A home improvement retail chain that has been a sponsor in the IndyCar and Indy Lights series is backing the Indianapolis 500 bid of Simon Pagenaud.
Menards, the Wisconsin-based company with 297 stores in the Midwest, will be primary sponsor on Pagenaud’s entry for a pair of historic Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2016: the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May; and the Road America Grand Prix as Indy cars return to the iconic permanent road course in Elkhart Lake, also in Wisconsin, this June after an eight-year absence.
The deal also includes the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course May 14.
Pagenaud drives the No. 22 Chevrolet of Team Penske. Menards will also serve as an associate sponsor on the No. 22 car for the rest of the season.
“Menards has a long and successful history in motorsports and we are excited to welcome them to Team Penske in 2016,” said team owner Roger Penske. “John Menard and the entire Menards company have been long-time supporters of Indy car racing and it is special to have them on board as we celebrate the 50th season of Team Penske and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. We will be working hard to bring them their first Indy 500 victory with Simon this May and add to our team’s overall success at Indianapolis.”
Menards sponsored Verizon IndyCar Series entries from 1996-2003, including the cars driven by 1997 champion Tony Stewart and 1999 champ Greg Ray. The late Scott Brayton won the Indianapolis 500 pole position in both 1995 and 1996 in Menards-sponsored cars.
The Menards Infiniti Pro Series was the top rung of the IndyCar stepladder development series from 2003-2006 before evolving into what is now Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. Menards has also been a longtime sponsor in NASCAR.
Company founder John Menard is excited to join the winningest program in Indianapolis 500 history. Team Penske has won the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” 16 times.
“IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500 have been a huge part of Menards for as long as I can remember,” he said. “We’ve enjoyed a great amount of success, but the one thing missing is winning the Indy 500 in the month of May. What better team to return to the series with than Team Penske. Roger and his team have proven that they know how to win the big races. I think Simon will do a great job and I look forward to Menards becoming a part of the history of Team Penske.”