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Menards returns to IndyCar with Pagenaud, Team Penske

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Menards – a longtime supporter of the Indianapolis 500 – will make its return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year as the primary sponsor of the No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet driven by Simon Pagenaud.

The announcement was made at the Team Penske 50th Anniversary exhibit at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum on Tuesday morning, with the car revealed and John Menard on hand to support Roger Penske and Pagenaud.

The deal will be both for the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May, and at Menard’s home state of Wisconsin at Road America in late June.

Its’ Menards return to the sport for the first time since 2003. It was a sponsor and team in the Indy Racing League from 1996 through 2003; the Team Menard outfit also ran IMS only for several years prior and scored two pole positions, both with the late Scott Brayton in 1995 and 1996. Rookie Tony Stewart inherited the 1996 pole position after Brayton’s fatal accident in practice that year.

Longer than that, Menard first made his trip to the track in the late 1970s with driver Herm Johnson.

“Menards has a long and successful history in motorsports and we are excited to welcome them to Team Penske in 2016,” Roger Penske said in a release.

“John Menard and the entire Menards company have been long-time supporters of INDYCAR 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.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.