Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Penske does Detroit

Although I swore I wasn’t gonna listen to this week’s Autosport Radio broadcast… Some-thun’ ta doo with the guests religious affiliations. Nevertheless I decided to drop-in and see what Words ‘O Wise-dum Mr. Donald could soldier up as he’d billed the show’s guests as The Three Wise Men. Father Phil, Bob Hills, and Fred Jones.

And I know Mr. Donald is heavily biased towards the Indy Racing League… And was almost fawning over The Captain, but I did find his remarks right on the mark in concerns to Roger Penske’s tireless efforts to bring motor racing back to the Motor City after a six year absence. As I came to the conclusion a couple of years ago after visiting the Penske Racing Museum that Penske is truly a class act.

Interestingly Don Kay pointed out that he was truly amazed over the city’s renaissance compared to the old Detroit of 15 years ago while Father Phil commented on how it used to be scary to go downtown before. (10yrs ago) And he believes Penske is personally responsible for part of the change after bringing Detroit the Super Bowl in 2005. (Which I’m still sore about our Seahawks getting a raw deal from the Officials!)

Mr. Kay pointed out that Penske not only organized the Indy Cars and American Le Mans Series double header, but also invested his own cash to the event. In the tune of $12-14 million...

And Mr. Donald raved about the outstanding “Detail to Excellence” which has become The Captain’s trademark being applied to the Bell Isle event as Roger was personally on hand at the circuit every morning bright ‘N early at 6AM. Going from team to team and making sure everything was Ok four days straight.

Reportedly they had OVER 1,000 volunteers for the event and they all received training prior to the kick-off on how to do their respective “gig’s” as well as the Downtown corridor is clean and the people friendly and courteous.

Don told a tale of how Penske had bought Detroit Diesel when it was in the dumps and the very first thing he did was pay every employee a bonus… Which hadn’t happened in years and as they say the rest is history.

While Penske truly seems to have the Midas touch, it was refreshing to hear Father Phil chime in and tell us how generous Penske is along with noting that Roger doesn’t need to be doing anything he’s doing now, i.e.; personally showing up at the track every morning, etc. But then again this is how The Captain got to where he is as Mr. Donald claimed that Penske had even been seen pushing a broom at Belle Isle…

And Mr. Kay noted that Penske is the US’s LARGEST Automobile dealer. Saying while the “Big Three” are taking’ their lumps, Penske set his record for sales in 2006 and expects to be only down 2% this year. With Father Phil noting Roger had changed his holdings from the United Auto Group to Penske since his name is synonymous with success.

And I was very pleased to hear about Fred Jones selfless work to coordinate the donating of all track hospitality food to the nearby community organizations in need. As he says it’s a pleasurable change from cold cereal…

So I hate to harp on it again… But Champ Car may want to take notes from The Captain’s zealous regard for detail! As I’m pretty certain you can see ALL of the IRL races on available TV channels. And if ONLY Phoenix could have hired Penske, then I’m certain the race would have been a success…

Perhaps Michigan International Speedway will want to call up its ex-owner to promote their lost IRL race?

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