Richard Childress Racing
April 17, 2012
Paul Menard Event Preview: STP 400
"Every time we go back to Kansas Speedway, it has more bumps. As the track wears out a little more, it really opens up the groove."
Event Preview Fact Sheet
No. 27 Zecol/Menards Chevrolet
April 22, 2012
Race Notes and Quotes:
This Week’s Zecol/Menards Chevrolet at Kansas Speedway ... Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 279 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet was last seen on track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, where Menard earned a seventh-place finish. This chassis was also utilized in 2011 competition at Texas Motor Speedway in November and at Kansas Speedway in October, where the Brickyard 400 winner finished 15th and 12th, respectively.
By the Numbers at Kansas ... In his six career Sprint Cup Series starts at Kansas, Menard has finished each of his contested races and completed 99.7 percent of his laps (1,546 of 1,550), leading for 11 circuits. He has an 11th-place average starting position and an average finishing position of 20.5. Menard made his best start of second and logged his best finish of eighth in his October 2008 appearance. He holds three top-10 finishes in five NASCAR Nationwide Series starts, claiming the pole position in his first visit to the 1.5-mile oval (October 2004) and made one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in July 2003.
Getting Loopy in 2012 ... With the first six points-paying events in the books, Menard sits 12th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 27 points out of the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup spot. In his sophomore year with RCR, Menard has an average starting position of 20.4, an average finishing position of 16.7 and maintains an 18.736 average running position. The Eau Claire, Wis., native ranks third in the NASCAR Loop Data category of Closers, advancing an average of 2.3 positions in the final 10 percent of the seven contested races, and has completed 99.3 percent of his laps (2,243 of 2,259).
Race Rewind ... At Kansas Speedway in June 2011, Menard started ninth but battled handling issues throughout the 267-lap event to finish 19th..
In the Rearview Mirror: Texas ... Menard drove the No. 27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet to an 18th-place finish in Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway after starting the “Quaker State green” and “Menards yellow” entry from the 11th position. A loose-handling condition developed during the first green-flag run and plagued the team throughout the 501-mile event.
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PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile race track, but every track presents its own special challenges. What are you faced with when you race there?
“At Kansas (Speedway) you are usually faced with the wind there. It’s what some people call a ‘cookie cutter’ track, but it has a lot of character. Every time we go back there, the track has more bumps. As the track wears out a little more, it really opens up the groove. It’s really racy; you can run all over it. They’re going to repave it after our next race, so it will be interesting to see what it is like in the fall. Right now, I think it’s a great race track. I know they had some surface problems so they have to repave it. It’s not overly fast, but it’s enough to get a good aero platform, but it’s also mechanically driven to get grip.”
Why do you think you and Slugger Labbe (crew chief) are so consistent on the mile and a half tracks?
“Slugger (Labbe) and I have always been able to put together a package that works on the mile and a half tracks. We’re constantly trying to fine-tune it and make it better. We feel good about our intermediate track program. From the way the bodies are hung, to the way we run our springs, shocks and sway bars – we feel confident going to those tracks.”
You’ve been around racing a long time. Are you amazed to see the changes that have been made on the outside of the race tracks that cater to the fans?
“Kansas Speedway is a perfect example. The first time I was there was about 2001 as an IndyCar race fan and there was nothing there – just the track and fields. Every time we go back there, there’s something new that is being built or has been built in the off-season. It’s become its own little city.”