Fontana: Paul Menard qualifying report

Paul Menard qualified 22nd for Sunday's Auto Club 500. Menard was the second fastest of the "go or go home" cars, which locked him into the second race of the 2007 season with ease. TELL US ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN. "The first lap was...

Paul Menard qualified 22nd for Sunday's Auto Club 500. Menard was the second fastest of the "go or go home" cars, which locked him into the second race of the 2007 season with ease.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN.

"The first lap was real conservative. I wanted to get one down in the books and then Pops [Tony Eury Sr., crew chief] told me the time and I was going to wreck the car or get a 20 so that's what we did. Our Intermediate tracks have come a long way since this time last year and Pops and the boys have had an awesome off-season. We learned a lot in the Vegas test and it's kind of applying here. The pressure is off now. We can just go run in Happy Hour and get some good laps in and make our car drive good. I've just got 500 miles Sunday."

HOW MUCH EMPHASIS DID YOU PUT ON RACE SETUP?

"Zero. We didn't make a single race run. It was all qualifying runs. Our goal this weekend, especially since last weekend, is get in top-35 in points. To do that you've got to make races. Quaker State came on board helping us out so it's cool to get them in the show and have some fun on Sunday."

ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE RISKS TO GAIN AS MANY POINTS AS POSSIBLE? DO YOU HAVE TO RACE CONSERVATIVE?

"It'll probably be pretty conservative on Sunday. If we finish top-20, I'd be very happy with that as far as getting the car to drive good. Don't dive bomb anybody trying to make stupid passes or anything; just be there at the end and try to regain some of the points."

DID YOU PUT LAST WEEK OUT OF YOUR MEMORY OR DID YOU THINK ABOUT IT?

"I woke up Friday morning and it was totally out of my memory. We had a job to do with the Busch car. Come Monday we started thinking about what we did wrong and how to fix it. Daytona is one of those deals where we had a really good race car. The 10 car checked-up and lost our momentum and we stayed out when we probably should have pitted and just got really tight at the end. Daytona is kind of it's own animal and now we can go to a California, Vegas, and Atlanta and kind of make our own destiny."

YOU TESTED WELL AT LAS VEGAS AND BACKED IT UP HERE TODAY.

"The Vegas test was really good for us. We unloaded and we were pretty happy with the car but then we hit on some things that are really going to help with our intermediate program and it's kind of showing right now."

-credit: mr/dei

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Paul Menard