Roger Penske is more than a name, he's a racing dynasty

Roger Penske (WTHR Staff)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — There are some names that have become legend in the Indianapolis 500: Harroun, Foyt, Mears, Andretti and Penske.

Roger Penske had an interesting start in Indianapolis and it began when his life took a very different track in 1965. He received a call about getting a shot to take a test at the Speedway.

"Of course I wanted to, but I had a job, and I couldn't get off," Penske said. "So guess what? Mario Andretti took the test. So he went in one direction in his life, and I went in another. But I guess we both ended up, you know, where we wanted to be."

Penske found his success as an owner, getting his first 500 win in 1972 with driver Mark Donohue.

"You know it was amazing to think that we could win a race at the Indy 500, and it was a time that you know I couldn't believe, and it really started our continued commitment to the 500," Penske said.

Team Penske has claimed 17 Indianapolis 500 wins. (WTHR Staff)

That commitment has led to 17 Indianapolis 500 wins and 17 pole positions. No other team has come close to that record.

"Well I guess I like to win. I like to be on a winning team, and uh, to me, I always wanted to be better. I wanted the people around me to be better. I wanted to be a leader," Penske said. "I spent some time at Culver Military Academy during the summer, which taught me to be a leader, and I think that was really a defining moment for me to understand how to work with a group of people and lead together."

Part of that is setting a clear goal and expecting the best from his employees.

"Well we think we've got a great image. I think people putting things in the right place. Obviously as you get into the commercial value of your team and what you look like, what you stand for...I think a lot of this has come over the years, but our people understand our mission," Penske said.

Team Penske (WTHR Staff)

Roger 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 said. "But I've never felt better and you know, I'm ready to go another 20 years."

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