Richard Childress Racing
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Driver: Paul Menard
Crew Chief: Nick Harrison
- Driver, No. 27 Menards Chevrolet SS
- Date of Birth: 8/21/1980
- Hometown: Eau Claire, Wis.
- Residence: Charlotte, N.C.
- Marital Status: Married, Jennifer
- Twitter: @RCR27PMenard
- Hobbies: Skiing, Dirt Bikes, Shooting, Boating, Go-karting
The Eau Claire, Wis., native first climbed behind the wheel of a go kart at the age of eight and competed in the Wisconsin area. He won two Briggs Class Championships during his karting career. Before making his NASCAR debut, he raced in the International Ice Racing Association, winning 10 IIRA events. Menard moved to the NASCAR Challenge Series, earning his first pole award and win at Elkhart Lake’s Road America during his rookie season (2001). In 2002, he earned two wins in the NASCAR Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series (Auto Club Speedway road course and Phoenix International Raceway).
In April 2003, Menard made his first career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start at Salem (Ind.) Speedway with Andy Petree Racing. That June, he made his first career Camping World Truck Series start at The Milwaukee (Wis.) Mile and that same year, made his first Nationwide Series start at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway (June) and his first Sprint Cup Series start at Watkins Glen International (August). The then 23-year-old competed in a total of four ARCA Racing Series events, earning his first pole award at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway (August) and drove to his first win at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (September) after starting from the 38th position.
Menard started the 2004 Nationwide Series season competing for Andy Petree Racing. Midseason, however, he joined forces with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and earned his first Nationwide Series pole award at Kansas Speedway in October. With six top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 2005, Menard finished the season a career-high sixth in the driver championship point standings. The following year, he tied the effort on the merit of his first career Nationwide Series victory at The Milwaukee Mile, seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes.
In 2007, Menard made the move to full-time competition in the Sprint Cup Series and won Rookie of the Race honors in four events. His first career Sprint Cup Series pole award came at Daytona International Speedway in 2008 in his 39th career start. Menard made the move to Yates Racing after the 2008 season and kicked off 2009 in the No. 98 entry. Heading into the 2010 season, Yates Racing merged with Richard Petty Motorsports and crew chief Slugger Labbe joined Menard under the RPM banner. The pair combined for a then career-best one top-five and six top-10 finishes. The Wisconsin native also returned to full-time Nationwide Series competition that year driving the No. 98 entry for Roush Fenway Racing, capping the season off with a fifth-place finish in the driver championship point standings, his career-best in the NNS.
Joining the RCR family for the 2011 season with Labbe still in command, the year was highlighted with his first Sprint Cup Series win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Brickyard 400. He went on to capture career-high numbers in 2011, including four top-five and eight top-10 finishes with 82 laps led, and finished 17th in the driver championship point standings. 2012 was a stellar year for the Richard Childress Racing driver as he recorded a career-high finish of 16th in the points, accumulating one top-five and nine top-10 finishes, while leading all competitors in NASCAR’s premier series in laps completed (10,406 of 10, 442).