Roger Penske is enjoying a banner year.
Not only is Penske celebrating his 50th year as a race car team owner, the former championship driver was honored Thursday with the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports. The award was presented at the Corning Museum of Glass by the International Motor Racing Research Center.
The award memorializes Cameron R. Argetsinger, founder and organizer of the first races at Watkins Glen.
Penske becomes the third recipient of the Argetsinger Award - following fellow race owner Chip Ganassi in 2014 and NASCAR legend Richard Petty in 2015.
The Racing Research Center, located at 610 S. Decatur Street in Watkins Glen, is an archival library dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.
“Knowing Cam Argensinger and what he did for motor racing, along with John Bishop and Bill Milliken - it’s a real honor,” Penske said. “Of course, the Motor Racing Research Center - with all of the memorabilia and the history — has become a very special place.”
Longtime race reporter Dr. Jerry Punch was the master of ceremonies for a program that included remarks from Joe Sahlen, president of Sahlen's, Bobby Rahal, who serves as chairman of the Racing Research Center's Governing Council, Scott Atherton, president and COO of the International Motor Sports Association; Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International, Jay Frye, President of INDYCAR Competition and Operations, Lisa Noble, president of Sports Car Club of America, and Walt Czarnecki, executive vice president of Penske Corp. and vice chairman of Team Penske.
"I feel privileged to help honor a true icon of the sport who has been so influential in a number of racing series for 50 years," Rahal said. "I cannot think of any other driver and/or team owner who has accomplished as much as Roger has and who continues to leave his mark in the sport that we all love."
The event was also a fundraiser for the IMRRC and ended on a high note when a commissioned painting by motorsports artist Randy Owens depicting significant cars from Penske's career brought a winning bid of $27,500.
“And to be a part of Corning, and the Watkins Glen era and what happens here every year with the economic benefit - this is a wonderful honor for me, but it’s not just for me - it’s for our people,” Penske said.