Menard Expects To Feel Right at Home on Mexico City Road Course As NASCAR Takes Its Historic First Trip South of the Border MEXICO CITY (March 1, 2005) -- Wisconsin native Paul Menard may come from about as far north of the Mexican border as...
Menard Expects To Feel Right at Home on Mexico City Road Course As NASCAR Takes Its Historic First Trip South of the Border
MEXICO CITY (March 1, 2005) -- Wisconsin native Paul Menard may come from about as far north of the Mexican border as you can get in the good, old U.S. of A. But the 24-year-old competitor will feel very much at home on the 2.518-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course during Sunday's Mexico 200 NASCAR Busch Series race.
While he's spent the majority of his time working his way up the stock car racing ladder on oval tracks in recent years, Menard, who will be behind the wheel of the #11 Menards/Turtle Wax Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., this weekend, cut his racing teeth on go-kart tracks and road courses laid out on top of frozen lakes. And he's even driven to multiple road course victories in the Grand American Rolex Series.
"I love all kinds of racing, but road racing is definitely something I am familiar with," said Menard, who last competed in a NASCAR road course event in the 2003 Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., where he methodically drove his way to a 29th-place finish from the very back of the 43-car starting grid. "This weekend will be the first time in Mexico for NASCAR, and a first time on a road course for a lot of the competitors. But for me, it's something that I've been looking forward to since they added it to the schedule."
Menard and his DEI teammates enjoyed successful road course tests in Virginia during the last couple of months in preparation for Sunday's 200-mile event around Mexico City's legendary downtown Formula 1 circuit. And after the season's first two events at Daytona and Fontana, Calif., they've already shown flashes of brilliance -- including 37 laps led in the opening 51 tours of the superspeedway tri-oval at Daytona -- as Menard holds down a solid top-10 position in the drivers standings. All of which adds up to a tremendous boost of confidence as they compete south of the border for the first time in history.
Another first this weekend will be the first appearance of associate sponsor Turtle Wax on the hood of Menard's #11 racing machine. "Turtle Wax is very proud to be a part of Paul Menard's racing endeavors again this season," said Coley Frucci, Director of Turtle Wax International. "This race and our exposure on the hood of the #11 car is important to Turtle Wax , not only for the added exposure in Mexico, but also to give Turtle Wax a chance to continue to strengthen our commitment to our consumers in Mexico. Turtle Wax is known the world over as the 'World's Largest-Selling Car Wax,' and our relationships with Mexico and this country's consumers are very important to us. We at Turtle Wax are sure that Paul Menard and the #11 team are going to 'Wow Somebody' this weekend."
Practice for Sunday's race begins Friday morning. Qualifying is at noon local time (1 p.m. EST) Saturday with live coverage on SPEED-TV. Race time Sunday is 2 p.m. local time (3 p.m. EST) with the FOX broadcast network providing the coverage.