Dover: Paul Menard preview

MENARDS RACING NOTES -- DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY No. 15 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet Impala -- Nextel Cup NOTES OF INTEREST ON THE DOVER CAR Nextel Cup Primary Car: Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chassis ...

MENARDS RACING NOTES -- DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
No. 15 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet Impala -- Nextel Cup

NOTES OF INTEREST ON THE DOVER CAR

Nextel Cup Primary Car: Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chassis #16/ Back up Car #101

Last Used: This is the first competitive appearance of car #16, although the team tested the car at Nashville Superspeedway in March.

Fun 'Cup' Fact: Menard has won Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors in two of the Car of Tomorrow events run this season.

OVERALL NOTES OF INTEREST

While Paul Menard has yet to lead a lap around the Monster Mile, the 26-year Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate for Dale Earnhardt Inc. counts Dover International Speedway as one of his top three favorite racetracks.

Past Successes a Boost for Menard

Menard's Dale Earnhardt Inc. lineage has a solid Dover track record to support Menard's desire for success at the high-banked, one-mile concrete oval. While racing for Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt Sr. notched three wins at Dover, sweeping the events in 1989. His understanding of the track translated to his namesake organization and in September of 2001, Dale Earnhardt Jr. brought home an emotional victory, winning the first race run following the September 11th attacks.

In addition to Dale Jr.'s momentous Cup victory, DEI has been strong on the NASCAR Busch Series side, as well. Dale Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. each own a pair of Dover Busch Series victories. Menard will look to his teammates for advice on how to battle the Monster Mile in his Nextel Cup rookie year.

There's More to Dover than the Racetrack...

Despite his focus on Dover success, racing isn't the only thing on Menard's mind when his plane lands in Delaware.

"There's this awesome steak joint in town." Menard said. "Cool Springs Fish Bar...you would never know it by the name, but it really is one of the best steaks I've ever had."

COT Rookie Power

Menard has won Rookie of the Race honors in two of the last three COT races (Phoenix -- 25th place; Richmond -- 16th place). Menard stands third in overall Raybestos Rookie ratings. He has 83 points, 48 points behind Juan Pablo Montoya who leads the battle with 131 points.

Working Towards Top-35

The No. 15 team sits 38th in Nextel Cup Owner's Standings, 191 points outside of the top-35. Despite missing last weekend's event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Menard's grasp on a locked in position is still within reach.

QUOTES ON DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Paul Menard on the Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Visa:

"I love racing at Dover. It's like going for a ride on a roller coaster. There's no other track that gives you that exact feeling. You shoot in the corner like a bullet! Our results at Dover don't really show how strong we've been there and how close we've come to leading laps and contending for a win." Menard continued. "It just seems like trouble has a way of finding me and I usually leave thinking about what could have been. Maybe 2007 will be the year I turn my Dover luck around."

Nextel Cup Car Chief "B" Hoover on the Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Visa:

"Paul likes Dover a lot. For a driver to go to a track thinking "I like this track" is a real boost for the whole team. Qualifying for this race is going to be tough, though. We've worked really hard on our COT program in the last couple of months and I think you've seen that improvement in the performances by all teams, but especially by the 1 and the 8 cars."

-credit: dei/mr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya