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.
Coming off the strength of three victories and three pole awards as a crew chief in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Justin Alexander will remain in his role for the No. 2 Rheem/Menards team for the 2017 season.
After serving as the crew chief of the No. 27 NASCAR premiere series team at Richard Childress Racing, Alexander assumed the role of crew chief of the No. 2 Chevrolet in July and called the shots for the final 14 races of the season. The sophomore crew chief worked with numerous drivers on the No. 2 Chevrolet team throughout the 2016 season, including Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Ben Kennedy, Sam Hornish Jr. and Michael McDowell. Alexander made his first trip to Victory Lane, just one week after assuming his role as crew chief of the No. 2 team at Bristol Motor Speedway in August and again the following week at Road America. In total, Alexander captured seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes.
Alexander, 34, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at North Carolina State University where he struck up a friendship with Luke Lambert, crew chief for Ryan Newman and the No. 31 Chevrolet team. The two met while participating in the Formula SAE program and became roommates during and after college.
The Charlotte, North Carolina, native started his NASCAR career at Hendrick Motorsports as a shock specialist for the No. 24 and No. 48 teams in 2003. Two years later, he became lead engineer on the No. 48 team and moved to a R&D engineer in 2006. In 2009, he was named lead engineer for the No. 24 team. During his tenure, Alexander was part of five NASCAR premiere series championships.
Following his aspirations of becoming a crew chief, Alexander joined RCR and the No. 27 team in January 2014 as the lead engineer. Throughout 36 races of the 2014 season, Alexander contributed to the team’s career-best of five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes.
The 2015 premiere series season marked Alexander’s first as a full-time crew chief in NASCAR’s top-tier series. Alexander led the No. 27 team to its first bid in the Chase for the premiere series championship, ultimately finishing 14th in the championship driver point standings. With Alexander’s guidance on the pit box, Menard collected two top-five, five top-10 and 20 top-15 finishes. Alexander received four of the prestigious MOOG Problem Solver of the Race awards throughout the season. This award is presented to the crew chief that makes the biggest gain in lap average speed in the second half of each race.