Team Penske Hall of Fame
Team Penske Hall of Fame

In Team Penske's 50th anniversary season of 2016, the organization began a new annual tradition of celebrating its rich racing heritage with the Team Penske Hall of Fame. Each year, two Team Penske Hall of Fame inductees are chosen from current and former drivers, employees and partners that have made a significant impact on the team and its history. The Hall of Famers are honored both at an event and within the walls of the Team Penske facility, located in Mooresville, NC.


Hall of Fame Inductees

2016 - Roger Penske and Mark Donohue
2017 - Rick Mears and Karl Kainhofer
2018 - Walter Czarnecki and Rusty Wallace



Hall of Famer Profiles

  • Roger Penske

    Roger Penske (2016)

    Roger Penske was one of America's most successful young road racers before electing to retire from driving in 1965 to focus on his first business - a Philadelphia Chevrolet dealership. However, racing remained a key element in Penske's overall business plan and he formed his own team. Beginning as Roger Penske Racing in 1966, competing in sports car and endurance events, Team Penske has grown into one of the most successful racing teams - and sports organizations - in the world. The team won its class in the 24 Hours of Daytona in its first start and since then Team Penske has produced more than 490 wins, over 550 pole positions and 32 championships. Those totals include a historic 17 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 wins and the distinction of being the last American constructor to win a Formula One race, coming in 1976 with driver John Watson. More than 50 drivers have won a race for Roger Penske's teams over the 52-year history of Team Penske and the organization continues to produce at a remarkable rate at the highest levels of motorsports. Team Penske has won at least one championship in either NASCAR or INDYCAR for the last six consecutive years. In 2019, Roger Penske will also be inducted into the prestigious NASCAR Hall of Fame.

  • Mark Donohue

    Mark Donohue (2016)

    Donohue was the first in a long lineage of championship drivers at Team Penske. He made 180 starts for the team in his memorable career and produced 59 wins, 50 pole positions and six championships for the organization. The list of team firsts has Donohue written all over it. He made Team Penske's first start in the Indianapolis 500 in 1969 and he earned "Rookie of the Year" honors with a seventh-place finish. Three years later, in 1972, he produced the first of the team's record 17 Indianapolis 500 victories. Donohue also posted Team Penske's first NASCAR victory, winning at Riverside in 1973, and he earned the organization's first win and pole position in its rich history of open-wheel racing. Of course, Donohue also captured the first of Team Penske's 32 national championships as he claimed the USRRC title in 1967. Donohue also famously helped develop the Porsche 917/30, one of the most powerful racing cars ever created as it dominated Can-Am Series competition with Team Penske in 1973. Tragically, Donohue passed away from injuries suffered during a practice crash at the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix in 1975.

  • Rick Mears

    Rick Mears (2017)

    Few drivers have epitomized "The Penske Way" more than Mears during the course of his career with Team Penske, which began in 1978. His 29 INDYCAR wins are tied with Helio Castroneves for the second most by a Team Penske driver, but it was the respectful yet determined way Mears raced and conducted himself that set him apart. One of three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times, Mears also won three INDYCAR titles with the team in 1979, 1981 and 1982 while becoming an American icon. He remains a valuable member of the team as an advisor and spotter to the current Team Penske contingent competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. "To be honored as one of the early members inducted into the Team Penske Hall of Fame is one of the highlights of my career," said Mears, who also holds the record with six pole positions won for the Indianapolis 500. "I like to think I played a part in the history of this organization, but I was just a part. There have been so many talented people who have been involved in Roger's organization - from drivers to mechanics to front office personnel. To join Roger, Mark and Karl and to be recognized is humbling."

