BUSCH: Kansas: Paul Menard qualifying notes

Menard Earns First Career NASCAR Busch Series Pole at Kansas KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Friday, Oct. 8, 2004) -- Paul Menard of Eau Claire, Wis., earned his first career NASCAR Busch Series pole today, driving the ...

Menard Earns First Career NASCAR Busch Series Pole at Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Friday, Oct. 8, 2004) -- Paul Menard of Eau Claire, Wis., earned his first career NASCAR Busch Series pole today, driving the #11 Menards/Energizer Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., to the top of the speed charts in qualifying for Saturday's Mr. Goodcents 300 at Kansas Speedway.

Menard, the 24-year-old Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender, will make his 28th career Busch series start from the front of the 43-car pack after clocking a fast qualifying lap of 176.062 mph (30.671 seconds) around the 1.5-mile tri-oval here. It was Menard's first pole since qualifying fastest in an ARCA series race at Winchester, Ind., in August of 2003. Just over a year ago -- on the final weekend of September of 2003 -- Menard scored his last victory in an ARCA race at Talladega, Ala. Saturday marks Menard's eighth start with the DEI team, which he joined forces with at New Hampshire in July after starting the season running a Menards-sponsored Andy Petree Racing entry.

The pole also marks the second of the season for a Menards-sponsored DEI Chevrolet. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., clocked the fastest qualifying lap and won the race at Bristol, Tenn., on Aug. 27 in the #81 Menards/Save Big Money car.

Saturday's race is set for 1 p.m. local time (2 p.m. EDT) with a live broadcast set for the TNT cable network.

PAUL MENARD

"Hats off to all the DEI guys. They did a great job. I had my doubts this morning in practice because we got a little sidetracked with a problem with our left-front spring and we lost a lot of time there. But we kept working and working and got the Menards/Energizer car just right for my qualifying run. They were definitely solid laps. The only complaints I would have is that I was a little loose going into the corner. But I was able to drive through it. This really hasn't sunk in, yet. We're focused on getting the setup just right for Happy Hour (final practice) and come up with a solid game plan for the race. We had two solid days of testing here last week. What happened this morning threw us for a loop a little bit and it was tough to recover, but we did. It's definitely a cool feeling. It's something we always knew we were capable of. We have great DEI motors, great bodywork, a great group of guys. Definitely, we have had all the tools to do something like this. Fortunately, everything worked out for the best today. Now, tomorrow's the focus. The goal is to lead every lap and win the race. We'll see how it plays out."

-dei/mr-

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