Roger Penske, who rose from a rank-and-file SCCA weekend racer to become one of American auto racing’s powerhouse team entrants, tonight was presented with the Road Racing Drivers Club’s annual Phil Hill Award at the RRDC dinner held in Daytona USA.
Penske was honored for his “outstanding service to road racing,” by RRDC President Bobby Rahal, co-winner of the 1981 Rolex 24 At Daytona, and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner.
Phil Hill, in 1961, became the first American to win the Formula 1 World Championship. Among his international wins is the 1964 Daytona 2000Km race, precursor to the Rolex 24.
“Roger was the first to understand how to build a focused team, and his success in every form of auto racing he’s attempted proves he did it the right way. Running Penske Racing should have been enough for any one man, but Roger turned his surname into a corporate powerhouse of car and truck dealerships and other enterprises.
“The Phil Hill Award,” Rahal added, “is a tribute to Roger’s impact on and service to road racing. Consider Penske Racing’s successful record, from the SCCA Trans-Am Championship that began in 1967 to the LMP2 class championship in 2007’s American Le Mans Series. To win 21 national season championships in all forms of racing, 14 Indy 500 wins, and 293 major racing wins in 37 years is phenomenal.”
Penske joins the Grand-American Road Racing Assn. this weekend with co-ownership of the Penske-Taylor Pontiac-Riley in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Penske’s own sports car racing career began in 1958 at Marlboro, Md., and ended in 1965 when he retired as a driver – but not before being named Sports Illustrated’s “Driver of the Year” and becoming an SCCA National Champion – and formed Penske Racing around the talents of the late Mark Donohue, to compete in the SCCA Trans-Am series.
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