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Team Menard & Nelson Piquet

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  • Team Menard & Nelson Piquet

    Does anyone have the inside story on how the (as it turned out ill-fated) deal between Menard and Nelson Piquet came together in 1992?
    "Only a fool fights in a burning house."-Kang

    "If you listen to fools....The Maaahhhhb Ruuuules....."-Ronnie James Dio

  • #2
    I don't know the story, but I wonder if they came together because Menard and his Buick powered entries represented maybe the best shot for a one off to do well at Indy? I believe NP stated he was retiring from F1 after the 1991 season to concentrate on business opportunities - so it's interesting that he was back in a car (and in an unfamiliar car/track) so quickly.
    Real drivers don't need fenders!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post
      I don't know the story, but I wonder if they came together because Menard and his Buick powered entries represented maybe the best shot for a one off to do well at Indy? I believe NP stated he was retiring from F1 after the 1991 season to concentrate on business opportunities - so it's interesting that he was back in a car (and in an unfamiliar car/track) so quickly.
      Nelson Piquet ended up retiring from F1 because an eye injury had reduced him to being little more than an also-ran, limiting his earning potential. Following the injury, Piquet said he decided to continue driving only for the money. He quit F1 because he no longer could get a fat contract to remain part of the circus. Piquet said he was persuaded to try Indy because he was handsomely paid.

      The ultimate competitiveness of any drive was no longer an issue owing to the vision damage.

      Piquet kept the eye injury secret for the remainder of his career.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by editor View Post

        Nelson Piquet ended up retiring from F1 because an eye injury had reduced him to being little more than an also-ran, limiting his earning potential. Following the injury, Piquet said he decided to continue driving only for the money. He quit F1 because he no longer could get a fat contract to remain part of the circus. Piquet said he was persuaded to try Indy because he was handsomely paid.

        The ultimate competitiveness of any drive was no longer an issue owing to the vision damage.

        Piquet kept the eye injury secret for the remainder of his career.
        Was the eye injury a result of his 1987 crash at Imola? That was a pretty nasty hit!
        Real drivers don't need fenders!

        Comment


        • #5
          Menard wasn't afraid to pay for higher-profile drivers. I'm sure he made it worth Piquet's while to give it a go. He reportedly struck up quite a friendship with de facto team leader Gary B. And he was very fast, before it went wrong.

          If he hadn't crashed, or maybe got away with a less severe accident, and with the crazy way race day turned out, who knows where he would've ended up.
          You have the IndyCar you deserve.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by dalz View Post
            Menard wasn't afraid to pay for higher-profile drivers. I'm sure he made it worth Piquet's while to give it a go. He reportedly struck up quite a friendship with de facto team leader Gary B. And he was very fast, before it went wrong.

            If he hadn't crashed, or maybe got away with a less severe accident, and with the crazy way race day turned out, who knows where he would've ended up.
            It was written at the time that Piquet - while taking to the track rather well - was getting impatient with the way they handled yellows during practice. USAC would put out the yellow a lot for track inspections and debris. To a point where he felt as if he could never seem to string together a good run of laps. When he had his crash, it was said that the yellow came out while he was on a hot lap going into turn three. He didn't back off the way he probably should have, and made a last-second turn to the pits, which upset the car, and sent it into a hard spin.

            I think it was the Marshall Pruett podcast where Jeff Andretti (also seriously injured in 1992), said he actually befriended Piquet that summer. They were both recuperating/rehabilitating from terrible leg/foot injuries, and sort of worked together to motivate themselves to return in 1993 (which they both did).
            Doctorindy.com

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post

              Was the eye injury a result of his 1987 crash at Imola? That was a pretty nasty hit!
              I have read that that crash caused him headaches tha kept him awake for most of the nights for quite some time.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Doctorindy View Post

                It was written at the time that Piquet - while taking to the track rather well - was getting impatient with the way they handled yellows during practice. USAC would put out the yellow a lot for track inspections and debris. To a point where he felt as if he could never seem to string together a good run of laps. When he had his crash, it was said that the yellow came out while he was on a hot lap going into turn three. He didn't back off the way he probably should have, and made a last-second turn to the pits, which upset the car, and sent it into a hard spin.
                I was standing in the photo tower inside turn 4 when he hit the wall. Back in the day the crew timed coming off of 4. Nelson was full song coming through 4 when the car stepped out just past the apex which set him off on the front end trajectory into the wall. There was no sudden move to make a turn into the pits, but there was some speculation he jumped off the power unsettling the rear.

                Working from memory, I believe the cause was he actually ran over something in the back stretch that was the cause for the yellow. A rear tire cut as a result is what caused him to spin. The hit occurred almost directly infront of me, was the loudest of bang I've ever witnessed and the shrouds of carbon fiber came raining down. The photogs and I all thought it was fatal to be honest. Kirk Steirwalt is the photog that took the photo from down near the pits (we called it the slot) where you see Nelson's helmet almost touching the wall.

                Nelson looked unbelievably solid and comfortable all week until that spin. In terms of how he and Menard got connected, back then John was in his all out assult of winning Indy and was "hiring guns". I heard John was informed Nelson was available and he approached Nelson. The deal was done very quickly.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Straightup82 View Post

                  I was standing in the photo tower inside turn 4 when he hit the wall. Back in the day the crew timed coming off of 4. Nelson was full song coming through 4 when the car stepped out just past the apex which set him off on the front end trajectory into the wall. There was no sudden move to make a turn into the pits, but there was some speculation he jumped off the power unsettling the rear.

                  Working from memory, I believe the cause was he actually ran over something in the back stretch that was the cause for the yellow. A rear tire cut as a result is what caused him to spin. The hit occurred almost directly infront of me, was the loudest of bang I've ever witnessed and the shrouds of carbon fiber came raining down. The photogs and I all thought it was fatal to be honest. Kirk Steirwalt is the photog that took the photo from down near the pits (we called it the slot) where you see Nelson's helmet almost touching the wall.

                  Nelson looked unbelievably solid and comfortable all week until that spin. In terms of how he and Menard got connected, back then John was in his all out assult of winning Indy and was "hiring guns". I heard John was informed Nelson was available and he approached Nelson. The deal was done very quickly.
                  Piquet had a sponsor, Arisco, I believe, that was to pay Menard, but never did. Menard’s deal with Piquet was for $500,000, supposedly.


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Updraught View Post

                    Piquet had a sponsor, Arisco, I believe, that was to pay Menard, but never did. Menard’s deal with Piquet was for $500,000, supposedly.

                    That would've been 1993 when Nelson returned in a bit of a surprise. 1992 it was menards, crestline and conseco if I remember correctly.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Straightup82 View Post

                      That would've been 1993 when Nelson returned in a bit of a surprise. 1992 it was menards, crestline and conseco if I remember correctly.
                      Correct,...except Glidden for Crestline.

                      piquet.jpg
                      ​a bad day at the race track beats a good day at work

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