Darlington: Paul Menard preview

* Menard has made three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the 1.366-mile oval * Menard drove to a 15th-place finish in this race last season * The Eau Claire, Wis.-native holds down 20th place in the Sprint Cup Series point standings Paul...

* Menard has made three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the 1.366-mile oval

* Menard drove to a 15th-place finish in this race last season

* The Eau Claire, Wis.-native holds down 20th place in the Sprint Cup Series point standings

Paul Menard on Darlington: "There really is no other track like Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. It's a tight track for the most part, so the biggest thing will be making sure you're able to pass when you are able. Turns three and four are the best for that, so that's what we'll set our Ford Fusion up for. A good finish at Darlington is a pretty decent accomplishment and we're looking forward to getting there. If we can stay out of trouble, we're hoping this will be a really good weekend for us."

Crew Chief Slugger Labbe's Thoughts on Darlington Raceway: "The tire that Goodyear is bringing to the track this weekend should provide us with a lot of grip. The new pavement is starting to wear a bit, but the No. 19 team participated in the tire test at Darlington and after seeing the notes, we're pretty certain the tire will be pretty good.

"The cars run up by the wall in turns one and two at this place, so there isn't a lot of passing that happens at that end of the track. The exit to turn two is really tight. The ultimate groove is at the top of the track, but you can run a lower groove in three and four to pass, so we'll try to set up our Turtle Wax/Menards Ford Fusion for passing in those turns and worry a little less about one and two. Darlington is a tough track and it's a challenge for everyone. I have to get the car handling well and the driver needs to be up for the challenge of what the car is giving him both physically, mentally and mechanically. Our driver will be up for that."

Chassis History: Crew chief Slugger Labbe and the No. 98 Richard Petty Motorsports crew have prepared chassis No. 653 for this weekend's race on the 1.366-mile oval. This is the same Ford Fusion the team finished 17th with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway back in February.

Notes: Turtle Wax will adorn the hood of the No. 98 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford Fusion this weekend at Darlington Raceway.

The No. 98 team and Paul Menard will test at Gresham Motorsports Park (formerly Peach State Speedway) near Jefferson, Ga. next Tuesday.

Menard, who is also racing full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has posted five top-10 finishes in nine starts this year in that Series and has not finished outside the top 20. Menard holds down seventh place in the Nationwide driver point standings. Menard has made five starts at Darlington Raceway in that series. He has posted two top-15 finishes.

-source: rpm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Richard Petty , Paul Menard