Friday, October 14, 2011

Menard's Brickyard Win Was For More Than Just Self (

(Originally appeared on Aug. 3, 2011 at

INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul Menard's win in Sunday's Brickyard 400 was a heartwarming tale. Not only was it Menard's first career Sprint Cup victory, it also was the first win ever at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his family, particularly Paul's father, John.

John Menard is the multi-millionaire owner of the Wisconsin-based Menard's Home Improvement Centers. But one of his biggest loves for nearly the last 35 years has been auto racing, primarily open-wheel IndyCar racing, most notably at the legendary 2.5-mile IMS.

Menard has chased the checkered flag at Indy for so long that he pretty much had given up on ever realizing his dream – until his son won not only for himself, but also dedicated the victory to his long-suffering father.

And now that same family can say it has an Indy win just like members of other famous racing families with the surnames of Mears, Unser, Foyt and Andretti.

Late Sunday afternoon, in perhaps the most unpredictable of wins, the Menard family was finally in victory lane at Indy. It was a long time in coming, but not exactly surprising given how Paul Menard has shown incredible progress this season after five-plus years of struggling on the Cup series.

A lot of that success can be traced to Menard joining Richard Childress Racing this season. For the first time in his Cup career, Menard has some of the best equipment any driver can have, plus he has veteran and successful teammates in Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer.

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