It was announced on May 23rd 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.
The Class of 2019 was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, including representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders, a nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.com and, for the fifth year, the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion (Martin Truex Jr.). In all, 57 votes were cast, with two additional Voting Panel members recused from voting as potential nominees for induction (Ricky Rudd and Waddell Wilson). The accounting firm of EY presided over the tabulation of the votes.
Results for the NASCAR.com Fan Vote, in alphabetical order, were Davey Allison, Buddy Baker, Harry Gant, Jeff Gordon and Alan Kulwicki.
The five inductees came from a group of 20 nominees that included, in addition to the five inductees chosen: Buddy Baker, Red Farmer, Ray Fox, Harry Gant, Joe Gibbs, John Holman, Harry Hyde, Bobby Labonte, Hershel McGriff, Ralph Moody, Larry Phillips, Ricky Rudd, Kirk Shelmerdine, Mike Stefanik and Waddell Wilson.
The Class of 2019 Induction Weekend is set for Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, through Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The official Induction Ceremony will take place on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. The Class of 2019 marks the 10th class and a total of 50 legends inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. To celebrate the momentous occasion, new events and special programs have been added throughout the extended weekend.
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):
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”