BUSCH: Memphis: Paul Menard preview

Mooresville, NC -- As the Menards Racing crew prepares the No. 11 Peak/ Menards Chevrolet for this weekend's NASCAR Busch Series event at Memphis Motorsports Park, driver Paul Menard readies himself for a career milestone. The Sam's Town 250...

Mooresville, NC -- As the Menards Racing crew prepares the No. 11 Peak/ Menards Chevrolet for this weekend's NASCAR Busch Series event at Memphis Motorsports Park, driver Paul Menard readies himself for a career milestone. The Sam's Town 250 marks Menard's 100th series start; an accomplishment only shared by 12 other driver's scheduled to attempt the 250-lap event.

Menard has an impressive career to date record with one win, 12 top-fives, 31 top-tens, 2 poles and 364 total laps led. Despite the significance of these stats on his time in the Busch series, he is quick to recognize the importance of properly paving the road to the Nextel Cup Series.

"The NASCAR Busch Series is the steppingstone on the way to Nextel Cup." Menard said. "NASCAR has such a great ladder system in place with its regional and national touring series, with the Busch series the highest of the "feeder series"; it's the best way to get to the top."

Having a milestone start at the Memphis Motorsports Park means a lot to Menard. His fascination with Elvis Pressley, coupled with his past experience racing on track similar to the 3/4-mile tri-oval, Menard has been looking forward to this stop on the NASCAR Busch Series 25th tour for some time.

"The track is pretty cool because it reminds me a lot of Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna, WI, a place that I raced at quite a bit in late models." Menard explained. "It's the same layout, shape and even some characteristics. WIR was just 1/4 mile bigger."

Last year's Memphis visit resulted in fourth place qualifying effort, a sixth place finish and a visit to his favorite music man's house.

"Being an Elvis fan, I had always wanted to see Graceland." Menard said. "That was very cool to experience during last year's race weekend."

While Menard's milestone represents considerable experience in the NASCAR Busch Series, Juan Montoya's visit to Memphis represents his NASCAR Busch Series debut. For good reason, Menard feels lucky to be part of Montoya's entrance into the sport.

"It's pretty cool to be a part of Juan's debut." Menard said. "I was in Homestead in 1999 as a spectator for his first start in Champ car, now to be able to compete against him 7 years later in his first NASCAR start is pretty special. I'm sure he'll do fine, but I'm also sure no one will cut him any breaks either."

-credit: menards racing

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Paul Menard