FORT WORTH, Texas – Roger Penske’s proficiency for finding Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway has earned him a spot in Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Penske, who will be the 16th member inducted, will be honored April 3 during the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala benefiting Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter held at Texas Motor Speedway during the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR weekend.
Penske’s induction is all part of an evening that recognizes some of the most outstanding individuals in motorsports. Along with Roger Penske, other honorees include four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti, 2014 Daytona 500 champion and NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., defending Duck Commander 500 and O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 winner Kyle Busch and 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion James Buescher.
A winner of a combined 12 races at Texas Motor Speedway as a team owner – including a record seven in the Verizon IndyCar Series – Penske remains the only owner with victories in both NASCAR and IndyCar at Texas Motor Speedway. His success at Texas Motor Speedway is all part of his illustrious 48-year career as team owner of Team Penske that has produced 23 motorsports national championships, including 12 in Indy car racing.
Penske joins a mix of accomplished drivers and innovative motorsports leaders to be inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame since its inception in 2003. He joins previous inductees A.J. Foyt (2003), Johnny Rutherford (’03), Terry Labonte (’04), Lee Shepherd (’04), Kenny Bernstein (’05), Jim Hall (’05), Eddie Hill (’06), Mark Martin (’07), Jim McElreath (’07), Bobby Labonte (’08), Bruton Smith (’08), Joe Gibbs (’09), John Force (’10), Lanny Edwards (’11) and Jack Roush (’12).
Franchitti, who announced this off-season his retirement from open-wheel racing after an illustrious 16-year career in open-wheel racing that includes time in both CART and the Verizon IndyCar Series, will be honored with the Bruton Smith Legend Award. Franchitti remains one of the all-time great Indy car drivers, tallying 31 victories during his career and is one of 10 drivers with three wins in the Indianapolis 500.
Earnhardt has continued his outpouring of support for Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter and his efforts to help children in North Texas have earned him the Maj. General Thomas Sadler Award.
The “BBQ Pit Stop with Dale Jr.” which was one of Speedway Children’s Charities’ most successful vents of the year, allowed members of Junior Nation to enjoy an evening with the superstar driver and helped raise more than $38,000 for the organization.
Busch, who once again etched his name into the Texas Motor Speedway record books, will be awarded the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year. He became the first driver to sweep both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races in the same weekend with his victories in the NRA 500 and O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, respectively. The Nationwide Series win makes Busch the NNS wins leader at Texas with six victories.
Buescher, a native of nearby Plano, will return to his hometown track to accept the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award. Buescher’s efforts to help in the cleanup process following the tornadoes that devastated Moore, Okla., epitomized the ideals of sportsmanship. Taking full advantage of his off week, Buescher and his wife, Kris, visited the town and helped move mountains of debris and cleared off foundation slabs. The destruction hit close to home for Buescher, whose brother lives in nearby Oklahoma City.