Martinsville II: Paul Menard preview

Menard Looking for Short Track Success at Martinsville MOORESVILLE, N. C. (Oct. 15, 2008) -- As a short track savvy racer from Wisconsin, Paul Menard hopes to bring those much needed skills to Virginia for this weekend's TUMS QuikPak 500 at...

Menard Looking for Short Track Success at Martinsville

MOORESVILLE, N. C. (Oct. 15, 2008) -- As a short track savvy racer from Wisconsin, Paul Menard hopes to bring those much needed skills to Virginia for this weekend's TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

"Track position is key at Martinsville, so we'll concentrate hard on qualifying up front, getting a good pit selection, and keeping our nose (and tail, and sides!) clean during the race," Menard explained.

Menard's 16th place run in the spring race at Martinsville provides the driver of the No. 15 Menards Chevrolet with the perfect spring board for a top-10 run at the .526-mile track.

"It's a good old fashioned short track," Menard said of Martinsville Speedway. "You can find yourself charging the corners too hard, hurting your roll speed through the corner and bite off. Plus you'll use up your brakes in the process.

"It's amazing how hard these 850 plus horsepower ECR engines will pull you out of the corner, your speed is easily double from the center of the corner till when you have to brake again. Martinsville is probably the only track that we do that at besides the road courses."

Menard and his Dale Earnhardt Inc. race team worked on its brake package during a one day test at Rockingham Speedway earlier this weekend. According to crew chief, Doug Randolph, avoiding issues with the car's braking system is half the battle in earning a good finish at the challenging paperclip-shaped track.

"It's like that old saying goes, 'to finish first -- first you must finish'," Randolph joked. "To finish a race at Martinsville, you have to have a good braking system and the driver needs to take it easy on the brakes early on so that he has some left at the end."

The team will take a brand new racecar to the track this weekend, one that according to Randolph is a very light and fast car that should be up to the challenges that Martinsville Speedway often offers.

In addition to the on track action, the Menards Racing crew will welcome the opportunity to enjoy some of the world famous Martinsville hot dogs.

"Those hotdogs are delicious," Menard said. "I try to have one every year, but it's best not to eat it too close to the start of the race since I'll be sitting in the car for four solid hours!"

-credit: pm/dei

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