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A Menard 4ord/Chord question/

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  • A Menard 4ord/Chord question/

    Team Menard asked IndyCar if it would be possible to use the real Chevy engine after all teams got the Chord, I don't know what the answer was. Assuming that Team Menard runs the Chord at Kentucky, will this be the first time Team Menard ever ran an engine in a race they didn't build. I have my doubts, because in the early years I know he ran a Chevy in '82 and a Cosworth in '84 with Herm Johnson. Herm had two decent starting positions, a 14th and a 9th. I was there in 1982, looks like that was Menard's first year, I checked the previous five years. Menard either wasn't there in 1983 or didn't make the show. The Menard name doesn't show up again in an Indy grid until 1990 with Jim Crawford in a "Lola Buick." In '91 the grid list wasn't "owner specific," but usual Menard sponsors Quaker State and Glidden were there, as was Jim Crawford again, all in "Lola Buick's." In '92, Menard cars were still listed as "Lola Buick's." '93 was the first year the engine was listed as a "Menard," we all know the history from there.

    1, What year did Menard first start building Buicks?

    2, With both John Menard and Herm Johnson both being from Wisconsin, did John just sponsor Herm with some other owner, or did he have a team?

    The shame of the Menard/Johnson duo was that they did so well, yet didn't continue, they qualified in the top 15 twice, and finished in the top ten both times, 8th in '84.

    In spite of those who seem to "hate the rich guy," I think John Menard is one of the biggest assets to IndyCar there is. I think that the inability to build his own engines, coupled with Paul Menard's efforts in ARCA, BGN, CTS and WC is a serious threat to having a Team Menard in IndyCar racing, I hope that won't happen.

    It was fun going back through Indy 500 stats to look this all up and be reminded of all the great "names" in Indy 500 history, whether it be owners, drivers or sponsors. It is great to recall driving up to Indy from Florida in 1982 with my 11-year old son for Fast Thursday/Friday and the first "Q" weekend. It was near the end of the snake pit era, and I walked a tightrope between being in the stands with my son and limiting the amount of "education" he would get from the snake pit, he was "enlightened." That was some year, I have some great stories I can't tell.

  • #2
    Robby Gordon used a Katech engine in 1999 for the second Menard entry at the Speedway.

    Comment


    • #3
      Don't worry ------ Team Menard "will be there" next year.
      The transformation is complete. The Indy 500 is the only IndyCar race that matters.

      Comment


      • #4
        As you all recall, last year there were two "Chevy" engines being used. Team Penske ran the Gen I Chevy- basically the Olds Aurora engine rebadged as a Chevy. The other Chevy teams used the Gen II Chevy.

        Both versions had less HP than the Infinti.

        So the precedents were set- to have two versions of the Chevy Indy V-8, and for Chevy to have less HP than the Japanese competition.
        If you do what you've always done...

        you'll get what you've always gotten.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TxIndyFan
          As you all recall, last year there were two "Chevy" engines being used. Team Penske ran the Gen I Chevy- basically the Olds Aurora engine rebadged as a Chevy. The other Chevy teams used the Gen II Chevy.
          Yes, and the Gen II's were phased in. Some teams got Gen II's faster than others (whether by choice or supply, I don't know). At the early races last season, teams other than Penske were running Gen I's, while others had Gen II's.

          There was also at least one Infiniti model that was introduced mid-season during either 2001 or 2002.

          Based on this, I am not sure why folks here were raising such a stink over the introduction and phase-in of the Gen IV.

          I am actually surprised, considering some of the talk, that Menard is going with the Gen IV, unless they were told they had to.
          One driver's "fuel strategy" is another driver's "speed up or we will park you!"

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          • #6
            Mackie, this is from memory so it may be slightly inaccurate. A little more data about Menard's old days:

            Herm Johnson attempted to but failed to qualify for Indy in 1981. Subsequently he went to Michigan for the inaugural 500 and had the big pit fire. Menard was the sponsor that year too. I believe that they had a Lightning/Chevy package that year, then upgraded to the Eagle/Chevy combo for 1982.

            Johnson was a hot shot in Super Vee's in the late 1970's, battling with guys like Bob Lazier and Tom Bagley. I think Menard was also involved with Herm during these early days.

