Richard Childress Racing
May 9, 2012
Paul Menard Event Preview: Southern 500
"It's not as tough as it used to be, but it's still pretty tough. Driving a foot off the wall, things are still going to happen."
Event Preview Fact Sheet
No. 27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet
May 12, 2012
Darlington (S.C.) Raceway
RACE NOTES and QUOTES:
This Week's Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet at Darlington Raceway ... Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 347 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet was last seen on track at Bristol Motor Speedway in March, where Menard drove it to a 10th-place finish. This chassis was also used in competition in 2011 at Auto Club Speedway, Dover International Speedway (May) and both events at Pocono Raceway.
Ready to Tame the Lady in Black ... In five previous starts at Darlington, Menard has finished each of his contested races and completed 96.7 percent of his laps (1,793 of 1,838). He has an average starting position of 28.4 and an average finishing position of 26.8 with his best finish of 15th coming in the May 2009 event. Last year, he claimed his best starting position, taking the green flag from 18th in the Southern 500.
Getting Loopy in 2012 ... With 10 points-paying events of the 2012 season complete, Menard sits 14th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 25 points out of the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup spot. In his sophomore year with RCR, Menard has a 21st-place average starting position, an average finishing position of 16.5 and maintains an average running position of 19.01. The Eau Claire, Wis., has completed 99.5 percent of his laps (3,103 of 3,120).
#QS400 or Bust ... Quaker State and Menards have 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 Menards.com for locations.
Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3 ... The No. 27 Richard Childress Racing team is participating 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 at 12:25 p.m. ET.
Race Rewind ... In the 2011 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, Menard started the No. 27 Chevrolet from the 18th position; however, a tight-handling condition prevented him from gaining ground. The Slugger Labbe-led crew worked during routine pit stops to adjust the handling challenges that Menard faced. As he entered his pit box, under caution on lap 124, he was tagged from behind by another car. The contact spun the No. 27 Chevrolet around, forcing the over-the-wall crew to pit the car as it faced backwards. The extended pit stop put the Eau Claire, Wis., native back in the 30th position for the restart. Menard moved forward through the field, but handling issues continued to torment the team throughout the remainder of the event. Menard reported throughout the race that the engine's temperature climbed during caution periods and it expired on the final lap, leaving the No. 27 Chevrolet to coast to the checkered flag in the 22nd position.
In the Rearview Mirror: Talladega ... Menard started from the 17th position in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway and was running third in the closing laps when he received heavy damage in a multi-car incident, relegating the No. 27 Turtle Wax/Menards Chevrolet team to a 17th-place finish.
About Pittsburgh Paints ... PPG Pittsburgh® Paints is a nationally recognized brand trusted by painting contractors, building owners, architects, designers, and homeowners for over 100 years. Products include interior/exterior pains and interior/exterior stains. For additional information, please visit www.ppgpittsburghpaints.com.
PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
Darlington Raceway is known as the track that is "Too Tough To Tame." Why do you think is it so hard?
"Since it was repaved, it's a totally different race track. The old surface had no grip at all; the tires would wear out in a couple laps and you would slide everywhere. Now, you run as fast as you do at the end of the run as you do at the beginning. It's not as tough as it used to be, but it's still pretty tough. You have to run up by the fence which leads to right-side damage and the infamous 'Darlington stripe.' Driving a foot off the wall, things are still going to happen."
How much of a sense of history do you feel when you walk into Darlington Raceway?
"Darlington (Raceway) is a throwback race track. You drive into this little town and all you see is this huge race track. It definitely allows you to feel the roots of NASCAR."
Compared to other big cities the Sprint Cup Series travels to, like Las Vegas, it's nice to go to a small place like Darlington. Which do you prefer?
"I enjoy all the places (race tracks) that we can drive to. It's always a fun drive down to Darlington. Honestly, when I get to the track, I generally don't leave again until after the race. We don't get to go out and experience the night life of the cities and all that. We just see the inside of the race track. Darlington is a good one (infield) though, for camping. It's pretty laid back."
At some tracks you can 'luck' into a good finish or a win. Is it possible to 'luck' into anything at Darlington Raceway because it's so tough?
"The only places I feel like you can 'luck' into one are the restrictor-plate tracks. Everywhere else you have to be good. You have to have a good car, good calls on pit road and drive well. Darlington (Raceway) just fits the bill. You need all of that to get a good finish or a win."