BUSCH: Las Vegas: Paul Menard preview

Menard and His DEI Teammates Look for the Big Payoff As NASCAR Busch Series Heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway LAS VEGAS (March 8, 2005) -- A year ago, Paul Menard was a first-timer on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway mile-and-a-half tri-oval just...

Menard and His DEI Teammates Look for the Big Payoff As NASCAR Busch Series Heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway

LAS VEGAS (March 8, 2005) -- A year ago, Paul Menard was a first-timer on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway mile-and-a-half tri-oval just trying to learn the ins and outs of another new track on the hotly competitive NASCAR Busch Series circuit.

What a difference a year makes as Menard and the #11 Menards/Moen Chevrolet team from Dale Earnhardt, Inc., return to LVMS, a handful of shining moments already under their belts after the first three races this season, and a couple of successful test days on this very track just a month or so ago.

"We're definitely race ready and determined to make something happen at Las Vegas," said Menard, who started 23rd and finished 21st in an Andy Petree Racing entry here last year. "We were knocking on the door at one point or another at all three races so far this season. After a somewhat frustrating day at Mexico City last weekend, we're ready to bust that door down."

Menard qualified seventh on the Mexico City road course last weekend and felt he had a car capable of winning the race before a small handful of mishaps, including a broken sway bar and blown tire, proved to be just too much to overcome. Earlier this year, Menard qualified fourth at the season-opener at Daytona and led 37 of the first 51 laps but found no one willing or able to draft with his superior car on the high side of the track, leaving him instead to finish back in the pack. And two weekends ago at Fontana, Calif., Menard was on a gallant charge from the back of the pack and was more than halfway to the front when he was spun into by another competitor midway through the race.

"With as many races as we run each season, everybody has their ups and downs," said Menard, who's 15th in the latest Busch series drivers standings after three events. "It seems like we've had ups and downs every weekend so far. The positive side of our season so far is that we've been competitive at every track. With a little Las Vegas luck to go with the work ethic and ingenuity of the DEI folks, we'll actually get the breaks we need to get the big payoff on Saturday."

Practice for Saturday's race begins at 9 a.m. local time (12 noon EST) on Friday, followed by qualifying at 4:30 p.m. local time (7:30 p.m. EST) with live coverage on SPEED-TV. Race time Sunday is 1 p.m. local time (3 p.m. EST) with the FX cable network providing the coverage.

-mr/dei-

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