Event: Las Vegas
EThis Week's Moen/Menards Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway ... Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 328 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet Impala is a brand new addition to the RCR fleet, and will see its first laps on the track at LVMS.
Viva Las Vegas ... This weekend marks Menard's fifth start at the 1.5-mile speedway. In his four previous starts, he has completed 98.1% of his laps (1,065 of 1,086). He has an average starting position of 30.2 and an average finishing position of 26.5, earning his best finish of 17th in last year's NSCS event (February 2010). His best start of 19th came in his debut at the 1.5-mile speedway (March 2007) following an exciting qualifying session which nearly sent the Eau Claire, Wisc., native airborne on his second lap.
Paul Menard LIVE for Chevy Q&A ... Fans can participate in a question-and-answer session with Menard on Sunday, March. 6 at 8:30 a.m. PST at the Chevy display.
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Race Rewind ... Last weekend, Menard earned his best finish at Phoenix International Raceway when he and the No. 27 team brought home a 17th-place finish in the Fresh Fit 500. Menard heads to Las Vegas tied for 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
What do you think of Las Vegas?
"The race track (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) is really good. It seems to be coming into its own; there are a lot of different grooves that you can run. I enjoy racing there, but because I don't gamble, I'm not a drinker and I'm not a 'night-life' type of guy, the casinos and clubs don't really excite me."
Do you feel race car drivers are a little bit like gamblers, making split-second decisions all race?
"That's a good analogy, especially heading to Vegas this weekend. Yes, I think they are because you have to pick and choose your battles all day long. If you want to race someone hard to get that one position because you think you'll be around them all day, then you have to go for it. There are a lot of things that go into your decision-making process as you pick and choose what's right for you at that time, and you might not always make right choice (laughs)."
What do you think of the Vegas track in that it is very fan-friendly and that the fans have a full view into your world from the top of the Neon Garage?
"It's definitely like you're in a fish bowl. When you're sitting in the car during practice, working hard and making changes because you have an hour to get your car right, you don't really pay attention to it because as a team you stay really focused. But, if you have a chance to get out of the car and wait while the team switches it over to qualifying trim, you can look up and see how many people are hanging out on the catwalks around the top of the garage. It's a really neat deal and if I was a fan that would be kind of my ideal situation to view the garage and see how we operate."
The RCR cars have always been really competitive at Vegas. Are you excited to hit the track with your new team?
"Actually, our intermediate program was our strong suit last year with Slugger and I, so I am looking forward to heading back to Las Vegas with him and our Moen/Menards team. It will be business as usual there. We have a good baseline from last year and so does RCR, so we'll kind of marry the two and see what we have."
With Nellis Air Force Base right next door to the track, have you ever had the chance to fly with the Thunderbirds?
"I have not and I would love to. Something that always fascinated me is how airplanes fly. I actually took some flying lessons years ago. They have the coolest airplanes in the world at Nellis Air Force Base. If we're out there testing or practicing, the fighter jets are constantly taking off. When they come off the runway, they are basically straight up in the air. To experience that would be a thrill."