            They were quite successful when they did get into the Indy 500. Unfortunately Herm had two huge crashes in practice in both 1985 and 1986. I believe the last one is what prompted Herm to hang it up. He was running fast both years too. A shame. Derek Daly almost stuck Menard's backup in the field in 1986, he was actually on a qualifying run good enough to bump in when it was cut short by rain.

            Menard stayed away from Indy until a last minute deal was hatched with Johnny Rutherford in 1989, with Cosworth power. Phil Casey was the chief wrench. They were too slow to make the race.

            In 1990, Menard ran Jim Crawford and Gary B in Lola/Buick's. This was the year of Crawford's high flyer practice crash. Menard came back in 1991 with Gary B and Cogan in Lola/Buick's; Crawford had moved back to Kenny Bernstein's Buick team with Quaker State sponsorship. Gary B set fastest time that year, but did a half spin on the opening lap (which indirectly eliminated Buddy Lazier's maiden run) and did not do much in the race. Cogan was flying early on, coming from mid-pack to bottom half of the top 10 in about 20 laps. Then he tried to go 4-wide on a restart into T1 and tangled with Roberto Guerrero. Ended his career basically after a wheel penetrated the cockpit and fractured his arm.

            In 1992, Menard ran Gary B and Piquet until Piquet's crash. Replaced him with Big Al who ran 3rd that day. Still Lola/Buick's at this point.

            1993 was the first Menard engine IIRC, at this point he had basically taken over the Buick program. Ran Gary B, Geoff Brabham, Piquet, and Cheever at Indy that year to middling results.

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            • #7
              While I fully like the idea of smaller engine builders like Menard versus factory sealed deals why exactly would Menard want to continue running the Gen III ? Up until this point they have shown just a slight HP/Speed advantage over the other Chevies and no where close to being able to compete with T & H. Not to mention wasn't it Menard who made a comment at Indy about not wanting to run a second car because it wouldn't have a chance with the Gen III ? If so why would you want to continue with a motor that is obviously not going to cut it unless it is pure arrogance of wanting to do it your way, and while some arrogance is needed to get to where Menard is in the business world i am sure he didn't get there by cutting of his nose in spite of his face. I would be more apt to think he is bugging Chevy about letting him be a builder next year.

              Is it May yet ?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Shadow101
                [B]Herm Johnson attempted to but failed to qualify for Indy in 1981.[B]
                <major snips>

                Just adding...Menard's first year was, I believe, 1980. They had a Lightning-Offy (ex-Morales/Pancho Carter, I think?) and were a mile an hour or so too slow to make it. They came back next year with the same car with a small block in the back and homebrew ground effects underneath and again just missed. Then next year John bought a new Eagle-Chevy and they were on their way...
                You've worked so hard on the kidney. Very special -- the kidney has a very special place in the heart. It's an incredible thing. Donald John Trump

                Brian's Wish * Jason Foundation

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CrewChief
                  While I fully like the idea of smaller engine builders like Menard versus factory sealed deals why exactly would Menard want to continue running the Gen III ? Up until this point they have shown just a slight HP/Speed advantage over the other Chevies and no where close to being able to compete with T & H. Not to mention wasn't it Menard who made a comment at Indy about not wanting to run a second car because it wouldn't have a chance with the Gen III ? If so why would you want to continue with a motor that is obviously not going to cut it unless it is pure arrogance of wanting to do it your way, and while some arrogance is needed to get to where Menard is in the business world i am sure he didn't get there by cutting of his nose in spite of his face. I would be more apt to think he is bugging Chevy about letting him be a builder next year.
                  I also have unanswered questions as to why Menard would want to continue with the Gen III. Here are my thoughts on the matter but I have absolutely nothing to back them up.

                  There are only a few races remaining for this season so if he has plans for next season which do not involve him using a Chevy engine then he might not want to bother changing over to the Gen IV. This season has been an almost complete disaster, so far, for any team using Chevy engine so there would be little more to lose if he was planning on not using Chevy next season.

                  His purchase of TWR, which included the fully developed and approved ex-Infiniti engine, along with my above thoughts could mean he has another auto maker set to badge the TWR engine. I'm sure TWR has been continuing their development work on that motor so it should still be up to date.

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                  • #10
                    He will use the Gen IV the rest of this year

                    There was a time when the reliability of the Gen IV was questioned and he may have considered running the Gen III the rest of the year.

