CONSECO TO SPONSOR INDY RACING CHAMPS RAY, TEAM MENARD
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2000 -- Conseco, Inc. (NYSE:CNC) announced Jan. 5 that it will become a primary sponsor of Team Menard for the 2000 Indy Racing League season.
The announcement extends the relationship that has existed between Team Menard and Conseco since 1995; Conseco was an associate sponsor in 1999.
"Working with two-time champions Team Menard represents a further expansion of our long-term commitment to sports marketing and motorsports," said Stewart Stockdale, Conseco executive vice president of marketing and strategic planning. "These sponsorships fit perfectly into our overall branding strategy, allowing us to connect with middle America through a consumer-driven brand. Conseco and the IRL are important parts of the Indianapolis community.
"As we expand our motorsports sponsorship, we couldn't have a better IRL partner than Team Menard. Their professional and focused approach mirrors our approach to business; we're proud to increase our support of the team." In 1999, Team Menard won its second league championship for team owner John Menard -- the team also took home the Indy Racing title for the 1996-97 season -- and the first championship for driver Greg Ray.
"I am extremely proud of the work our team did in 1999," Menard said. "The intense excitement and pressure that comes with fielding an Indy Racing League team keeps us focused on our work, and to win races makes the time that much more rewarding. I am thankful to Conseco for its continued support, and I look forward to extending our partnership."
For his work driving the Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone race car during the 1999 season, Ray took home the Lap Leader Award for leading 464 laps, the PPG Pole Master Award for capturing four poles and the Delphi Halfway Award for leading at the halfway point in two races. Ray has proven himself a prodigy on the track, considering that the 1997 Indianapolis 500 was the first time he tried an Indy-style car. He earned his first career Indy Racing victory in 1999 at Pikes Peak, where he led a total of 109 laps.
"We began the 1999 season knowing that we had what it takes to win," Ray said. "We had a slow start, but gained momentum at Texas and pulled together as a team to make it to Victory Lane three times. And now we'll take the momentum of the '99 IRL championship into the millennium season with Conseco right there with us every step of the way."
Headquartered in Carmel, Ind., Conseco is one of middle America's leading sources for insurance, investment and lending products. Through its subsidiaries and a nationwide network of insurance agents and finance dealers, Conseco provides solutions for both wealth protection and wealth creation to 12½ million customers.