Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Auto Racing » Roger Penske Biography - Early Years, Professional Racer, Chronology, Team Owner, Series Co-founder And Track Owner

Roger Penske - Professional Racer

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Penske graduated from college in 1962, and went to work for the aluminum company Alcoa. He also abandoned his status as a semi-professional racer to turn professional. He bought a Cooper-Climax Formula One race car, which he converted into a two-seater sports car. He outfitted the car's chassis with a lightweight aluminum body, and named it the Zerex Special. He took the Special to earnings of $34,350 in 1962, which also earned him the title "Driver of the Year" in the New York Times. Penske entered the 1963 NASCAR Grand National Series in 1963, winning five races driving a Corvette Chaparral GS. In 1964, Penske set the motorsports world on fire. Competing at the Bahamas Speed Week, he drove a Corvette Grand Sport to win the Nassau Tourist Trophy. He then drove a Jim Hall Chaparral to defeat contenders Bruce McLaren, Dan Gurney, and A. J. Foyt for the Nassau Trophy. He retired from racing at this point, buying a Chevrolet dealership in Pennsylvania. He returned to racing briefly, entering the 1966 Sebring race in a Corvette Grand Sport.


1937 Born February 20 in Shaker Heights, Ohio
1958 Drives first official race in the SCCA National at Marlboro Motor Raceway, Maryland
1959 Wins first race at SCCA Regional at Lime Rock, Connecticut
1963 Wins NASCAR Grand National race
1964 Wins Nassau Trophy, Nassau Tourist Trophy, and Governor's Trophy
1965 Retires from race-car driving to run dealership in Philadelphia
1966 Launches Penske Racing; debuts as team owner at Sebring
1969 Penske Racing wins 24 Hours of Daytona
1972 Penske Racing wins first Indianapolis 500
1973 Team Penske wins first NASCAR race at Riverside, California
1974 Penske Racing enters Grand Prix Formula One racing
1975 Mark Donohue, Penske's driver, dies in crash during Formula One practice; Penske Racing wins both NASCAR races at Darlington
1976 Penske Racing wins Austrian Grand Prix with driver John Watson
1976 Penske abandons Formula One to focus on IndyCar racing
1979 Penske driver Rick Mears wins pole position for every ovaltrack in IndyCar racing as well as wins Indianapolis 500
1981 Penske driver Bobby Unser wins Indianapolis 500
1984 Mears wins second Indianapolis 500 of career, fourth for Penske Racing
1985 Penske driver Danny Sullivan wins team's fifth Indianapolis 500
1987 Al Unser wins Indianapolis 500 with car chassis taken from a hotel-lobby display
1988 Mears wins Penske Racing's seventh Indianapolis 500
1991 Mears becomes one of three drivers to win four Indianapolis 500s
1993 Penske driver Emerson Fittipaldi posts team's ninth Indianapolis 500 win
1994 Al Unser, Jr., wins pole position and wins Indianapolis 500; Penske drivers post top-three finishes in five races, win twelve of sixteen races, and earn ten pole positions
2001 de Ferran wins second CART FedEx Series Championship; Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and de Ferran post top-two finishes at Indianapolis 500; Penske announces this will belast year Penske Racing will compete in CART
2002 Racing in the Indy Racing League (IRL), Castroneves wins Penske Racing's twelfth Indianapolis 500
Roger Penske - Chronology [next] [back] Roger Penske - Early Years

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about 10 years ago

penske is the man,the myth! i followed penske racing since i was a kid,now 42 years old.he always has the best drivers?i will always watch his racing ,i wish i could go to see the Indianapolis 500 some day that is my dream and to meet his drivers Castroneves,and Hornish Jr.I have great respect for Roger penske.He made racing what is today ,hats off to him and all his team.Go penske!