The Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) will honor racing icon Roger Penske at its third annual West Coast banquet prior to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, on Thursday, April 14, 2011. The RRDC Evening with Roger Penske will be presented by Firestone.
The “Captain” has been racing and winning in the United States since 1958 and has scored victories in every series in which he has competed. With 23 national championships, including 12 in IndyCar racing, Penske Racing has been referred to as the “New York Yankees of motorsports.”
Penske’s formative years in the sport, which include the 1960-1972 period, will form the the primary focus of the dinner’s program.
He retired in 1965 as one of America’s most successful young road racers to focus on building his business empire, which began in Philadelphia, where he owned a Chevrolet dealership. Since then, the Penske Corporation, which includes Penske Racing, has become a multi-billion-dollar industry, employing more than 36,000 people in more than 1,800 facilities throughout the world.
His reputation as a meticulous and tireless racing team manager is legendary. Once retired as a driver, he immediately fielded race cars in endurance events in 1966, then joined with Mark Donohue to compete in the USRRC, Can-Am and Trans-Am series, winning two USRRC crowns, two Can-Am championships and three SCCA Trans-Am titles.
In 1968 Penske and Donohue made their debut in IndyCar racing, winning the 1972 Indy 500 and embarking on a string of successes for Penske Racing with a number of drivers, which includes 153 victories (15 Indy 500s), 196 poles and 12 National Championships. Penske Racing has also competed in Formula 1, continues to field teams in NASCAR and claimed the American LeMans Series LMP2 championship three consecutive years.
“There is no one in this sport who’s better known for his high standards of car preparation, presentation and development than Roger Penske,” said RRDC president Bobby Rahal. “He set the bar high early on for his competitors, and many are still trying to reach those heights. We are privileged to honor the ‘Captain’ at the RRDC’s Evening with Roger Penske in Long Beach.”
The dinner’s proceeds will help support the Team USA Scholarship, which the RRDC has backed since 1997. Previous banquets have honored Dan Gurney and Parnelli Jones, drawing fans and luminaries from all forms of motorsports.
The RRDC Evening with Roger Penske will be held at the Hilton Hotel, 701 West Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, Calif., with cocktails at 6 p.m., and dinner at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $150 per person, if purchased in advance, and space is limited. Tables for eight are also available at $1,200 each. This event is expected to sell out quickly. Early reservations are recommended at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information on the Road Racing Drivers Club may be found at www.rrdc.org.
[Source: RRDC; photo credit: Autosports Marketing Assoc.]