                    There is no way he is going to give up the proven HP of the Gen IV now though.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CrewChief
                      While I fully like the idea of smaller engine builders like Menard versus factory sealed deals why exactly would Menard want to continue running the Gen III ? Up until this point they have shown just a slight HP/Speed advantage over the other Chevies and no where close to being able to compete with T & H.
                      Walt, one thing lost from the race broadcast last week from Gateway that I an surprised that no one picked up on, was the statement that Sam was running so well because he had a "new" version of the real Chevy (I'm not into PR Gen this and that). It was said that the engine had a new manifold that gave it more power, about 15 horsepower more. The talking heads went on to say that two cars had that engine, the Panther and Menard cars, because Menard developed the manifold. I had noticed all along that the Menard car had been faster then Sam, at least in practice and qualifying, and wished Sam had a chance to run the Menard engine, looks like he finally did, or at least part of it.

                      I have also said all along that I felt the Chevy way of the past, where individual approved builders had a chance to do their best at improving the breed was the best way to go. In support of this I will remind all on the NASCAR antique Ford engine, that throughout the years, in spite of the fact that NASCAR has rejected every attempt to upgrade for over a dozen years, has done nothing but get stronger, with horsepower gains every year. The reason for that is that the Ford builders, Yates and Roush, with help from Cossworth, and former Ford builder Penske, with help from Ilmor, have continued to find gains in horsepower to an engine that goes back to the '80's. Not enough proof, I know for a fact that the Ilmor aided Penske Dodge has helped at least one other Dodge team with a big horsepower gain with "plate" engines. I used the Ford example because the Chevy NASCAR engine, with the SB2 heads can't be compared to the small block of the past, but it too has evolved because Childress, Hendricks, Gibbs and DEI ALL are building their own version.

                      I think that as soon as T&H get their baptism in NASCAR, they too will learn the right way to go, give the teams the best they can and let them improve on it.

                      In IndyCar these past 3 years it has been new engines every year. Until this Chevy slug, they have always left R&D freely open, not so this year. They locked out all builders except Speedway and Menard and about gelded them. People like CamKing were not allowed to work their magic. Now we have the worst engine Chevy has ever built and look who made it better, Menard.

                      I think that as soon as NASCAR does the right thing and adopts small (3 liter) modern day 4-cam engines this sealed engine BS will end and all of racing will be better for it. Time to let the American Hot Rodders take their turn at them, that is how you improve the breed.

                      Why would John Menard want to continue to use the real Chevy, my guess is that he has the parts needed bought and paid for and enough to finish the season with, a lost season anyway, with less then a handful of races left. Unless Chevy will give the teams the Chord for free as a make up for their dismal failure, if I was John Menard I wouldn't pay for any, at least for Nazareth

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Shadow101
                        They were quite successful when they did get into the Indy 500. Unfortunately Herm had two huge crashes in practice in both 1985 and 1986.
                        In both years Menard ran off the shelf March/Cosworths. He also ran a March/Cosworth for Herm Johnson at Indy in 1984.
                        The Ayn Rand of Indycar

                        No one had to badge the Offy.

                        Crapping all over threads since 2000.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks all, it is hard to dig up the stats you need when all you have to go on is grids and results. That said, the Indy 500 site is still tops in my book in that area. The Indy 500 is about history, and the site is too.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mackie
                            Thanks all, it is hard to dig up the stats you need when all you have to go on is grids and results. That said, the Indy 500 site is still tops in my book in that area. The Indy 500 is about history, and the site is too.
                            Yeah, but nothing gets results faster than a thread here or at Eagle's nest!
                            "If TF members were given solid gold cars, some would complain about the color." - stnkypete

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mackie
                              Walt, one thing lost from the race broadcast last week from Gateway that I am surprised that no one picked up on, was the statement that Sam was running so well because he had a "new" version of the real Chevy (I'm not into PR Gen this and that). It was said that the engine had a new manifold that gave it more power, about 15 horsepower more. The talking heads went on to say that two cars had that engine, the Panther and Menard cars, because Menard developed the manifold. I had noticed all along that the Menard car had been faster then Sam, at least in practice and qualifying, and wished Sam had a chance to run the Menard engine, looks like he finally did, or at least part of it.
                              Guess who did most of the improvements to the real Chevrolet this year?
                              The transformation is complete. The Indy 500 is the only IndyCar race that matters.

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