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Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske

Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE on Thursday awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Roger Penske, hailing the racing industry icon's influence on motorsports and business.

"He's built a team and a legacy that will endure forever. I mean, frankly, nobody will ever be able to challenge this," Trump said at a ceremony in the Oval Office. "And it will endure forever in the history of racing and in the history of sports, I think."

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Trump noted that Penske's business empire employs 64,000 people and has made numerous contributions to the business community and charitable organizations in the city of Detroit.

"Roger, from racing to business to philanthropy, you have moved from one great victory to another," Trump said.

Penske was joined by his wife and children for the ceremony. He thanked Trump, his family and his business associates, and highlighted the ongoing economic resurgence in Detroit.

Penske is a former race car driver who gained prominence as the owner of Team Penske in Indy Car racing and NASCAR. His drivers have combined to win 18 Indianapolis 500 races and two Daytona 500 races.

"He knows what he's doing," Trump said after rattling off Penske's racing accomplishments.

Thursday's ceremony marked the latest in a string of White House appearances for Penske in recent months. He joined Nascar Cup Series champion Joey Logano during a ceremony honoring the driver in April, and Penske returned in June with this year's Indianapolis 500 winner, Simon Pagenaud. 

Penske is the 14th individual to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump thus far. Trump has largely bestowed the honor on athletes and prominent conservatives.

Golfer Tiger Woods, former NBA players Bob Cousy and Jerry West, pitcher Mariano Rivera, former Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMellman: What happened after Ginsburg? Bottom line Bottom line MORE (R-Utah) and Miriam Adelson are among those Trump has recognized with the award.