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Cars line up before the Jeep Beach 175 for the ARCA Menards Series East at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, on Feb. 8, 2021. (Adam Glanzman/NASCAR)
Cars line up before the Jeep Beach 175 for the ARCA Menards Series East at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, on Feb. 8, 2021. (Adam Glanzman/NASCAR)

Menards Racing Roots Run Deep

Fans who have followed motorsports during the last five decades quickly recognize the Menard name from a wide range of involvement in the sport. Wisconsin businessman John Menard, founder, owner and President of Menards Home Improvement retail chain with 336 stores throughout the Midwest, has been involved in racing as a team owner, engine builder, team sponsor and father of a successful race car driver.

The unmistakable Team Menard colors of the early 1990s were famously fast at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team utilized the powerful turbocharged Buick V-6 engines, eventually rebadged as the Menard V-6, which propelled the late Scott Brayton to the pole at Indy in both 1995 and 1996.

The team found success in the Indy Racing League with driver Tony Stewart, who earned the team’s first championship in 1997, and with Greg Ray, who earned a handful of wins in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

In the mid-2000s, the Menard name took to the racetrack with son Paul Menard at the wheel, again driving the unmistakable neon yellow Menards colors. Paul Menard raced, and won, in the ARCA Series before moving on to what is now known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series. From there, Paul Menard embarked on a career at NASCAR’s highest level, recording 471 career Cup Series starts, most with Menards on the quarter panels.

He finally helped his father achieve his lifelong dream of going to victory lane at Indianapolis with a win in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2011.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 31: Paul Menard, driver of the #27 NIBCO/Menards Chevrolet, poses with the trophy in front of the pagoda after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 31, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR) | Getty Images
Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 NIBCO/Menards Chevrolet, poses with the trophy in front of the pagoda after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 31, 2011, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

As a team sponsor in NASCAR, Menards has celebrated three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships with driver Matt Crafton. Teamed with ThorSport Racing since 2002, Menards has 15 victories over that time frame to go along with titles in 2013, 2014 and 2019.

The team also won a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship with Team Penske and driver Austin Cindric in 2020.

After a dozen years as the presenting sponsor of what was then known as the ARCA Racing Series, Menards signed on to become the series’ title sponsor in 2019, rebranding the series as the ARCA Menards Series.

In 2020, the sponsorship also encompassed the former NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, rebranding those two regional series as the ARCA Menards Series East and West, and creating a nationwide platform that allows grassroots racers to take the first step in their climb up the professional motorsports ladder.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 09: NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, ARCA President Ron Drager, and John Menard speak during a press conference prior to practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 9, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) | Getty Images
NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, ARCA President Ron Drager and John Menard announce Menards signing on as the ARCA Series’ entitlement sponsor at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 9, 2019, in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The Menards sponsorship programs are vendor supported, with companies such as Sioux Chief, Reese’s, Richmond Water Heaters and Procter & Gamble, as well as numerous others, supporting the ARCA Menards Series through point fund contributions, broadcast support and race entitlement sponsorship.

In addition, Menards uses the series and its events as their “grass roots” racing platform, reaching fans at the local level. Prior to the pandemic, fans of the ARCA Menards Series could meet their favorite series drivers throughout the year at numerous Menards store appearances in local race markets.

Advance discounted tickets at Menards stores and customer / contractor events at track, along with show car displays and other promotions. Hopefully, these activities will be back in play later this summer.

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Menards has grown from a single lumberyard in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to more than 300 home improvement warehouses in 15 states across the upper Midwest, becoming the third largest home improvement retailer in the United States. Homeowners and contractors alike head to Menards to “Save Big Money” while finding all of their home improvement needs under one roof.

And, thanks to John Menard and his passion for the sport of racing, fans of the ARCA Menards Series have a strong partner who supports the sport from grass roots to the highest levels.