PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 NIBCO/MENARDS CHEVROLET, met with media and discussed racing at Martinsville, the upcoming Texas night race, pressure to maintain a top-ten point position, and more.
SHORT TRACK RACING AGAIN, THOUGHTS?
“Yes, it’s something that probably 80% of us grew up doing, is short track racing so it’s definitely a little bit of a throwback and the only thing is that we have 850 horsepower race cars and there is 43 of us which always makes for a lot of excitement and a lot of frustration at the same time. Sometimes it feels like bumper cars. If you have your car hooked up it’s a lot of fun. It’s a great track to drive and fun, but like I said, sometimes it’s frustrating. Nonetheless it’s back into our roots and we are looking forward to getting going.”
A LOT OF DRIVERS HAVE BEEN COMMENTING ON THE FACT THAT YOU ARE A GOOD RACE CAR DRIVER. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?
“It’s cool. I mean if guys are saying good things about you, if your peers are, its great and a good feeling. I am not seeking that. I am not seeking affirmation from my peers but I have got good relationships with most of the people and it’s something that I have worked at. But the bottom line is that I want to beat them all and they want to beat me so it makes for a fun rivalry but it’s neat that they are saying that.”
REGARDING TEXAS AND THE NIGHT RACE
“It's going to be cool for sure and it’s something we have never done with the Cup cars but I have watched every time the IndyCars run there at night and the same thing with the trucks. They put on a really good show in the night time and its going to be the same for us I believe. It’s a fast race track and we saw insane qualifying speeds last fall and we will see some more of that this year I think.”
AFTER A RACE AT MARTINSVILLE HOW TIRED ARE YOU COMPARED TO OTHER TRACKS?
“It's not physically tiring but it’s mentally tiring much like a restrictor place race. It’s very mental and trying to figure out which lane to be in and you want to be on the bottom but sometimes you have to move around and work on getting your drive off and different lines. You try to keep it on the bottom and if you get shuffled out you try to get back down to the bottom and it’s a lot of stuff going on. We are running 100 miles per hour so things happen there in a hurry and there is a lot of beating and banging like I said earlier and it’s a track that wears on you for sure.”
IS THERE ANY RESENTMENT ABOUT WHO IS ON THE SIDE OF YOUR CAR AND WHO YOUR DAD IS AND IF SO, IS IT DISAPPATING THIS YEAR BECAUSE OF THE SUCCESS YOU HAVE HAD?
“There are people out there that you can kind of tell, but for the vast majority, no, no problem. You know, people are always going to talk about it. Which is fine, let them talk. I am confident in who I am and what I do so if they want to bring it up, then shame on them I guess.”
HOW MUCH FUN ARE YOU HAVING THIS YEAR AND HOW MUCH PRESSURE IS THERE ON YOU TO MAINTAIN YOUR TOP TEN POINTS STANDINGS THIS SEASON?
“Yes, having fun for sure. We have a really great group of guys and I have been with Slugger now for two seasons and we have a few guys on the team that I worked with last year and some new guys that fit right in. There is a lot of camaraderie on the race team and we are very well prepared this year.
There is a lot of camaraderie on the race team and we are very well prepared this year.
“You know last year I was sitting here in the top 12 and I think we were ninth or something at this point. And we fell way off after that and this year we are way more prepared than we were a year ago with just preparation with the race cars and the organization at the race shop and stability is key and I am confident if we keep doing our job to the ability that we are then we will be here.”
PAUL YOU HAVE HAD A PERSONAL BEST AT EVERY TRACK SO FAR THIS YEAR CAN YOU KEEP THAT STREAK GOING HERE?
“Sure as hell going to try. We have had fast race cars but the neat thing is that at four of the five races we felt like we could have finished better than where we did. We finished 16th at California and we probably would have finished 9th or around there if we didn’t have a caution towards the end. We got shuffled back in those last two restarts but it’s just luck of the draw and everything is so close in Sprint Cup racing that a few tenths of a second and one tenth, goes a long ways. In Martinsville you are going to see the whole field covered by three or four tenths and it doesn’t take much to shuffle back and it seems like it takes a lot to go forward. I think we finished 13th here last year and we will try to improve on that for sure.”
-source: team chevy