Roger Penske At Amelia Island

Roger Penske and the Borg Warner Trophy. [Photo by Eddie LePine]

Roger Penske and the Borg Warner Trophy. [Photo by Eddie LePine]

By Eddie LePine

The 25th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is now history, and a lot has happened in the motorsports world since the event. Car culture and motorsport now face an uncertain future, at least in the short-term due to Coronavirus concerns, but at least Amelia Island went off without a hitch. The concours was held in perfect weather conditions and a record crowd was in attendance at Bill Warner’s outstanding event, which this year honored a true American and motorsports legend and icon: Roger Penske.

Bill Warner couldn’t have found a better honoree than Roger Penske for this year’s event, and with Roger’s purchase of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar series last year, the timing couldn’t have been better.

I had a chance to grab Roger at the event for a conversation about the concours and his place in motorsports history.

“This is an amazing place, when you look at the history and the people who have been honored in the past 25 years, I am honored to be here. Bill Warner has a team of people here who have a passion for cars and racing – a tremendous event.” Roger told me.

Bill Warner’s crew was able to assemble quite an array of cars that Roger Penske and Penske Racing have campaigned over the years. Without a doubt, it was the largest gathering of Penske Racing machinery in history, and Roger was impressed.

“It blew me away to see all the cars that we’ve had the opportunity to compete with and build. To see them all in one place is a once in a lifetime experience.”

We also talked about his acquisition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar and his plans for the future.

“We’re making changes to make the guest experience better. You’ll see that things both inside and outside the track that will make things better. We need to invest long term in the track and that is our goal starting this year.”

How about other events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the future, including a return of Formula One?

“We are looking at – can we have a Formula One race; can we have a long-distance race? We want to make it special. If you are going to race at Indianapolis, it has to be special.”

Roger Penske has the right attitude to take not only the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar into the future, but motorsports in general. During the current crisis, there is no one better to have in a position of authority than Roger Penske. His attitude, his team, his “can do” spirit is just what racing needs going forward.

Roger Penske has won everything there was to win at Indianapolis – many times. There is no reason to think that going into the future, he won’t keep winning, only this time, he will be winning for all of us. Roger’s parting comment to me summed it up the best.

“Well – we’ve owned it on the inside and now we own it on the outside.”

Well said.

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