Menards races back to IRL

March 18, 2008
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menards The company that powered Tony Stewart to the 1997 Indy Racing League championship is coming back to open-wheel racing. John Menard confirmed that his Menards chain of hardware superstores will be sponsoring Tony George’s Vision Racing team for the 2008 season. Menard will sponsor the car driven by Ed Carpenter, George’s stepson. Terms of the deal were not released, but motorsports business experts placed the deal in the $2 million to $3 million range.

After the IRL-CART split in 1996, Menard fielded one of the most successful multi-car IRL teams. Menard, 68, of Eau Claire, Wis., ran his own IRL team until 2001 before leaving to follow his son’s stock car career. Menard continued as an IRL sponsor, funding Vitor Meira in 2002 and 2003, before leaving the series altogether. Menard has sponsored cars piloted by some of the best open-wheel drivers, including Al Unser Sr. and Tom Sneva. But he’s never been part of a winning Indianapolis 500 team. He said one of his primary goals is changing that.

Oddly, Menard’s pairing with Vision Racing brings him back together with Larry Curry, who went to jail for embezzling more than $1 million of Menard’s money over a three year period in the late 1990s. Curry, who managed Menard’s IRL team when Stewart drove, is now the team manager for Vision. Menard said he has no problem with Curry’s involvement with Vision Racing.

For now, Menard said he is happy to be a part of Vision Racing, but he didn’t discount becoming an IRL team owner again.
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  • I welcome John Menard back with open arms. Indy is not the same without their familiar livery on a car or two. Kudos to him for showing forgiveness towards Curry who I think has done very well with the Vision team. Now they just need to hire Buddy Lazier to drive a third car at Indy and all will be right with the world!
  • What a welcome development! And just one more reason for me to continue to favor shopping at Menards over its competitors. I wish John and his efforts with Visiion much success. And yes, bring on Buddy!!!!
  • I think this is just the begining of the parade of new sponsors and team into the IRL. They have always had a great product, sponsors just did not know which horse to back.

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  1. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

  2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

  3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

  4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

  5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.

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