Paul Menard 33 Menards Chevrolet Team -- Andy Petree Racing, Flat Rock, N.C. Sponsors -- Pittsburgh Paints, Energizer, Peak, Turtle Wax, Moen, Morton Salt, Empire Levels Menard Relishes Richmond Short-Track Challenge At Friday's NASCAR Busch ...
33 Menards Chevrolet
Team -- Andy Petree Racing, Flat Rock, N.C.
Sponsors -- Pittsburgh Paints, Energizer, Peak, Turtle Wax, Moen, Morton Salt, Empire Levels
Menard Relishes Richmond Short-Track Challenge At Friday's NASCAR Busch Series Funai 250
RICHMOND, Va. (May 11, 2004) -- Now 10 races into the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series season, rookie Paul Menard is more than ready for a breakthrough weekend as he and his fellow competitors come to Richmond International Raceway for Friday night's Funai 250.
The 23-year-old Menard, from Eau Claire, Wis., will pilot the #33 Menards/Energizer Chevrolet of Andy Petree Racing for his 17th Busch Series start -- one he hopes will be a memorable one as he takes on the newly repaved three-quarter-mile tri-oval here for the very first time.
Last weekend at Gateway Raceway on the outskirts of St. Louis, Menard had to endure another "character building" race night that saw him involved in a three-car accident on the very first lap. Despite a less-than-satisfying 22nd place finish, Menard and the APR team worked intensely to regain his position on the lead lap after multiple pit stops for repairs in the early going. Had it not been for the accident, and a less-than-favorable set of tires during the middle stages of the race, Menard feels he would have been looking at his first top-10 finish of the season.
"Enough said about what would have been and could have been -- we just need to go out there and get the job done," Menard said. "We're working better and better together as the season goes along, and it was good for us to be able to fight through the effects of that early contact and get back on the lead lap at Gateway. We're definitely showing signs that things are coming together. It's still relatively early in the season. I can feel we're close to a top finish. We just need to keep working hard and not let up."
Though it will be his first visit to the tricky Richmond layout, Menard is no stranger to high-speed short tracks as he is a veteran of the NASCAR ReMax Series, and also scored a dramatic victory over Kenny Shrader with a last-lap pass on the mile oval at Phoenix in a NASCAR Southwest Tour event.
"It looks like a fun little track," Menard said. "Everybody seems to love racing at Richmond. I'll get to find out for myself on Friday night."
Practice and qualifying for the Funai 250 begin Thursday. SPEED-TV will broadcast qualifying live at 4 p.m. EDT. Race time Friday is 8 p.m. EDT with a live broadcast set for the FX cable network set to begin with pre-race activities at 7:30 p.m. EDT.