BUSCH: Chicagoland: Menard, Earnhardt Jr preview

Menards Racing Blisters into Windy City Looking for Win Number Three Mooresville, NC -- Menards Racing is on a hot streak. Going two for two heading into this weekend's USG Durock 300, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Daytona Busch Series race winner)...

Menards Racing Blisters into Windy City Looking for Win Number Three

Mooresville, NC -- Menards Racing is on a hot streak. Going two for two heading into this weekend's USG Durock 300, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Daytona Busch Series race winner) and Paul Menard (Milwaukee Busch Series race winner) hope to continue the Menards Racing rush at Chicagoland Speedway.

Earnhardt Jr. will pilot the No. 8 Menards/DEI Chevrolet and Menard will wheel the No. 11 Turtle Wax Ice/Menards Chevrolet in Saturday's 200-lap event.

Given the proximity of the 1.5-mile D-shaped tri-oval in relation to a bevy of Menards store locations, including the nearby Joliet location, another win for Menards Racing would be icing on the cake to an already exciting and successful summer.

This season has proved to be the standout year of Paul Menard's racing career. Menard celebrated his first NASCAR Busch Series win two weeks ago in front of a hometown crowd at the Milwaukee Mile. Currently ranked eighth in championships standings, Menard has nine top ten finishes to his credit. Menard's success on intermediate tracks like Chicagoland, makes the 25-year old driver one to watch during this weekend's on track activity. Menard will pilot the same race cars in the Cup and Busch events at Chicagoland that he drove to tenth and seventh place finishes, respectively, in Atlanta earlier this year.

Menard's most recent run with this particular Busch Series car was at Kentucky Speedway where he brought the 11 car home in ninth. Likewise, Menard piloted a Turtle Wax sponsored Chevy to a ninth place finish in last year's race at Chicagoland. The Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver hopes to better those placements and knows having a teammate on the race track will help.

Enter Dale Earnhardt Jr., who like Menard, is a one man show when it comes to intermediate track racing. Since he began full time in the Cup Series, Earnhardt Jr. has won at Texas, Atlanta, Dover and Chicago. A season ago, Chicagoland Speedway proved the site of Earnhardt Jr.'s lone 2005 Cup victory. This weekend's USG Durock 300, however, marks Earnhardt Jr.'s Busch Series debut at the track; a surprising statistic considering his record includes 89 Busch Series starts and 21 wins.

Paul Menard Quote -- "I think our intermediate program is where we need it to be and that helps going into a busy weekend. I think the added time on track, with the Busch and Cup cars, helps keep my personal performance level up. Having our first win out of the way helps too. I think there is a lot to be said for momentum, though, so after trouble at Daytona, that's what we need more than anything this weekend. We need a solid top ten."

Crew Chief Dan Stillman Quotes -- "It seems like running both races (Busch and Cup) works for this team. It's pretty obvious when you look at the record and see that we've excelled at this sort of track, running the double duty schedule. I don't expect this weekend to be any different than say Atlanta; at the end of the weekend we had two top tens. Two is better than one."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Quote -- "Obviously it helps to be the defending race winner (going back to Chicagoland). All we can do is just head in there with the Menards/DEI No. 8 car, like any other race, knowing we've got a good chance to bring home the win."

"Tying my dad in anything is pretty awesome for me." -- Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose win at Daytona last week tied him for seventh in all-time series victories with his father and Harry Gant. Earnhardt Jr. is a two-time (1998-99) NASCAR Busch Series champion.

-mr/dei-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Paul Menard , Harry Gant