Roger Penske was presented the 2012 Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the auto industry. Doing the awarding honours were General Motors North America President Mark Reuss and Keith Crain, chairman of Crain Communications Inc., publisher of Automotive News.
Penske, 74, is the founder and chairman of Penske Corp., whose units include Penske Automotive Group, the second-largest U.S. auto retailer, and Penske Performance, which operates the success-ridden racing team Penske Racing. Penske’s penchant for racing began while a teenager, garnering several high-profile victories until his retirement in 1965.
After his retirement, his love for racing pushed him to open his first auto dealership, which has now blossomed into a multi-billion corporation employing more than 35,000 people around the world. His love for racing also prompted him to establish Penske Racing, which won a record 15 times at the Indianapolis 500.
"There are very few people in this world that succeed at just about everything they touch, and Roger is one of those people," Crain said. Reuss, meanwhile, commended Penske for his can-do spirit. The GM North America chief said Penske was instrumental in bringing its Chevrolet brand back into IndyCar racing this year. Reuss also recognized Penske for the return of auto racing to Detroit's Belle Isle.
"He simply gets things done, and mostly importantly, gets them done right and with perfection," said Reuss, adding that it is the precision of execution that has made Penske a success and those around him a success. Previous awardees of the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award are Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., and safety activist Ralph Nader.