Sitting down with Roger Penske
The head of Penske Corporation, the all-seeing eye of a multi-billion-dollar transportation and manufacturing empire, he began making money as a kid in Shaker Heights, Ohio, buying junker cars and selling them as refurbished prizes. A decorated race car driver, his retirement in 1965 was seen as a surprise, but he quickly went about building business and racing empires. His open-wheel teams have won 134 races, 12 championships and a record 14 Indianapolis 500s.
His jet contrails ring the world for dinners at Porsche headquarters, meetings with sponsors or the opening of another monstrous Toyota dealership. When it comes to funding, he's goes where the cash, not the public image, is. His IRL teams are sponsored by Phillip Morris -- though its Marlboro branding has been removed except for the subliminally effective red and black striping -- and one of his NASCAR programs is backed by ExxonMobil, the world's largest and most profitable oil company. Another, Miller Lite. Live and let live, baby.
When his team officially announced last November in Phoenix that
But he still has time to jump off the war wagon and extinguish a crewman that's caught on fire, like he did for refueler
That might not play very well with the sponsors. I think its going to be tough. When you still go here you still have the first three or four races, they still have four or five cars in NASCAR trying to qualify. I think in this series, we've got real opportunities. My son Jay is going to come to Indy and put a sponsor together for a couple of races. He's all excited and he'll be out there, hopefully not knocking on the same doors I am, that's the only problem with him.
It's good to be the Captain.