Photo: Team Penske

Menards returns to IndyCar with Pagenaud, Team Penske

2 Comments

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.”

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
1 Comment

SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).