Streaking Menard Doubles Up on the Road Course at Watkins Glen; Adds Nextel Cup Duties to His NASCAR Busch Series Zippo 200 Bid WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 9, 2005) -- Paul Menard and his fellow NASCAR Busch Series competitors take a break from...
Streaking Menard Doubles Up on the Road Course at Watkins Glen; Adds Nextel Cup Duties to His NASCAR Busch Series Zippo 200 Bid
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 9, 2005) -- Paul Menard and his fellow NASCAR Busch Series competitors take a break from the oval-track racing this weekend, but he and his Dale Earnhardt, Inc., teammates and the #11 Menards/Quaker State Chevrolet look to continue their recent string of top finishes at Saturday's Zippo 200 on the 2.45-mile road course at historic Watkins Glen International Raceway.
Coming off a workmanlike seventh-place finish at Indianapolis Raceway Park last Saturday night -- Menard's seventh top-10 finish in his last eight events, the lone holdout in that stretch being a 12th-place effort at Pikes Peak -- the 24-year-old from Eau Claire, Wis., and his teammates bring their stout road course package to The Glen for Saturday's 82-lap excursion. It will be the Busch series' first visit to the former U.S. Grand Prix circuit since 2001.
"We had a really good test at The Glen just before the IRP race and I think we've got the equipment to get it done this weekend," said Menard, who seasoned his racing talents on road courses both on dry land and frozen lakes while growing up in and around his native Wisconsin. "Our experience from the road race down in Mexico back in March is going to help us this weekend, too. I'm really looking forward to this weekend."
Looking forward in more ways than one. Menard is looking to improve on his current 10th place in the Busch series drivers standings. Also this weekend, he is entered in his first Nextel Cup event since the 2003 season as driver of the #1 DEI Nextel Cup Chevrolet for Sunday's Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen. Menard drove an Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet from 43rd to 29th in the 2003 Nextel Cup race here at The Glen in his only career Nextel Cup start to date.
Back in March, Menard qualified seventh at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City and was oftentimes running the fastest laps among the 43 Busch series competitors on race day. But unscheduled pit stops to replace a front sway bar, a flat tire and a loose wheel cost him several laps at the only other road race of the year.
"We got all the bad stuff out of our system at Mexico, I hope," Menard said. "It's going to be a busy weekend running both races at The Glen, but I feel like we're definitely up for the challenge. Our focus is the Busch race because we need another top finish to keep our climb in the points standings going. But driving the 'Cup car is going to be a whole lot of fun."
Practice for Saturday's Zippo 200 begins at noon EDT Friday with final practice set for 2:50 p.m. EDT. Qualifying is at 9 a.m. EDT Saturday with live coverage on SPEED-TV. Race time Saturday is 2 p.m. EDT with NBC carrying all the action live. The Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen Nextel Cup race is at 1 p.m. Sunday, also to be carried live by NBC. Nextel Cup qualifying is Saturday at 11 a.m. EDT with live coverage on SPEED-TV. Friday's Nextel Cup Happy Hour will also be shown on SPEED-TV via same-day tape-delay at 8 p.m. EDT.