Fontana II: Paul Menard preview

NOTES OF INTEREST ON THE CALIFORNIA CUP CAR Nextel Cup Primary Car: Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chassis ...

NOTES OF INTEREST ON THE CALIFORNIA CUP CAR

Nextel Cup Primary Car: Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chassis #022/ Back up Car #037

Last Raced: Car #022 was raced at California in February (finished 20th) and at Michigan in June (finished 12th). Most recently, it was race at Michigan in August where an engine problem relegated the No. 15 team to a 39th place finish. At the time of the engine problem, Menard was running solidly in the top-20.

Interesting Cup Fact: Last Fall, Menard nearly won the California Busch race. Menard was leading the race and took the white flag, but ran out of gas coming around to take the checkered flag. Despite being short on fuel, Menard managed his career best California finish, a fourth place finish, in the event.

OVERALL NOTES OF INTEREST

DEI and Menard Ready for Intermediate Track Success

Menard's best Cup finishes have been on intermediate style race tracks. Not only did Menard finish 20th in the spring race at California Speedway, but Menard also scored his season best finish of 12th in the June race at Michigan. Additionally, Menard has had finishes of 7th (Atlanta -- 2006); 14th (Charlotte -- 2006); 17th (Homestead -- 2006); 20th (Indianapolis -- 2007); and 15th (Texas -- 2007) at this type of track.

Raybestos Rookie Power

Currently, Menard stands third in overall Raybestos Rookie ratings. He has 173 points; 43 points behind Juan Pablo Montoya who leads the battle with 216 points. Menard has won Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors in four events this season, including California, Richmond, Phoenix and Watkins Glen.

Standings Status

Paul Menard is currently 36th in Driver's Points, while the No. 15 team gained one position to 29th place in Owner's Standings following last weeks race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The team is has a 253 point cushion on the top-35. Menard's prowess on intermediate style racetracks should aid his Dale Earnhardt Inc. backed team in its quest towards the top-20 in owner's standings beginning with this weekend's event at California Speedway.

QUOTES ON CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY

Paul Menard on the Sharp AQUOS 500: It's good to be back on an intermediate track. I like California and Michigan because you can pass in the corners and the way the groove is at this track, you'll see guys racing three wide. I'm not sure what it is about California that I like so much, but of course it helps to have had a top-20 in the spring race...that always helps with the confidence going back to the track. With that we know going into this weekend that we should be solid in race trim and qualifying should be a breeze compared with last time we went there. I don't miss having to qualify on time, that's for sure!

Nextel Cup Car Chief "B" Hoover on the Sharp AQUOS 500: We think this is one of our best tracks for set up wise and Paul likes it helps. We had a great run last week considering short tracks aren't necessarily our specialty as a team, but it helps to go to a place like Bristol and run in the top-25 like we did. That momentum will definitely be a factor this weekend, since I think we're proving ourselves as a team that can run up front week in and week out. I think it's safe today, everyone is hoping for a top-10 this weekend.

-credit: dei/mr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya