Richard Childress Racing
May 1, 2012
Paul Menard Event Preview: Aaron's 499
"Anything can happen at Talladega Superspeedway."
Event Preview Fact Sheet
No. 27 Turtle Wax/Menards Chevrolet
May 6, 2012
Race Notes and Quotes:
This Week's Turtle Wax/Menards Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway ... Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 388 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet was last seen on track at Daytona International Speedway in February, where Menard earned a sixth-place finish in the Daytona 500.
Talladega Days ... In 11 starts at Talladega Superspeedway, Menard has earned one top-five and six top-15 finishes, completed 80 percent of his laps (1,671 of 2,089) and led for 18 circuits. He has an average starting position of 20.4 and an average finishing position of 22.5. His best finish of second was recorded in his October 2008 visit to the 2.66-mile race track. Menard recorded his best start of fifth on two occasions: October 2008 and April 2011. He also earned one pole award (April 2005) in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and one win (September 2003) in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
Getting Loopy in 2012 ... With nine points-paying events of the 2012 season complete, Menard sits 14th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 29points out of the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup spot. In his sophomore year with RCR, Menard has an average starting position of 21.4, an average finishing position of 16.4 and maintains an average running position of 19.04. The Eau Claire, Wis., native ranks second in the NASCAR Loop Data category Closers, advancing an average of 2.1 positions in the final 10 percent of the race, and has completed 99.4 percent of his laps (2,909 of 2,926).
#QS400 or Bust ... Quaker State and Menards have kicked off a consumer sweepstakes offer that will run through May 15. Fans can visit their nearest Menards for real durable Quaker State motor oil and a chance to win an all expenses paid trip for two to the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. For details and to enter, visit your local Menards store. See www.Menards.com for locations.
Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3 ... The No. 27 Richard Childress Racing team will participate in a Goodyear Tire test session May 8 - 9 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Menard will be available for questions from members of the press inside NHMS' infield media center during the lunch break on May 9.
Race Rewind ... Menard started the No. 27 Chevrolet from the fifth position in last April's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway and spent the majority of the afternoon in the top 10. A spinning car on the race track separated Menard and drafting partner Regan Smith, but the RCR driver quickly found another partner until the final caution period of the race when he found himself on his own for the restart. Menard fell back to as far as the 20th position, but battled back to bring home a 12th-place finish. Some notable NASCAR Loop Data statistics from his April 2011 performance: Menard made 465 green-flag passes and 376 quality passes (both the second-highest of all drivers). He also received the third-highest driver rating with a 103.4.
In the Rearview Mirror: Richmond ... Menard drove the No. 27 NIBCO/Menards Chevrolet to a 13th-place finish, his career-best finish at the 0.75-mile race track, after starting in the 31st position under the lights of Richmond International Raceway. The RCR team was forced to unload the backup neon yellow machine on Friday afternoon after Menard made contact with the outside turn four wall during the first of two practice sessions. A number of minor chassis and air pressure adjustments made throughout the 300-mile race allowed Menard to gain ground.
About Turtle Wax ... For over 70 years, Turtle Wax has remained a family-owned company based in the Chicago area. Turtle Wax is the global leader and the most widely recognized name in total car care products, selling over 1,250 products in the retail and commercial markets in 90 countries worldwide. For more information on Turtle Wax, please visit www.turtlewax.com.
PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
You had a sixth-place finish at Daytona International Speedway and Richard Childress Racing is well-known for its solid restrictor-plate program. How do you feel about heading to Talladega Superspeedway?
"Anything can happen at Talladega (Superspeedway). We went into Daytona (International Speedway) with high hopes but wound up wrecking two cars in the Budweiser Shootout and the Duel 150 before finishing sixth in the Daytona 500 in our third car. We definitely had a roller coaster ride during Speed Weeks. Unfortunately, at Talladega you don't have that many opportunities to get a backup car out. RCR always brings great Chevrolets to these restrictor-plate tracks and I'm confident we'll have speed when we unload. What will matter is what NASCAR does with the engine package and the cooling package and then we need to stay out of trouble."
What did you think of the rules package for Daytona International Speedway?
"I think NASCAR accomplished what they wanted to. You can still two-car draft, but not for more than a lap. The struggle that we had, and most of the garage had, was even though you didn't run in a two-car draft, the engine temperatures were still through the roof. Even in the pack, while you're riding three-wide in a group of 20 cars, the cars still run hot, which increased the danger of the motors blowing up. When you duck out, it takes a long time for the car to cool off. I think there needs to be something done with the cooling packages, maybe open the grill up a little more, something to get us to run a little cooler. We're right on the edge now of being too hot."
Was racing at Daytona International Speedway more like the old way of 'pack' racing or a hybrid of that and the tandem drafting?
"It's more like the old way of restrictor-plate racing. I know they were hoping for a hybrid of the two, where a couple cars could take off for a while and then they'd have to fall back, but it was definitely more like the old way. You saw guys get single file around the bottom and ride around. There were probably six of us that were in the lead group for almost half the race that just rode around the bottom. We weren't really racing, but rather trying to maintain our engines and take care of our equipment. There are pros and cons to it. Some people like it and some people don't."
Is there some kind of an unspoken agreement that you are all riding around together and you take turns poking out to cool the engine off?
"If you poke out then someone is going to drive up on your inside and pass you. That's the way it works."