BUSCH: Dover II: Paul Menard preview

Menard Returns to Monster Mile With New Team, Brighter Outlook After Inspiring Run at Richmond NASCAR Busch Series Event DOVER, Del. (Sept. 22, 2004) -- After a weekend off from the hotly competitive NASCAR Busch Series circuit, Paul Menard...

Menard Returns to Monster Mile With New Team, Brighter Outlook After Inspiring Run at Richmond NASCAR Busch Series Event

DOVER, Del. (Sept. 22, 2004) -- After a weekend off from the hotly competitive NASCAR Busch Series circuit, Paul Menard and the #11 Menards/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet team of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., are back at it for Saturday's Stacker 200 on the Dover International Speedway Monster Mile oval.

It will be the second career visit to the Monster Mile for Menard, a 24-year-old Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender from Eau Claire, Wis., who brought home a 21st-place finish here in last June's MBNA America 200 in his last race driving an Andy Petree Racing entry. More importantly, he's coming off an inspiring run at Richmond two weekends ago that had all the makings for his first career top-five Busch series finish before a questionable maneuver by a fellow series rookie shuffled him all the way out of the top 10 on a late-race restart.

"All I know is, looking at the big picture, we were all energized by the way we ran for the latter part of the race at Richmond," said Menard, who qualified 10th and ended up 13th two weekends ago. "You learn from what happens and then move on. There's no use dwelling on the past. This team definitely has its best days ahead. We didn't have the greatest setup at the start of the race at Richmond because we lost our Happy Hour the night before. But like we've done on numerous occasions already in our relatively short time together, we made the car better as the race wore on and we were fighting for a top-five finish at the end. If that can happen every weekend, I'd be the happiest driver in the garage. Who wouldn't be?"

A veteran of 26 career Busch series starts -- six with the Menards/DEI team he joined at New Hampshire in July -- Menard is looking forward to hitting the Monster Mile once again. It was a great unknown back in June, but Menard tamed this unique, high-banked oval he likened to a "great big Bristol." Consequently, Menard and his new DEI teammates have had a heavy dose of tracks that are a mile or less since joining forces. Five of their six starts so far, to be exact. And they've certainly appear to be creeping up on that elusive top finish together after the strong outing on the three-quarter-mile oval at Richmond, and on the half-mile oval at Bristol two weeks before that.

Practice for the Stacker 200 begins Friday morning with qualifying set for 1 p.m. EDT and a live broadcast on SPEED-TV. Race time Saturday is 1 p.m. EDT with the TNT cable network providing live coverage.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Andy Petree , Paul Menard