“My stomach was going 100 miles an hour at that point and I was thinking ‘How can we do this, we need to do this if this makes sense,'” Penske said. “From that point we never put our pencils down, maybe it took six weeks, and that’s how we do business. These things that linger, linger, linger put a concern on the people that work here already, and the fact is we know these people and we aren’t just a lightning rod that showed up one day.”
The deal, believed to have cost Penske about $300 million, is expected to close in January. But he already has walked the property, met with the existing management teams and started looking ahead to May’s Indianapolis 500, a race Penske has won a record 18 times.
He credits his success to the way he was raised by his parents, who groomed Penske to be a titan. He spent three childhood summers at Culver Military Academy, where young boys gathered for eight weeks at a time to learn about leadership, teamwork, integrity and accountability.
His standards have been almost militant since and his work ethic relentless. He and “The Committee” of executives who surround him are always draped in crisp white shirts and pressed black slacks at the race track. The Penske work areas are immaculate and literally no detail goes ignored. Penske has been known to oversee the placement of a sponsor decal on a race car. The beverages in his hospitality coolers are lined up identical with labels out. Everything is “Penske Perfect” at all times.
Business casual doesn’t exist at Penske Corp., and the sitcom “Seinfeld” was absolutely accurate in its running gag about a person being “Penske Material.” His 64,000 employees are extremely loyal, understand the Penske mantra “effort equals results” and strive to meet his standard of excellence.
“Just the way you dress is such a big deal to what Team Penske is all about,” Logano said. “He is not slowing down at all. Most people in his position might just say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a great company’ and just ride it out because he’s already established. But he is always looking to better himself.”
Blaney likened his boss to Yoda, the wise and powerful Jedi master from “Star Wars,” and cited a 2015 discussion with Penske after Blaney had given away the 2015 Xfinity Series win at Indy to Kyle Busch and was immensely disappointed to have failed his team owner.