team Penske Australian Supercars driver, 5 Supercars wins)
“I’ve been fortunate enough to drive for Roger for the last three years. At the start, we were mid-pack, but we grew together as a team into race winners, championship contenders and eventually Team Champions. It shows the dedication, commitment and willingness to succeed that Roger instills in his people. To see Roger inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame reflects this. His attention to detail, professionalism and passion for the sport is something you do not often see. Congratulations to him in becoming an inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It’s fantastic to see him being acknowledged for all of his contributions.”