Martinsville II: Paul Menard preview

Paul Menard currently stands in the 23rd position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings Crew Chief Slugger Labbe's Thoughts on Martinsville Speedway: "There are a couple of keys to being successful at Martinsville. Track position is so...

Paul Menard currently stands in the 23rd position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings

Crew Chief Slugger Labbe's Thoughts on Martinsville Speedway: "There are a couple of keys to being successful at Martinsville. Track position is so important, of course, because it's so hard to pass. Getting the car to turn through the center of the corner so you can drive straight off the corner is another, as well as keeping the brake heat down so you don't melt the bead on the right front tire. Martinsville is typical short-track racing. There will be a lot of beating and banging.

"You'll see a lot of different pit strategies happening during the race too. Goodyear brings a good tire that really lasts, so you can try different strategies if you need to. There will be a bunch of different things playing out as far as pit strategy and sequence goes."

Chassis History: Crew chief Slugger Labbe and the No. 98 RPM crew have prepared chassis No. 619 for this weekend's event. This is the same Ford Fusion that was run in the first event of the 2010 season in Martinsville where Paul Menard qualified the No. 98 car in ninth place and drove to a 14th-place finish. This is also the same car the team ran in the first event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Notes: No. 98 team member Paul Balmer will serve as one of the 43 Grand Marshals for this weekend's event at Martinsville Speedway. A native of Elmira, N.Y., Balmer began his racing career right out of high school and raced Late Models and Street Stocks locally at such tracks as Owego Shangra-La Speedway and Black Rock Speedway. Balmer moved to North Carolina in 1995 to pursue a career in NASCAR. He serves in various roles as a team mechanic at the shop and works as a road mechanic when at the race track.

"What I enjoy most is seeing the car run up front on race day and just working on it," Balmer says. "It's not really a job. It's just something fun to do. I'm happy doing what I'm doing."

The Wisconsin native will have a busy weekend competing in both his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car at Martinsville Speedway and his NASCAR Nationwide Series ride at Gateway International Raceway. Menard will depend on Roush Fenway Racing teammate Colin Braun to practice his No. 98 Nationwide ride while he completes his Cup Series duties in Martinsville.

-source: rpm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Colin Braun , Paul Menard
Teams Roush Fenway Racing