Paul Menard Returns to ARCA RE/MAX Series Roots in the Menards 200 CORNELIUS, N.C. (May 11, 2009) -- NASCAR driver Paul Menard gives credit to the ARCA RE/MAX Series for helping him develop as a driver on the way up to the Sprint Cup Series.
Paul Menard Returns to ARCA RE/MAX Series Roots in the Menards 200
CORNELIUS, N.C. (May 11, 2009) -- NASCAR driver Paul Menard gives credit to the ARCA RE/MAX Series for helping him develop as a driver on the way up to the Sprint Cup Series. So, when the opportunity to revisit his short track roots in the series' visit to Toledo Speedway came his way, Menard jumped at the chance to enter Sunday's Menards 200.
"I love short track racing and I'm looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of an ARCA car," said Menard. "From what I've seen, this year has proved to be one of the most competitive seasons in ARCA RE/MAX Series history, so the Menards 200 should be a great race to take part in. My thanks goes out to Frank Kimmel and the entire Kimmel Racing team for preparing the car that I'm going to drive on Sunday."
Menard has made five previous ARCA RE/MAX Series starts, four of which came in 2003. He scored two top-five finishes including one win at Talladega Superspeedway. Additionally, Menard has one pole award to his credit and a total of 106 laps led. His most recent series start came at Pocono Raceway in 2007.
Menard's participation in the Menards 200 will not be without its logistical challenges as the driver of the No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion for Yates Racing will attempt to race his way into the prestigious Sprint All Star event Saturday night during the Sprint Open.
Following his on track activities in Charlotte, Menard will board a plane for Toledo, Ohio first thing Sunday morning where he will get in a racecar that he's never seen before -- let alone raced in.
Menards only laps around Toledo Speedway came two weeks ago when the fulltime NASCAR driver took the half-mile semi-banked oval in his rental vehicle while in town for a Menards store appearance.
"It was like a mini test in a sedan," said Menard. "From what I can tell it's an interesting little racetrack that feels like a really small half-mile with wide corners. You're definitely not going straight for very long at any point on the track."
Menard's only cause for concern is the complex pit road entrance at Toledo Speedway.
"That's one heck of a pit road entrance," added Menard. "Getting on pit road will definitely be a challenge on race day when we pit for the first time and take that ramp down. It almost feels like a jump!"
Helping Menard in his quest for a victory in the 200-lap event will be Menards Camping World Truck Series driver Matt Crafton. Crafton will practice and qualify the No. 98 Johns Manville Ford on Saturday before turning the wheel over to Menard. Crafton will remain involved on race day as Menard's spotter.
In addition, the No. 98 team will be run under the direction of Crafton's Truck Series Crew Chief Bud Haefele with assistance from Jeriod Prince both representing Sandusky, Ohio based ThorSport Racing.
"It's great to help out a fellow Menards competitor," said Crafton. "I've practiced for Paul in the NASCAR Nationwide Series before, so I think I have a pretty good idea of what Paul wants in a racecar."
Like Menard, Crafton, Haefele and Prince will have their own logistics to battle, traveling to Toledo following Friday night's Camping World Truck Series event in Charlotte. The Kimmel Racing crew will be on hand to help out should inclement weather in Charlotte prevent any participants from making it to Toledo.