BUSCH: Pikes Peak: Paul Menard preview

Menard Brings Streak of Five Consecutive Top-10 Finishes to Pikes Peak For Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Salute to the Troops 250 FOUNTAIN, Colo. (July 19, 2005) -- Paul Menard and his ...

Menard Brings Streak of Five Consecutive Top-10 Finishes to Pikes Peak For Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Salute to the Troops 250

FOUNTAIN, Colo. (July 19, 2005) -- Paul Menard and his #11 Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolet team of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., bring a streak of five consecutive single-digit NASCAR Busch Series finishes to Pikes Peak International Raceway for this weekend's Salute to the Troops 250.

Menard, the 24-year-old out of Eau Claire, Wis., brought home a modest seventh-place finish last weekend on the mile oval at New Hampshire. It was the latest in a string of top finishes that began with his first career Busch series top-five at Kentucky, and was followed by a third at Milwaukee, sixth at Daytona, and ninth at Chicago.

In that five-week stretch, Menard has been closing in on the top 10 in the drivers standings. He sits in 12th heading into this weekend's event, just 52 points behind 10th-place Greg Biffle and just 20 points behind former series champion David Green, who's in 11th.

"We'll just keep our heads down and keep doing what we've been doing," said Menard, who a year ago qualified 24th here and recorded his first top-12 finish of the season in only his second race with the #11 DEI team he joined forces with the week prior at New Hampshire. "You can imagine we're feeling pretty good about how things have been going. We're creeping up in the points where we should have been all along. This is a top-10 team every way you look at it and the guys have been working like you wouldn't believe to try and get us there. We've managed to keep our noses clean for several races in a row and it's important we stay in that groove. Everyone's inspired by all this to do even more, to finish even better than we have been."

This mile-high mile tri-oval here at PPIR, combined with the mile oval package in the DEI stable of bright yellow #11 racing machines offers the potential to yield another top result this weekend. Menard qualified on the front row on the mile oval at Phoenix earlier this year, and he qualified third enroute to his third-place finish on the mile oval at Milwaukee. This weekend, the team plans to unveil a brand new replica of that car that raced at Phoenix, Milwaukee and last week at New Hampshire, one that crew chief Dan Stillman believes might have even more potential.

"Dan had a few tweaks to try on this new car, and I'm confident it'll be even better than the last one," said Menard, who's quite familiar with the PPIR layout, having scored a pair of top-six NASCAR Midwest Series finishes here prior to his first Busch start in 2003 with Andy Petree Racing. "It would be nice to put up another good result for our friends and sponsors from Johns Manville, who are based right up the road in Denver. We'll be ready to give them a show."

Practice for Saturday's Salute to the Troops 250 begins at 9 a.m. local time (11 a.m. EDT) Friday with final practice set for 10:30 a.m. local time (12:30 p.m. EDT). Qualifying, to be broadcast live by SPEED-TV, is set for 4:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. EDT) Friday. Race time Saturday is 1:30 p.m. EDT (3:30 p.m. EDT) with live coverage by the TNT cable network.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Greg Biffle , David Green , Paul Menard