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Roger Penske honored with Horatio Alger Award

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Roger Penske, the owner of teams in NASCAR and the Verizon IndyCar Series, has been selected as one of the 11 recipients of the Horatio Alger Award.

The award, presented by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, recognizes “exceptional corporate and philanthropic leaders from across the country who have succeeded despite facing challenges.”

The association, founded in 1947, is named after Alger, a 19th century author who is most known for the “Ragged Dick” book series.

“It is a privilege to receive the Horatio Alger Award alongside 10 remarkable men and women,” said the owner of Team Penske in a press release. “I was fortunate enough to have a strong support network growing up and I learned the importance of believing in yourself and having the courage to take the first step toward your dream. We are all stronger and more capable than we think, and I hope to convey that message to as many young people as possible through my work with the Association.”

Penske is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of his race team, which included winning the IndyCar championship with Simon Pagenaud. The association is celebrating its 70th anniversary of working to “dispel the mounting belief among citizens that the American Dream was no longer attainable.”

Penske’s legendary career in racing took shape after he was involved in a motorcycle accident at a young age that left him with several serious injuries and months of rehabilitation.

“Roger’s strong work ethic and determination to reach his goals is admirable and inspiring,” said Byron Trott, president, Horatio Alger Association in a press release. “My fellow Members and I congratulate Roger on his induction into the Association, recognizing his self-made success, entrepreneurial vision and commitment to giving back. We look forward to working with him to further encourage our Scholars to follow their dreams, no matter the adversities they face.”

Other receiving the award:

  • Alain Bouchard, founder and executive chairman of the board, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
  • John Elway, executive vice president of football operations/general manager, Denver Broncos
  • Mellody Hobson, president, Ariel Investments, LLC
  • Harold B. Matzner, chairman, CBA Industries Inc.
  • Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Byron Pitts, chief national correspondent, ABC News and co-anchor, ‘Nightline’
  • John H. Scully, co-founder and managing partner, SPO Partners & Co.
  • Richard J Stephenson, founder & chairman, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
  • Marcia G. Taylor, president and chief executive officer, Bennett International Group, LLC
  • Lenard B. Tessler, vice chairman and senior managing director, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.

 

NASCAR America: Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones get a feel of how Olympians train (video)

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NASCAR drivers talk almost continuously about how they have to be in top physical condition to endure sometimes often very difficult conditions while on a racetrack and behind the wheel.

One only needs to look at seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to see the rewards of being fit.

But going to one of the Olympic training centers in the U.S. is a whole other thing, something that separates folks who think they’re fit from those that really are.

Ask Toyota drivers like Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones, who recently participated in a two-day training session at an Olympic training facility.

We wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still nursing sore muscles, given the workouts they endured – and which gave them new appreciation for what many Olympians must go through to be the best.

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NASCAR America: Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch ready for Daytona fireworks (video)

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NASCAR’s summer classic, the Coke Zero 400, celebrates this country’s independence, its military heroes and concludes with a great fireworks show.

But as Clint Bowyer and this year’s Daytona 500 winner, Kurt Busch, will vouch for, there’s also a lot of fireworks during the race, as the 2.5-mile, high-banked tri-oval can be one of the most difficult and intimidating places to race upon.

If a driver isn’t dodging fellow drivers, he or she is trying to stay in the draft to gain forward movement and momentum. Unfortunately, a lot of times when dodging and draft collide, so too do a lot of cars and drivers, as well.

It may not be the Daytona 500, but winning at Daytona in July is still a big prize that everyone wants to win. And don’t forget, because it’s Daytona, it’s also a place to be careful at because of the danger that can pop up at any moment.

Find out why by clicking on the above video.

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NASCAR America: Steve Letarte kicks off weekly feature honoring pit crews (video)

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They’re the unsung heroes of NASCAR, the guys who typically don’t get enough praise when things go right, and then oftentimes have the finger of blame pointed at them when things go wrong.

We’re talking about one of the most important jobs in NASCAR: pit crew member.

Starting with Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, a guy who knows a lot about pit crews – former crew chief turned NBC NASCAR analyst Steve Letarte – kicked off a feature that will run each week for the 20 remaining weeks of the season.

Letarte’s series will spotlight the importance of pit crews, and he’ll also choose pit crew all-stars to recognize their contributions to the sport and their perseverance on pit road.

This week’s first bunch of pit crew all-stars are Caleb Hurd, gasman for Denny Hamlin; Jeff Zarella, tire specialist for Kurt Busch and Frank Mathalia, engine tuner for Austin Dillon.

Give them and their peers some love and check out the above video.

NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants one final Daytona win for himself and his father (video)

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Daytona International Speedway has been a bittersweet place for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It’s been the place of his biggest NASCAR Cup career wins, including the Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014.

But it’s also the same place where he lost his father  in a last-lap wreck in the 2001 Daytona 500.

Now, Earnhardt returns to the “World Center of Speed” for what will be the final time in his 18-year NASCAR Cup career.

On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Earnhardt reflected upon all the good and bad Daytona has meant to him and his family.

On his first time back to Daytona after his father’s death nearly five months earlier: “Once we got to Daytona, we drove by the racetrack, pulled in, parked in Turn 3, got out and walked around. The track was empty, quiet and I’d never been to the crash site. That’s where dad, in my mind, lost his life. That was where we all remember him last.”

Returning to Daytona for the first time after his father’s death there: “I felt like that was a place I wanted to visit. And every time I go to Daytona, even today, I go around that racetrack, I look at that spot, I look at that knoll of grass before the exit of Turn 4. I wanted to go there and see how I felt and see what kind of emotions happened so that I could get whatever was going to be out of the way.

“I told myself what I was going through is the same sadness that some guy somewhere in the Midwest is dealing with right now. Who am I to go on and on about how hard it was, because somebody, somewhere right now is dealing with a loss.”

How he wishes his father was still here to see the man and driver he’s become: “I’d have loved it if he’d stuck around a lot longer, but that’s not the way it was supposed to be. And we figured out how to make it (when he won the 2001 Coke Zero 400 in his father’s honor).”

On wanting to win one last time at Daytona in a Cup car this Saturday night: “I’d love to win at Daytona and add another win to the Earnhardt column. Every time I win there, I think it’s another win for me and dad because his success there stretches far beyond the Daytona 400 and July 400. But any time I win there, that’s one more stake in the ground that we claim this track as a place we dominate.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski