North Putnam grad finds victory lane

Saturday, May 24, 2008
Putnam County native Jason Mendenhall (left) and 2007 Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti pose with the Borg-Warner Trophy.

INDIANAPOLIS -- As Andretti Green Racing has won two of the last three Indianapolis 500s, a big part of their success has been Putnam County native Jason Mendenhall. The North Putnam graduate works in research and development for the IndyCar Series team.

After earning degrees from Vincennes University and Purdue University, Mendenhall joined Barry Green's team as a fabricator, a position he retained before moving up to research and development in the last few years.

With Andretti Green struggling in 2006 (at least by their high standards), Mendenhall spent much of the year in the wind tunnel, trying to perfect the aerodynamics of the team's cars.

The work paid off, as the team returned to victory lane at Indianapolis and won the IndyCar Series championship, with Dario Franchitti winning both.

In Mendenhall's time with Andretti Green, the team has won two Indy 500s and three IndyCar Series championships.

Although Franchitti is gone from the team, they still look to make a strong showing in tomorrow's 500, as all four Andretti Green drivers start in the top 10, with Danica Patrick in fifth; Tony Kanaan, sixth; Marco Andretti, sixth and Hideki Mutoh, ninth.

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