Roger Penske to get Presidential Medal of Freedom

Roger Penske at the start of the Indianapolis 500. (WTHR staff)
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President Donald Trump announced Thursday afternoon that he will award racing legend Roger Penske the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Penske found his success as an owner, getting his first 500 win in 1972 with driver Mark Donohue - and his most recent last month with driver Simon Pagenaud.

His team's commitment has led to 18 Indianapolis 500 wins and 17 pole positions. No other team has come close to that record.

Roger Penske watching the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. (WTHR Photo/Scott Hums)
Roger Penske watching the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. (WTHR Photo/Scott Hums)

"Roger Penske is a great gentleman ... and he's very thrilled to be getting it," Trump said during a press conference alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Penske is now 82 years old and is not slowing down, even after he had a health scare.

"I had a kidney transplant two years ago. My son Greg, you know living donor. A guy my age doesn't have many people who will give you one, but no it was a special time for me and shows you how important family is," Penske told Dave Calabro during a conversation last month. "But I've never felt better and you know, I'm ready to go another 20 years."