Rahal Letterman Racing Partners With Menards and Johns Manville for 2005 Vitor Meira Entry HILLIARD, Oh. - Rahal Letterman Racing announced today the formation of a partnership with longtime open-wheel racing proponent Menards Home Improvement...
Rahal Letterman Racing Partners With Menards and Johns Manville for 2005 Vitor Meira Entry
HILLIARD, Oh. - Rahal Letterman Racing announced today the formation of a partnership with longtime open-wheel racing proponent Menards Home Improvement Centers and with Johns Manville, a leading manufacturer of quality building materials, for the entry of Vitor Meira in a Honda-powered Panoz in the 2005 IRL IndyCar Series championship. Meira will enter his first full-season with Rahal Letterman Racing after having run 14 of 16 races for the team in 2004 en route to an eighth-place finish in the IndyCar championship.
"I am very pleased that we were able to join with John Menard, who has been a longtime supporter of open-wheel racing and an industry leader like Johns Manville for our 2005 IRL IndyCar Series effort," said three-time IndyCar champion Bobby Rahal. "Over the years John has repeatedly demonstrated his passion for open-wheel racing, and his support and dedication to the IRL IndyCar Series since its inception is well-documented."
"Bobby Rahal's commitment to success is also a core value of Menards, we both share the same principles in racing and in our business," said John Menard, whose Eau Claire, Wis.-based home improvement store chain totals more than 200 locations in 10 upper Midwest states. "The opportunity to partner with Rahal Letterman, Johns Manville and my friend Vitor Meira creates a program that will have success on the track and at Menards."
Meira is entering his fourth season in the IndyCar Series having run parts of the 2002 and 2003 seasons for Team Menard. Meira joined Rahal Letterman Racing in April of 2004, when the team expanded its IndyCar program to a multi-car effort. Meira posted six top-five results and 11 top-ten finishes in 14 races for Rahal Letterman. He captured the pole position at Milwaukee and twice finished second (Richmond and Kansas). At Kansas, he finished behind his teammate Buddy Rice by .0051 of a second, the second closest finish in series history. For his on-track efforts, Meira was named the 2004 IRL Rising Star and was the recipient of the Tony Renna Memorial Award.
"The opportunity to drive for Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and John Menard would be a thrill for any driver," said Meira. "For me it represents the people who have given me the opportunity to compete in the IndyCar Series over the last few years. Last season, we were able to make great strides at Rahal Letterman and we finished in the top-ten of the championship, despite running fewer races than all the other drivers. This year, with a full off-season of testing and strong support from the team and our sponsors at Menards and Johns Manville, we have an opportunity to run for the championship and that is exactly what we are preparing to do."
The #17 Rahal Letterman Team Menards/Johns Manville Honda/Panoz of Meira will combine with the Argent Mortgage/Pioneer cars of Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick to give Rahal Letterman Racing its first full-season three-car program. All three cars will be utilizing Firestone FireHawk tires.
Menards is headquartered in Eau Claire, Wis., and is the largest home improvement chain in the Midwest. John Menard, President and CEO, is an avid motorsports enthusiast who has been involved with racing throughout his career, including sponsorships in the Indy Racing League, American Speed Association, National Hot Rod Association, NASCAR's Busch and Truck Series, title sponsorship of the IRL's Menards Infiniti Pro Series, and a 25-year heritage at the Indianapolis 500.
Johns Manville is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium quality building materials, Formaldehyde-Free fiberglass insulation, commercial roofing, reinforcements, filtration media, and other specialty products. JM's 10,000 employees at 55 locations worldwide create innovative solutions for demanding applications. Founded in 1858, and world-headquarters in Denver, Colorado, www.jm.com JM has sales in excess of two billion dollars and holds leadership positions in all the key markets that it serves. As a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of business, we are stronger and ready for an even brighter future.
Rahal Letterman Racing, based in Hilliard, Ohio and co-owned by three-time IndyCar champion Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, has been a leading open-wheel racing operation for more than a decade with 19 victories, 26 poles and one series championship (Rahal in 1992 in CART) and an Indianapolis 500 championship (Buddy Rice in 2004). In 2005 Rahal Letterman Racing will enter three cars in the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series. Buddy Rice and rookie Danica Patrick will drive Honda-powered Panoz cars sponsored by Argent Mortgage Company and Pioneer Electronics. Vitor Meira of Brazil will pilot a Honda/Panoz sponsored by Menards Home Improvement Centers and Johns Manville.