Paul Menard, driver of the No. 98 Nibco/Menards Ford Fusion, fell two spots to 11th-place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after last week's race at Martinsville. Menard, who has six career Phoenix starts, spoke about his hopes for...
Paul Menard, driver of the No. 98 Nibco/Menards Ford Fusion, fell two spots to 11th-place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after last week's race at Martinsville. Menard, who has six career Phoenix starts, spoke about his hopes for this weekend.
HOW WAS YOUR FIRST PRACTICE RUN? "Practice was good. We stayed real consistent throughout the run. We threw a lot of different things at our Ford and kind of went right back to where we unloaded. We ran 100 laps in practice or 50 laps, whatever it was, and we were basically right back where we started. We are going to look at a few things between practices and make some decisions about what we are going to do to improve."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING QUALIFYING RUN LATER TODAY? "We go out at 4:30, so the draw is a big deal. We have a fairly late draw so we lucked out as far as that goes. Nationwide qualifying is beforehand and that will be in the heat of the day, so we will get a chance to see what the track does in that condition and then later on once it sits and cools a little bit. Hopefully, it is going to be a good starting spot with that late draw."
ARE YOU GETTING MORE COMFORTABLE DEALING WITH ALL THE ATTENTION THAT COMES WITH RUNNING IN THE TOP-12 WEEK AFTER WEEK? "Yeah, it comes with the territory I guess. I hate having to do things like this right now between practices when I should be thinking about my race car, but that is just the way the schedule plays out and we have to do what we have to do. It comes with the territory."
YOU GUYS HAVE GOTTEN OFF TO A GOOD START, BUT HAVE YOU TALKED ABOUT MAINAINING THAT PACE AND NOT LETTING YOUR FOOT UP OFF THE GAS AS A TEAM? "We don't plan on not having a good run. We are 100-percent every time we come to the race track. Some days are going to be worse than others, obviously, but it is never for a lack of effort."
YOU HAVE 14 STRAIGHT RACES COMING UP ON THE SCHEDULE. WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE WITH THAT? "Our last off weekend was after Atlanta for me because we are running Nationwide also. We are running every weekend now until Thanksgiving and it is good because it keeps you up on it the whole time. Last week, a lot of guys had a weekend off and if I had not run the Nationwide race, I would have had the weekend off and probably would have been sitting at home bored. I am glad we are running the Nationwide car every weekend because it keeps it fresh and doing what we love to do."
AFTER THE FIRST SIX RACES OF THE YEAR, WHERE WOULD YOU GRADE YOU GUYS? "100-percent effort everytime."
-source: ford racing
Dan Zacharias Ford Racing Media Relations NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 1469 Old Town Rd. Winston-Salem, NC, 27106 (336) 922-3266 (office) (336) 918-4482 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org