BUSCH: Kansas: Paul Menard preview

Top-8 Truck Series Finish in '03 Has '04 Busch Series Rookie Menard Feeling There's No Place Like Home at Kansas Speedway This Weekend KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Oct. 5, 2004) -- Paul Menard and his fellow NASCAR Busch Series competitors, fresh from...

Top-8 Truck Series Finish in '03 Has '04 Busch Series Rookie Menard Feeling There's No Place Like Home at Kansas Speedway This Weekend

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Oct. 5, 2004) -- Paul Menard and his fellow NASCAR Busch Series competitors, fresh from their final off weekend of the season, head to Kansas Speedway for Saturday's Mr. Goodcents 300 and the first of seven consecutive races that will bring the 2004 campaign to a close.

For Menard, the 24-year-old Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender from Eau Claire, Wis., it will be a return to the 1.5-mile tri-oval where he enjoyed his best NASCAR Truck Series performance while running a mixed schedule of events in 2003. It came by way of an eighth-place finish from the 15th starting spot in that Fourth of July weekend race here, one of last year's highlights that also included an ARCA series pole at Winchester, Ind., and victory at Talladega, Ala., and a ninth-place Busch series finish at Indianapolis.

This weekend, he'll be behind the wheel of the bright yellow #11 Menards/Energizer Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., for his ninth event since joining forces with the DEI organization at New Hampshire last July. Two weekends ago, Menard scored his fifth top-15 finish of his official Busch series rookie season on the Monster Mile at Dover, Del. Just three days later, he and his new teammates trekked here to the outskirts of Kansas City for a successful two days of testing in preparation for Saturday's 300-mile race.

"From all indications, everything went well, but you never know for sure until you get out there on the track for practice on Friday morning," said Menard, who will be making his first start in a DEI car on one of NASCAR's classic 1.5-mile tri-ovals. "It was just great to get back to the Kansas track because it was one of my favorites from last year, for sure. It's a very racey track, like most of the mile-and-a-half tri-ovals are. It'll be a matter of picking up Friday where we left off there last week. Everyone on the Menards/Energizer team is feeling pretty hopeful after a couple of solid, top-15 runs in a row (at Richmond and Dover). We've had a weekend off to catch our breath. Now, it's time to tighten our belts and really close out the season with some solid, top-10 finishes."

Practice for Saturday's Mr. Goodcents 300 begins at 9 a.m. local time (10 a.m. EDT) Friday. Qualifying is set for 1:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. EDT) Friday with a live broadcast set for SPEED-TV. Race time Saturday is 1 p.m. local time (2 p.m. EDT) with the TNT cable network providing the live TV coverage.

-mr/dei-

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