Standing more than 5 feet tall and weighing over 110 lbs., the sterling silver monolith known as the Borg Warner Trophy is one of the oldest and most coveted prizes in all of motorsports. Originally commissioned by automotive supplier Borg Warner in 1935 at a cost of $10,000 (currently valued at $3.5 million USD), the trophy has been presented in the winner’s circle after every Indy 500 since 1936.
Unveiled in by then-Speedway owner and Hall of Fame inductee Eddie Rickenbacker, the trophy was first presented to race winner and fellow inductee Louis Meyer, who remarked; “Winning the Borg-Warner Trophy is like winning an Olympic medal”.
Many of the names etched into the Art Deco relic are those of Hall of Fame inductees; including Tommy Milton, Ralph De Palma, Mario Andretti, and A.J. Foyt. A 24-karat gold head portrait of late speedway owner and inductee Anton “Tony” Hulman Jr. was added in 1987 to pay homage to his role in reviving the track and the Indianapolis 500 after World War II.
Ironically, there is a name not engraved on the trophy whose organization has won it more times than all the previously mentioned names combined. Though Team Penske has now been victorious in 16 Indy 500’s with Roger at the helm, his name does not appear on the trophy that so many of his cars have won.
This is surely not for lack of driving talent; Roger was a winner in both the amateur and professional racing ranks, receiving the SCCA driver of the year award in 1961, and even completed two Formula One Grand Prix’s. He was offered a rookie test at Indianapolis, but turned it down to focus on developing his business. It was fellow Hall of Fame inductee, Mario Andretti, who substituted for Penske in that test.
Though Roger’s likeness has not yet appeared on the trophy, his name will be enshrined at the Hall of Fame. The presence of the trophy for his induction is a great honor and we are very grateful for the opportunity to display such an amazing piece of history.