Menards Racing Looking Forward to Sprint Showdown MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 13, 2008) -- Paul Menard's 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season picked up some major momentum in the early part of the year. And while the past two weeks seem to have thrown that...
Menards Racing Looking Forward to Sprint Showdown
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 13, 2008) -- Paul Menard's 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season picked up some major momentum in the early part of the year. And while the past two weeks seem to have thrown that momentum temporarily off course, the driver for the Menards/Dale Earnhardt Inc. team remains upbeat about his chances for success during the next two weeks of homecoming racing action in Charlotte, North Carolina.
"I felt pretty happy with the way our test went," Menard said of his team's two day session. "The speed was there, we were fighting a little balance issue but we were able to make it either push or loose depending on the track conditions. Half of the test was at night also, so that helps in preparing for the both the Open and the 600."
Menard's reference to last week's test at the 1.5-mile oval is one of the keys to success in the Coca Cola 600, but will also help the team as they prepare for this weekend's Sprint Showdown. Despite the glory associated with the Sprint Cup All-Star Race, Menard is quick to cite the Sprint Showdown as a chance to better prepare the team for next weekend's points paying race.
"Obviously we'd like to be one of the two that transfer, but in the big picture it really doesn't mean a whole lot," Menard said. "It's more like a test session to help us for the 600 than anything else."
In last year's Sprint Showdown race, Menard's bad luck came early during a lap one crash that eliminated four cars before the field had even made it to the back straightaway. Based on Menard's practice speeds and his 10th place qualifying effort, the team knew Menard had a car capable of winning the race, but the potential went unfulfilled as the crew surveyed the wrecked racecar.
Menard returns to Charlotte, driving the No. 15 Menards/Johns Manville Chevrolet. The team will race the same car run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. According to Crew Chief Doug Randolph, the car tested well at Charlotte last week.
"Both cars had a lot of speed in them during the test," Randolph said. "I think our 600 car is just a little bit better, but if this particular car races well this weekend and comes home in one piece, we'll definitely consider using this car again next weekend."