INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2003 -- Panther Racing LLC and Team Menard have merged to form a two-car effort for the 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season, John Barnes, Panther Racing co-owner, and John Menard, owner of Team Menard, announced Oct.
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2003 -- Panther Racing LLC and Team Menard have merged to form a two-car effort for the 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season, John Barnes, Panther Racing co-owner, and John Menard, owner of Team Menard, announced Oct. 27.
The team still will be known as Panther Racing, and Menard has been added as a partner in the team. The driver and sponsors of the second Panther Racing car will be announced in the near future.
On Oct. 11, Tomas Scheckter was named as the driver of the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone for 2004, replacing two-time IRL IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., who will drive for Marlboro Team Penske.
The merger of Panther and Menard brings together two of the most successful teams in IRL IndyCar Series history. The teams have combined for four IndyCar Series championships, 24 race wins and 28 MBNA Poles.
"John Menard and Panther Racing have been long-time IRL supporters, and we have shared a lot of common interests over the last few years, particularly our relationship with General Motors and Chevrolet," Barnes said.
"As we enter the 2004 season, we believe we will provide our sponsors and suppliers a much stronger force on the track having John Menard as part of the Panther Racing family."
Menard has been involved in Indy-style racing since the early 1980's, and in September, Menard Inc., a Midwest chain of home-improvement stores that he owns, became the co-title sponsor of the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series, the official development series of the IRL.
"The Panther Racing merger and our Menard stores' new partnership with the Menards Infiniti Pro Series will continue our tradition and participation in the Indy Racing League's great American sport of open-wheel racing," Menard said.
The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season begins with the Toyota Indy 300 Feb. 29, 2004 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series season begins Feb. 29, 2004 with the Homestead-Miami 100 at HMS.