WASHINGTON -- Auto industry icon Roger Penske received the 2012 Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award tonight.
General Motors North America President Mark Reuss presented Penske with the award, along with Keith Crain, chairman of Crain Communications Inc., which publishes Automotive News.
Previous winners include Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., and safety activist Ralph Nader.
Penske, 74, is the founder and chairman of Penske Corp., whose subsidiaries including Penske Automotive Group, the second-largest U.S. auto retailer, and Penske Performance, which operates one of the most successful racing teams in professional sports, Penske Racing.
"There are very few people in this world that succeed at just about everything they touch, and Roger is one of those people," Crain said.
Reuss praised Penske for his can-do spirit.
He said Penske had been instrumental in getting GM's Chevrolet brand back into IndyCar racing this year. He also credited Penske for leading the charge to bring auto racing back to Detroit's Belle Isle.
"He simply gets things done, and mostly importantly, gets them done right and with perfection," Reuss said. "It's the precision of execution that has made him a success, and those of us around him a success."
Penske started racing cars while a teenager and chalked up numerous high-profile victories before retiring from race-car driving in 1965.
He then opened his first auto dealership, eventually growing his business into a multi-billion corporation with more than 35,000 employees globally.
He also channeled his love for racing in a new direction, establishing Penske Racing and going on to win a record 15 times at the Indianapolis 500 with his team.
He was inducted into the Motor Sports Hall of Fame of America in 1995.
"I'm humbled and honored to accept this award tonight," Penske said. "Receiving this award is really a highlight of my business career."