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Michael (Mike) Lanigan began his career with Mi-Jack Products in 1973 when he was sent to Indianapolis, Indiana to establish a new Mi-Jack Construction Equipment (C.E.) division. After a successful eight years building Mi-Jack’s C.E. division into the Midwest’s leading Aerial Lift Equipment Distributor with facilities throughout Middle America, he returned to Chicago as Executive Vice President. In 1989 Mike accepted the position of President of Mi-Jack. During his tenure as President, Mike along with his brothers, Jack, Bill and Dan have solidified their core business by entrenching Mi-Jack as America’s premiere mobile gantry crane manufacturer and the nations leading supplier of intermodal lift equipment. In addition, Mike has successfully launched Mi-Jack into the international business arena through ventures in Central and South America. Mike resides in New Lenox, Ill. with his wife Mary Kay and has five grown children.
Mike’s passion for racing began in the early 1970’s when he moved to Indianapolis to open an equipment distributorship. After his first introduction to the Indy 500 he realized that this was much more than a sport, it was a true experience. By the end of the 1980’s he was exposing the heart pounding excitement of open wheel racing to his friends and business colleges.
Wanting to get more involved, in 1992 he sponsored a team and driver for the Indy 500. During the next nine yeas, Lanigan through his company, Mi-Jack Products, continued supporting young drivers as they came up through the highest levels of the sport, building friendships, nurturing and encouraging their development. By the end of the 2001 season, he partnered with the first driver he sponsored, Eric Bachelart to start Mi-Jack Conquest Racing to compete in the IRL. In their first full season, the fledgling partnership secured the 2002 Rookie of the Year title for driver Laurent Redon.
Not forgetting the early experiences in open wheel racing, Lanigan realized that the diversity of the tracks is what made an IndyCar driver special. Their ability to be quick and nibble on the tight turns of the road and street courses combined with the sheer bravery of piloting the cars at speeds over 225 mph on the super speedways, is what made them fan favorites and eventually legends. He and Bachelart moved the team to the Champ Car World Series. For the next four years, Mi-Jack Conquest Racing would compete against some of the biggest names in motorsports, at tracks across the globe.
By 2006, the team had expanded to include two additional cars competing in the Atlantic series along with the two car effort in the Champ Car series. Again, wanting to do more, when the opportunity came along to revitalize the races in both Houston and Cleveland, without hesitation, Lanigan formed MJ Promotions.
MJ Promotion, through Lanigan’s leadership and vision, brought the energy back to the race weekend, creating a Fan Experience that filled each day with exciting racing on tracks specifically developed to bring the thrills up close to the fans. Both events grew in attendance and sponsorship and were considered a resounding success’ by fans and drivers alike.
In 2007, Mike joined actor Paul Newman and businessman Carl Haas as partners in Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing to compete in the Champ Car World Series. The team, one of the most successful in the history of Champ Car, quickly showed its stature by winning their fourth consecutive championship for driver Sebastian Bourdais.
In 2008, as one of the “cross-over” teams from Champ Car to the IRL, Newman Haas Lanigan, moved through the learning curve quickly, winning two races in their first season in the IRL. After the untimely death of Paul Newman in 2008, Mike agreed to sell back his portion of the team to the Haas family and in the following year teamed with racing legend Bobby Rahal and entertainment giant David Letterman in Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Mike Lanigan / Mi-Jack – Racing Involvement Time Line
1992 – Team sponsor with Dale Coyne Racing with driver Eric Bachelart for the 1992 Indianapolis 500 and the remainder of the ’92 series races
1993 – Team Sponsored with Dale Coyne Racing with driver Robbie Buhl in CART
1994 – Team Sponsored with Dale Coyne Racing with driver Alessandro Zampedri in CART
1995 – Team Sponsored with Payton Coyne Racing with driver Alessandro Zampredi in CART
1996 – Team Sponsored with Payton Coyne Racing with driver Roberto Moreno in CART. Driver sponsor Alessandro Zampedri at Team Scandia for the Indy 500
1998 – Team sponsor with Conquest Racing with drivers Felipe Giaffone and Andy Boss with in Indy Lights
2002 - Team Co-Owner in Mi-Jack Conquest Racing with driver Laurent Redon in the IRL
2003 - Team Co-Owner in Mi-Jack Conquest Racing with driver Mario Haberfeld in Champ Car
2004 - Team Co-Owner in Mi-Jack Conquest Racing with drivers Justin Wilson, Alex Sperafico, and Nelson Philippe in Champ Car
2005 - Team Co-Owner in Mi-Jack Conquest Racing with drivers Andrew Ranger and Nelson Philippe in Champ Car
2008 – Team Co-Owner in Newman Haas/Lanigan/Racing with drivers Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson in the IRL
2009 - Team Co-Owner in Newman Haas/Lanigan/Racing with drivers Graham Rahal and Robert Doornbos in IndyCar
2011 - Team Co-Owner in Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing