Roger Penske will be heading to the White House for the third time in 2019.
President Donald Trump said Thursday that the iconic racing owner and businessman would receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“Roger Penske is a great gentleman who has won 18 Indianapolis 500s, he’s won — just won Daytona,” Trump said during an appearance with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “He won Daytona, he won Indianapolis, he won probably more than anyone in the history of racing I can’t imagine anybody being even close.”
Trump: "We're going to be presenting the presidential medal of freedom to Roger Penske... That'll be announced over the next little while, but I guess actually I'm announcing it pretty much now." https://t.co/nENcgRH8Xo
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 20, 2019
Penske is the winningest owner in Indianapolis 500 history and his drivers (Will Power and Simon Pagenaud) have won the last two 500s. His drivers have won the Daytona 500 twice, though not as recently as Trump’s quote makes it seem. Ryan Newman won the race in 2008 and Joey Logano won in 2015.
Team Penske drivers have earned 500 wins throughout various world racing series.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized by President Trump and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Penske said in a statement. “I am humbled by the president’s acknowledgement of our achievements in business, in motorsports, and in our community. Thank you to President Trump for this special recognition. On behalf of my wife Kathy, our family and our nearly 65,000 team members worldwide, it will be my privilege to accept this prestigious award.”
Penske was at the White House in May when Trump had Logano and his team there to celebrate Logano’s 2018 Cup Series title. That was the second top-level NASCAR title for Penske as a car owner. He was also there earlier this month as Pagenaud was honored for his dramatic Indy 500 win over Alexander Rossi.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established by John F. Kennedy and is the highest civilian award. It’s typically given to those who have made significant impacts in American life. Tiger Woods received the award earlier in 2019 after he won The Masters.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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