  • Karl Kainhofer

    Karl Kainhofer (2017)

    Kainhofer began his motorsports career as a Porsche-trained master mechanic before becoming Penske's personal mechanic during the legendary owner's brief stint as a driver. After Team Penske was formed in 1966, the Austrian-born Kainhofer became the team's first full-time employee and helped guide the likes of Mark Donohue and others to victories in the Can-Am Series, Formula 5000, INDYCAR and Formula 1. For the second part of his career with Team Penske, Kainhofer worked as the head of Penske's engine shop until his retirement in 1997 after 32 years with the team. Through a career in racing that spanned 40 years from 1958 through 1997, Kainhofer was part of a remarkable 170 wins, including 10 Indianapolis 500 victories. "This is a great honor," said Kainhofer, after his Team Penske Hall of Fame induction in 2017. "I'm just happy to be here and to have played a role in what Team Penske has become today. I've made a lot of good memories over the years and had the chance to experience a lot of amazing moments. Today is another one of those."

  • Walt Czarnecki

    Walter Czarnecki (2018)

    Czarnecki began working with Roger Penske and Penske Corporation in 1970 through his duties with American Motors Corporation. Within a few years, he operated one of the nation's leading Chevrolet dealerships for volume sales and customer service, located in Southfield, Mich. Roger Penske then purchased Michigan International Speedway (MIS) out of bankruptcy and Czarnecki was named track president. During his tenure, MIS grew from 25,000 seats to over 125,000, hosting races for NASCAR, INDYCAR, IROC, ARCA and many other top-tier sanctioning bodies. Czarnecki later served as Vice Chairman of Penske Speedways, which owned and operated Michigan International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Nazareth Speedway, North Carolina Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 1999, Penske Speedways merged with International Speedway Corporation. Czarnecki transitioned to Vice Chairman of Team Penske and he continues to help lead the organization in that role today. With nearly 50 years of leadership and service, Czarnecki has left an immeasurable impact on Penske Corporation, Team Penske and motorsports. "I'm honored and very, very grateful and humbled by this," said Czarnecki after his induction was announced at MIS during the June 2018 NASCAR weekend. "Roger and I have been together for 48 years and this is certainly one of the highlights of my career. I remember when Roger and I first met - at a Trans Am race in 1969 in California. We bumped into each other because we were staying at the same hotel. That was the beginning of it all and I've never looked back from there."

  • Rusty Wallace

    Rusty Wallace (2018)

    Among all drivers that have raced for Team Penske throughout its 52-year history, none followed the path to prominence like Wallace. A little-known fact to most, Wallace actually made his first two starts for Roger Penske's team in 1980, finishing second in his debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The short-track ace from Missouri did not return to compete for the Captain until 1991, when he raced the iconic yellow and black Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac. Wallace produced the final 37 of his 55 career premier NASCAR series victories for Team Penske, which ranks third on the organization's all-time wins list. Wallace was the 1989 NASCAR Cup Series Champion and a 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee. "This is a great award and a great honor," said Wallace of his Team Penske Hall of Fame induction. "I didn't expect this was going to happen at all. I'm really honored to be in the Team Penske Hall of Fame, but even more honored to have driven for Roger. I always wanted to be a Penske driver. Even when I had other offers, I wanted to drive for Penske. To be in a club with the likes of Roger, Rick Mears, Mark Donohue, Walter (Czarnecki) and Karl Kainhofer is a real honor."

2016 Team Penske Hall of Fame Inductees

Roger Penske was inducted into the Team Penske Hall of Fame at the organization's 50th anniversary celebration in Charlotte in 2016.

2016 Team Penske Hall of Fame Inductees

Walt Czarnecki (left) and Tim Cindric (far right) present the first Team Penske Hall of Fame awards to Roger Penske and David Donohue, Mark Donohue's son, at the team's 50th anniversary celebration.

2017 Team Penske Hall of Fame Inductees

Team Penske Hall of Fame Inductees Karl Kainhofer and Rick Mears with Roger Penske at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2017.

2018 Team Penske Hall of Fame Inductees

Roger Penske welcomes Walt Czarnecki (left) and Rusty Wallace (right) to the Team Penske Hall of Fame in 2018 at Michigan International Speedway.