Archive for March 22, 2016

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(SPEEDWAY, Ind.) March 22, 2016 – Preferred Freezer Services (PFS), a global leader in advanced design and engineered temperature-controlled warehouses, announced today an expansion of their partnership with Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR). JR Hildebrand will return to the team for the Month of May, joining Josef Newgarden in carrying the blue and white Preferred Freezer Services colors at the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Additionally, PFS will be the primary partner on Newgarden’s No. 21 at the Grand Prix of Boston and the Honda Indy Toronto, site of his second win in 2015. PFS will also be an associate on the No. 21 car for all of the remaining events, while team owner Ed Carpenter will carry the famous PFS polar bear on his firesuit the entire Verizon IndyCar Series season.

The trio of Carpenter, Hildebrand and Newgarden earned the nicknamed “Team America” in 2015 when ECR was the only multi-car team with an all-American line up in the Indianapolis 500. Hildebrand hails from Sausalito, Calif.; Newgarden is a native of Hendersonville, Tenn.; Carpenter, from Indianapolis, is a hometown favorite.

“I’m really glad we were able to put everything together at ECR to continue our program with Preferred Freezer,” commented Hildebrand. “Especially going into this year’s 100th Running of the 500, you know everyone is bringing their absolute best to the fight. After the experience I’ve had over the last two years with this team, I know that we’re going to be bringing a race-winning effort ourselves. I’m looking forward to working with Ed and Josef again and putting the PFS entries up front throughout May!”

Hildebrand, 28, will be making his sixth Indianapolis 500 start and his second in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. He was named the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after finishing second to Dan Wheldon and won the 2009 Indy Lights Championship. In his five previous Indianapolis 500 appearances, Hildebrand has three Top 10 starts and three Top 10 finishes. He finished 8th in last year’s 500-mile race, the best finish of the three ECR drivers.

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As part of the unique arena of motorsports, ECR provides a platform for global companies to showcase their products while building relationships with their own customers. Preferred Freezer Services first joined ECR in 2014, backing the entry of Hildebrand in the Indianapolis 500. They increased their relationship with the team in 2015, supporting Hildebrand in both May races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After enjoying substantial gains in brand awareness both on and off track over the past two years, PFS will have a presence at all IndyCar races in 2016.

Carpenter’s business acumen has allowed him to garner a multitude of corporate partnerships throughout his career, assisting him with the formation of his own team in 2012. Entering his 14th year of Indy car competition as a driver, Carpenter has spent five of those years at the helm of ECR. The 35-year-old has led ECR to six race wins since it’s inception, including five in the past two years. He also won back-to-back pole positions himself at the Indianapolis 500 in 2013 and 2014.

“It is great to have Preferred Freezer back for another Month of May and to carry them on the cars all year long,” Carpenter stated. “It is always ‘cool’ to have the giant polar bear around.  This is a partnership that has grown each year and we are proud to see it grow again this year.  We all have high hopes for all of our team cars at Indianapolis and I can’t wait to get started.”

Newgarden, 25, is coming off a wildly successful season in 2015. Last year alone, he captured two race wins, his first career pole position, two additional podium finishes and led the most laps of all drivers.

“I’m thrilled to have Preferred Freezer Services on the car, they are such a great partner of ECR and very supportive of our efforts. It’s going to be a fun Month of May trying to get them a couple of wins at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” declared Newgarden. “I’m even more excited to have JR back on the team, he’s a phenomenal teammate and fantastic driver. I’m excited to work with him and Ed as ‘Team America’ again!”

Tim Broyles, ECR’s General Manager, oversees all day-to-day operations for the entire race team and serves as the race strategist for Carpenter. “I’m really excited to have JR back on board for the 100th, we consider him part of the ECR family,” said Broyles. “I really have to thank all of our partners that have stepped up to make this happen: Fuzzy’s Vodka, Stuart Reed, Gary Edwards, Trut Edwards, John Galiher and Preferred Freezer.”

The blue and white Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolets will make their debut on Thursday, May 12 as Newgarden and Hildebrand begin practice for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. ECR’s next race will be April 2 at Phoenix International Raceway, where Carpenter will join Newgarden in the team’s first two-car effort of 2016.

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. (March 22, 2016) – Team Penske announced today that Menards, the industry-leading home improvement store company with locations throughout the Midwest, will sponsor the No. 22 car and driver Simon Pagenaud for three races during the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series, including this year’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29th.  Menards will adorn the side of the No. 22 Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet at the Indy 500, at the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14, as well as the series’ return to Road America in June. The company will also be an associate sponsor on the No. 22 Team Penske car for the balance of the 2016 season.

Today’s announcement marks a return for Menards to the Verizon IndyCar Series. The Wisconsin-based company raced as a sponsor in INDYCAR from 1996-2003 but the return to action this season represents Menards first taste of series competition in 13 years. A Menards-sponsored car captured the Indy Racing League title in both 1997 with driver Tony Stewart and in 1999 with driver Greg Ray. With its track record of success in INDYCAR, Menards returns this season with a clear goal of winning its first Indianapolis 500. The company’s cars earned two Indy 500 pole positions in the past – with the late Scott Brayton in 1995 and Stewart in 1996. The top finish by a Menards-sponsored car in the Indy 500 came with Stewart during his championship season of 1997, when he finished fifth. Joining forces in 2016 with Team Penske, winners of a record 16 Indianapolis 500-Mile races, Menards hopes to produce its first win at Indy in the historic 100th running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Menards has a long and successful history in motorsports and we are excited to welcome them to Team Penske in 2016,” said Roger Penske. “John Menard and the entire Menards company have been long-time supporters of INDYCAR racing and it is special to have them on board as we celebrate the 50th season of Team Penske and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. We will be working hard to bring them their first Indy 500 victory with Simon this May and add to our team’s overall success at Indianapolis.”

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John Menard, Roger Penske and Simon Pagenaud today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum for the unveiling of the Menard-sponsored entry in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500

In addition to its history in INDYCAR competition, Menards has been a long-time supporter in other forms of motorsports, including NASCAR.

“INDYCAR and the Indianapolis 500 have been a huge part of Menards for as long as I can remember,” said John Menard.  “We’ve enjoyed a great amount of success, but the one thing missing is winning the Indy 500 in the month of May. What better team to return to the series with than Team Penske. Roger and his team have proven that they know how to win the big races. I think Simon will do a great job and I look forward to Menards becoming a part of the history of Team Penske.”

A family-owned company started in 1958, Menards is headquartered in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and has 297 home improvement stores located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Today, Menards is known throughout the home improvement industry as the low price leader; it’s famous slogan Save BIG Money!® is widely known and easy to remember.

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“I think we all remember watching the Menards Indy car competing with all of its success on track, so it’s amazing to become a part of that history,” said Pagenaud, who finished 10th at the Indianapolis 500 last season, leading 35 laps in his first start in the legendary race for Team Penske. “I’m excited to welcome Menards to the No. 22 Team Penske Chevy, not only at Indianapolis, but also at Road America, just down the road from their company headquarters. I am really looking forward to representing them this year and the opportunity to go out and win races wearing the Menards colors.”

The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Sunday, May 29th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to Road America for the first time in nine years this summer as the Road America Grand Prix will be run on Sunday, June 26th at the four-mile road course located in the hills of central Wisconsin.

Photos courtesy of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway