My dad has received his share of “World’s Greatest” tchotchkes, and he no longer has to wear neckties to work. He doesn’t need much in the way of material things, and he’s not one to get excited about the latest gadgets.
He does, however, love a good car.
The man has bought, sweat over, bled on, kicked, babied, traded and sold cars since he was 15 years old. The list of makes he’s owned is so long, I can’t even remember all the cars he went through in my childhood alone (though a few — the Green Hornet, the Creamsicle Dreamboat, the $50 Ford — live on in infamy.)
That’s why this Father’s Day, instead of a gift card (done that), concert tickets (done that, too) or a bucket full of car-washing supplies (definitely done that), I’m giving my dad an I.O.U. for a dad-daughter outing to one of the coolest hideaways the Valley has to offer auto fans: The Penske Racing Museum.
There are more than 20 cars (not to mention lots of memorabilia) at the small but mighty museum, most of them Indianapolis 500 winners driven by the likes of Rick Mears, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sam Hornish, Jr., and Al Unser, Jr. There’s also a replica of a 1963 Pontiac Catalina driven to victory by Roger Penske at the NASCAR Riverside 250 and Rusty Wallace’s 2005 Nextel Cup Dodge Charger.
The second-floor Turn 4 Cafe offers breakfast, lunch and your choice of view: 40 years of Penske Racing’s gleaming trophies or a Land Rover off-road course outside on the grounds of the Penske Automotive Group. The proximity of the dealerships means Dad can also drool over shiny new Lamborghinis, Porches, Jaguars, Bentleys and Rolls Royce cars if we feel like dreaming a little (OK, a lot) on the way out.
The museum is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at 7125 E. Chauncey Lane, Phoenix. The cafe is closed on the weekends. Admission is free. Most of the Indy cars are currently on tour to celebrate the Indy 500’s centennial, so you may want to plan your visit for the fall, when all the cars are expected to be back on display.
For information, call (480) 538-4444 or visit www.penskeracingmuseum.com.
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