Coming off the strength of four top-five and six top-10 finishes in 2016, Paul Menard will once again pilot a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for a select number of races in 2017. Menard competed in eight NXS races during the 2016 season with his best finish of second coming at Watkins Glen International. The 36-year-old driver has two XFINITY Series wins under the RCR banner, the first coming at Michigan International Speedway in 2014 and the second at Road America in 2015.
Joining the RCR family for the 2011 season, Menard earned his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Brickyard 400. His total RCR numbers include 15 top-five and 47 top-10 finishes in competition.
The Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 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. In June, he made his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at The Milwaukee Mile. That same year, he made his first XFINITY Series start at Nashville Superspeedway (June) and his first premiere 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 Speedway (August) and driving to his first win at Talladega Superspeedway (September) after starting from the 38th position.
Menard started the 2004 XFINITY Series season competing for Andy Petree Racing. Midseason, however, he joined forces with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and earned his first XFINITY 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 XFINITY 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 cup series and won Rookie of the Race honors in four events. His first career cup series pole award came in his 39th career start at Daytona International Speedway in 2008. Menard made the move to Robert 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 XFINITY 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 series.
Joining the RCR family for the 2011 season with Labbe still in command, the year was highlighted with his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Brickyard 400. He went on to complete 2011 with four top-five and eight top-10 finishes with 82 laps led, and finished 17th in the driver championship point standings. The 2012 season 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 Cup Series in laps completed (10,406 of 10,442). In 2013, consistency played a role as Menard finished 17th in the championship standings on the strength of three top-five and nine top-10 finishes.
The 2014 season was a solid year for Menard as he recorded a career-best five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes en route to a 21st-place finish in the standings. Menard carried the momentum from 2014 to 2015, earning his first berth in the Chase for the premiere series championship with a 14th-place point finish in the familiar No. 27 Menards Chevrolet SS. He completed the 2015 season with two top-five, five top-10 and 21 top-15 finishes.
Randall Burnett joins Richard Childress Racing in the 2017 season, taking over the crew chief from Justin Alexander for the No. 2 NASCAR XFINITY Series entry that is shared among drivers Austin Dillon, Paul Menard and Ben Kennedy. This will be Burnett’s first role within the RCR organization.
Burnett has been around racing all his life. Growing up in Fenton, Missouri, he often built and raced his own late models in local events. He later attended UNC Charlotte, where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering before getting started in the racing industry.
Burnett comes to Richard Childress Racing after spending the 2016 season as the crew chief for RCR’s technical alliance partner, JTG Daugherty Racing. During the 2016 season, he led the team to two top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his debut season as a crew chief in one of NASCAR’s national touring series.
Prior to JTG Daugherty Racing, Burnett spent 10 years with Chip Ganassi Racing. During his tenure there, he served in multiple positions including lead race engineer, 7-post analysis engineer, lead team engineer and data acquisition engineer.
While at Chip Ganassi Racing, Burnett helped lead Jamie McMurray’s team to wins at both the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400. He also assisted in securing eight top-five and 17 top-10 finishes for rookie Kyle Larson in 2014.