Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces continued relationship with Chevrolet

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Thursday a new multi-year  extension of its deal with Chevrolet.

The agreement means Chevrolet will continue as an official sponsor of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Grand Prix of Indianapolis (May 9), the Indianapolis 500 (May 24) and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 (July 26).

Chevrolet will provide official cars, safety vehicles and the pace car at all three events. The Indianapolis 500 will mark the 25th time a Chevy has served as the official pace car for the race.

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Chevrolet have over a century of history together and we’re delighted with the opportunity to continue that rich heritage,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s president in a release. “Race fans will see Chevrolets all over IMS during the Month of May and also in July, where Chevy will continue to be the only car to ever lead the field at the Brickyard 400.”

On the track, a Chevrolet has won the last 12 Brickyard 400 events, but only one Indy 500 since 2003.

Michelin appoints new North American motorsports director

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Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard as director of motorsports, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Ménard is succeeding Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years. Baker is scheduled to retire in March of 2020, ending a lengthy career that began with Michelin in 1982.

“Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America,” said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group’s motorsports business entity. “His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris’s leadership propelled the Group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business.”

A native of Le Mans, France, Ménard has served in several positions during his 30-year career with Michelin, most recently serving global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger-vehicle category. Ménard has worked closely with the North American motorsports team since early July in preparation for the transition.

Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin’s involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the “Official Tire of IMSA” and BFGoodrich Tires partnership with SCORE International Racing as the “Official Tire of SCORE.”

During Baker’s tenure, BFGoodrich achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000. The brand also demonstrated performance in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Ultra4 King of Hammers, and provided strong support of grass roots racing across North America with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and Super Production Challenge in Canada.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with,” Baker said. “I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands’ successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony’s leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition.”