NASCAR, IndyCar and IMSA team owner Roger Penske will receive one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, President Donald Trump announced Thursday.
“He’s very thrilled to be getting it,” Trump said of Penske during an appearance with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House.
Penske will become the second person in the motorsports industry to receive the high honor. Legendary NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 from President George H. W. Bush.
No date for the medal presentation has been set yet.
Trump and Penske have been close friends for many years.
“He’s a great gentleman,” Trump said of Penske. “I’ve known him for a long time. A very brilliant gentleman.”
Earlier this month, Trump hosted and honored Penske and Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud and his team in a White House ceremony. It was the third time Penske has been to the White House in the last year, having previously visited for ceremonies honoring Will Power’s 2018 Indy 500 win and Joey Logano winning the 2018 NASCAR Cup championship.
Team Penske has won over 530 races – including 18 Indianapolis 500 and two Daytona 500 victories – and 34 championships across all forms of motorsports in its 53-year history.