Charlotte: Paul Menard preview

Menard Unfazed by Longest Race of the Year Menards Racing looks to rebound on home turf during this weekend's Coca Cola 600. Six hundred miles amounts to 400 laps of on track action at Charlotte, where Paul Menard's sights are set on a top-10...

Menard Unfazed by Longest Race of the Year

Menards Racing looks to rebound on home turf during this weekend's Coca Cola 600. Six hundred miles amounts to 400 laps of on track action at Charlotte, where Paul Menard's sights are set on a top-10 finish. The Menards/Dale Earnhardt Inc. pit crew will have its greatest test of the season as they will likely perform at least ten pit stops over the course of the race.

"It's a long night for everyone involved with the team," Crew Chief Doug Randolph said. "The driver, the pit crew, even the fans are in for a long night at Charlotte."

One person not worried about the 600-mile trek to the checkered flag is the driver of the No. 15 Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolet.

"We usually run 500 miles, so what's another 100?" Menard said. "I don't do anything different to prepare for this race. I just stay hydrated throughout the week and have a good meal the night before the race."

Menard got his feet wet at the 1.5-mile quad-oval during last weekend's Sprint Showdown. He qualified 12th and finished 16th after making contact with the outside retaining wall on lap one of the 40 lap event.

"We didn't test our Showdown car, so it threw us a curve when we unloaded," Menard said. "We had a great test with our 600 car though and we have a lot of good notes to look at depending on track conditions. We'll be playing mostly with shocks, maybe a little bit of spring rate to tune it to the weather conditions."

In two previous Cup races at Charlotte, Menards best qualifying effort is 17th (October, 2007) and his best finish is 14th (May, 2006).

Randolph says the team will race Dale Earnhardt Inc. chassis #56 in this weekend's race. The car was last run at Texas Motor Speedway where Menard turned in a 17th place finish. In addition to that on track experience, the team tested well with this particular car at Charlotte.

"This is the car we tested at Charlotte so we feel pretty good about it," Randolph reasoned. "After our contact with the wall on the first lap Saturday in the Sprint Showdown, our toe was out 3/8", so it was hard to learn much from that race that will help us this weekend. But we had a great test so we'll try to draw on that information and look for another strong day with the Menards Chevy."

-credit: dei

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Paul Menard