Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Kobalt Tools 400: Paul Menard Race Preview

Paul Menard 

No. 27 Schrock/Menards Chevrolet Impala 

Event Preview Fact Sheet 

This Week’s Schrock/Menards Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway … Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 379 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet Impala was a brand new addition to the RCR fleet for the 2011 season and was last seen on track at Texas Motor Speedway in November, where Menard started fourth and finished 15th. The chassis was also used in competition at Kansas Speedway in October, where the 2011 Brickyard 400 winner started sixth and finished 12th. 

Viva Las Vegas … This weekend marks Menard’s sixth start at the 1.5-mile speedway. In his five previous starts, he has completed 98.4 percent of his laps (1,332 of 1,353) and has led for three paces. He has an average starting position of 37.8 and an average finishing position of 23.6, earning both his best finish of 12th and his best start of 18thin last year’s NSCS event (March 2011). 

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Race Rewind … In 2011, Menard started the No. 27 Chevrolet from the 18th position at the Las Vegas facility. Spending most of the 267 laps running in the top 10, the Menards team worked to tighten up the car’s handling throughout the afternoon. The Eau Claire, Wis., native took the checkered flag in the 12th position. 

In the Rearview Mirror: Phoenix … A promising weekend at Phoenix International Raceway went awry when Menard was spun in a multi-car incident. Damage from contact with the inside retaining wall required lengthy repairs on pit road, forcing the Tarkett/Menards team to go multiple laps down to the leader and relegating Menard to a 31st-place finish.
How has your history been racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
“Every time I got to Las Vegas it seems to go the same way our season went last year. We practiced really good and had a really fast car. We didn’t qualify as well as we practiced last year. Then, when it was time to race, we were just up and down all day. We were inconsistent last season and the race at Las Vegas was really inconsistent. We raced our way into the top five, had some problems, fell back and, ultimately, finished 12th. It just seems that every time we go to Las Vegas it is just up and down.”

It’s been a while since Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been paved. Is it changing? Is it getting a little more racy?
“It is. I love the track. It’s a really fun and racy track. It’s coming into its own a lot and the progressive banking is really nice. It’s pretty damn fast, too, so that makes qualifying really interesting. We actually did a tire test last fall and even with just the few cars that were there, we could rubber in the second groove and run it. Which as a race fan and a race driver, you want to have options to pass people. There you can run the bottom, run the middle and at times, run the top there. It’s a really fun race track.”

What do you enjoy doing when you are in Las Vegas?
“It’s really just a normal weekend for us. I don’t gamble so I just go back to the hotel, shower up and get a nice dinner somewhere. That’s probably the coolest part for me – all the choices of food you have. There are so many good restaurants there. It’s fun to try to find something different every night.”
//// RCR PR