Charlotte II: Paul Menard preview

NOTES OF INTEREST ON THE CHARLOTTE CAR Nextel Cup Primary Car: Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chassis ...


Nextel Cup Primary Car: Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chassis #36/ Back up Car #37

Last Run: Charlotte in the Nextel Open (qualified 10th; finished 30th -- lap one crash)

Fun 'Cup' Fact: Crew Chief Dave Charpentier and the Menards Racing team will bring it's NASCAR Nextel Open car that was involved in a first lap crash in the spring. Not only did the car qualify well, but Menard was very fond of car #36 at the Charlotte Cup test in the spring.


Paul Menard heads to Charlotte with his sights on making his way into the top-25 in points. Menard's solid experience at the track (five NBS starts and one Cup start which resulted in a top-15 finish) is a motivating factor for the team hoping to climb out of the go or go homers and into a guaranteed starting spot.

Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three

Menards Racing was solidly in the top group of teams at the Charlotte test earlier this season. The No. 15 team was third quick, in two of the four testing sessions and sixth quick in the final session of the two day test.

Over the Wall Crew Ready for the Hard Work

Menards Racing over-the-wall crew, trained by Walt Smith, is one of the best crews in the business. According to Walt, the team's pit stop times are among the top-ten in the series. The team's solid performance on pit road is something that gives Menard piece of mind on the race track. "It's much easier to pass cars on pit road than it is on the racetrack and this team usually picks me up a spot or two on pit road." Menard said of the over-the-wall crew.

Raybestos Rookie of the Year Notes

Currently, Menard stands third in overall Raybestos Rookie ratings. He has 182 points; 43 points behind Juan Pablo Montoya who leads the battle with 225 points. Menard has won Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors in four events this season, including Kansas, Richmond, Phoenix and Watkins Glen.

Standings Status

Paul Menard is currently 34th in Driver's Points, while the No. 15 team fell one spot to 30th place in Owner's Standings following last weeks race at Talladega Superspeedway. The team is has a 290 point cushion on the top-35.


Paul Menard on Bank of America 500:

"It's a fast track and a great track to drive, but with the harder tire, you have to be really careful on those first few laps and let your tires warm up before you make any daring moves. Obviously you saw what can happen if you're impatient. We were involved in a huge wreck on lap one of the Open and that was it -- done for the day. But the good news is that we got the car handling really well during the test and I'm actually looking forward to racing -- it's nice to come to Charlotte and be locked in the top-35 since it's the hometown track for a lot of these guys."

Nextel Cup Crew Chief Dave Charpentier on the Bank of America 500:

"Well we had a great test at Charlotte in the spring but we missed the show, so we were able to show our strength. And the week before we crashed in the Open on the first lap, so honestly I think we will be good. But that's entirely based on the test where we were really happy with our findings and the way the car handled on old tires."

-credit: mr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya