A native of Eau Claire, Wis., John Menard has dedicated a great portion of his life to racing and the pursuit of victory. In 2000, Menard looks to build on the success of 1999 as his Team Menard IRL entry driven by Greg Ray captured the Indy Racing League Championship. Menard will field in addition to the IRL effort, a NASCAR SuperTruck entry driven by Brian Reffner as well the Winston Cup entry in conjunction with Robby Gordon. He is the sole owner of Menard, Inc., the Midwest regional chain of lumber/home improvement stores that is the third-largest such chain in the United States. John Menard started his business in 1960, selling lumber on weekends while his competition at the time was typically closed. He founded Menard, Inc., in 1972. Menards stores have since grown to more than 140, covering nine states while employing more than 18,000 associates. His pursuit of excellence was transposed to Indianapolis-style racing in 1979, and his drivers through the years have included Herm Johnson, Mark Dismore, Arie Luyendyk, Gary Bettenhausen, Nelson Piquet, Al Unser, Scott Brayton and Eddie Cheever, Jr. In 1996, Team Menard embarked on the inaugural Indy Racing League season with rookie driver Tony Stewart, who finished second in the opening event at Walt Disney World and went on to take Rookie of the Year honors at that year’s Indy 500. In the 1996-97 IRL campaign, Stewart and Team Menard claimed both driver and entrant championships. Menard, a driver himself, has competed in karting, snowmobile racing, ice racing, and generally enjoys competing at all levels of life.