BUSCH: Michigan: Paul Menard preview

Menard Hoping To Have Champagne With His Birthday Cake BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 18, 2004) -- Paul Menard is eyeing his 24th career NASCAR Busch Series start on his 24th birthday when the Cabela's 250 takes the green flag Saturday at Michigan ...

Menard Hoping To Have Champagne With His Birthday Cake

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 18, 2004) -- Paul Menard is eyeing his 24th career NASCAR Busch Series start on his 24th birthday when the Cabela's 250 takes the green flag Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

Yes, it's another candle on his birthday cake for the 2004 Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender. But he can think of at least one bigger, better reason to celebrate come Saturday afternoon after piloting his now-familiar #11 Menards/Turtle Wax Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., for 125 laps around the 2-mile, high-banked tri-oval here.

"The birthday's just another day -- I don't really celebrate birthdays anymore," said Menard, who'll be making his first career Busch start at Michigan. "A race win -- now that would be cause for a celebration. We'll see what we can do about that."

Michigan represents the first big-track test for Menard and his new team, which he joined three races ago on the mile oval in Loudon, N.H. He scored his best finish of the season thus far the following weekend -- 12th place on the mile oval at Pikes Peak. And he left off with a gutsy top-20 run on the .6-mile oval at Indianapolis Raceway Park two weekends ago.

Right after the IRP event, Menard and his DEI teammates brought their racing machine to Michigan for two days of testing, and they learned a good bit about what to expect when the series returns here for this weekend's 250-mile race.

"It was my first time at the MIS, and we were able to spend a lot of time working on various things," Menard said. "We learned a lot at the test so we'll be that much farther ahead of the game when we roll the Menards car off the truck on Friday morning. The track looks like it's going to be a lot of fun to race on. It's fast. I'm really looking forward to getting back to work."

Practice for the Cabela's 250 begins Friday morning with single-car qualifying set to begin at 1 p.m. EDT. SPEED-TV will carry the qualifying show live. Race time Saturday is 1 p.m. EDT with a live broadcast set for the TNT cable network.

-mr-

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