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NASCAR/IRL: Menard 'Crushed' by Tony Stewart's Actions

18 April 1999

By Terry Callahan
The Auto Channel
Tony Stewart
John Menard filed a lawsuit for $500,000 against NASCAR's Tony Stewart this week. Stewart is planning on running his own car/team in the Indy 500. Menard was also successful in getting a Wisconsin judge to file an order prohibiting Stewart from driving for anyone other than the Menard Team at Indy.

Stewart drove for John Menard the past two seasons in the Indy Racing Leage, winning the series championship in 1998. The Indianpolis 500 is the crown jewel of the series, paying more than $1 million to the winner of the race. Stewart's lawyers have reviewed his contract. They say Stewart had fulfilled all his obligations.

"As I've said all along, we believe we have a contract with Tony to drive for Team Menard in the 1999 Indy 500," said Menard. "I have no desire to keep Tony from driving in the 500. We have entered a second car, intending for him to drive for us. We have a car for him that just turned the fastest practice lap (227 mph) in the IRL era at the Speedway. I am simply crushed that after all I have done for Tony to further his career that he would even thi nk of not living up to his obligations."

Menard claimed that he would suffer financially if Stewart did not represent Team Menard at Indy. John Menard, owner of a large chain of home improvement stores in the Midwest, is in the top 50 on the list of richest Americans. Menard is worth nearly $1 Billion. For the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Season, Stewart is sponsored by The Home Depot. The chain is one of Menard's biggest competitors in the home improvement marketplace.

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