The most renowned name in American motorsports, Roger Penske, will be leading the track at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 later this month as this year’s celebrity pace car driver. The big race marks the intersection of two career milestones for Penske as he celebrates his 50th anniversary as the most acclaimed race team owner in history. Penske describes the upcoming landmark race in an interview with USA Today saying,
“It’s going to take a long time before they get to the 200th so this is pretty special, and to combine that with our 50th year in racing and the success we’ve had … we’ll be going for our 17th which, to me, is outstanding,” he said. “To know the team we have going into this year’s race and the success we’ve had, I feel real good about our chances, but this is a race anybody can win.”
In a half century of race team ownership, Penske made a seamless transition from driver to owner, while simultaneously building his automotive empire. He has accumulated 16 Indianapolis 500 victories, establishing himself as person with the most wins in the race’s history, as well as acquiring 2 Daytona 500 victories and 27 national championships.
Penske attended his very first Indy 500 with his father in 1951 and began his racing career ten years later. He claimed three consecutive national events in his rookie season, securing a Sports Club of America championship and earning the title of Sports Illustrated’s Sport Car Driver of the Year. In the next three years, he went on to win an impressive eight additional races. Shortly after, Penske climbed out of the cockpit and into the business arena, starting his legendary racing team, Team Penske, just a year later. Over the next 50 years, under his stewardship, Team Penske evolved into the benchmark of racing excellence seen today.
As Penske steps back into the cockpit once again in the 100th installment of the Indy 500, he will be leading the track to the green flag behind the wheel of a unique version of the recently revealed 2017 Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition in Albacore White and packing 455-horsepower. This will be the 27th time a Chevy car paces the track and the ninth time a Camaro is featured as an Indy 500 pace car.