BUSCH: Nazareth: Paul Menard preview

Paul Menard NASCAR Busch Series -- ...

Paul Menard
NASCAR Busch Series -- #33 Menards Chevrolet
Team -- Andy Petree Racing, Flat Rock, N.C.
Sponsors -- Pittsburgh Paints, Energizer, Peak, Turtle Wax, Moen, Morton Salt, Empire Levels

Menard Hopes To Bid Farewell to Nazareth Speedway On a High Note at Goulds Pumps ITT Industries 200

NAZARETH, Pa. (May 19, 2004) -- Paul Menard's first career race at Nazareth Speedway this weekend will be his last. So the 23-year-old from Eau Claire, Wis., would like nothing better than to see his name etched on the long list of legendary greats who have won over the years at this historic mile oval, which speedway officials announced last week will not be on the NASCAR Busch Series or IRL IndyCar Series schedules beginning in 2005.

Still vivid in Menard's memory is a dramatic race win on a mile oval characteristically similar to the one here at Nazareth, coming on a last-lap pass of Nextel Cup veteran Kenny Schrader in the 2002 NASCAR Southwest Tour season finale at Phoenix International Raceway. That performance turned numerous heads in the racing world, and started the wheels rolling for Menard's fulltime move to the NASCAR Busch Series this season.

"Nazareth is definitely going to have its place in history," said Menard, who will be making his 18th career NASCAR Busch Series start this weekend in the #33 Menards/PPG Chevrolet of Andy Petree Racing. "I remember watching my open-wheel heroes race here on TV when I was a kid. It's sad that this will be our last time here, but I'd sure like to leave with the lasting impression in my mind of a good race result this weekend. We'll be working hard to make that happen from the time we roll the Menards/PPG Chevrolet off the truck on Saturday morning."

Last Friday night at Richmond, Menard was spun from behind late in the race and collected a number of other cars, ending his night some 50 laps from the finish and relegating him to a 33rd-place finish that mirrored some of the frustrations he's endured during his Raybestos Rookie season on the Busch tour. Still, he knows he and his teammates are just a heartbeat away from tasting the kind of success they experienced last year while running a mixed schedule of NASCAR Truck, Busch and ARCA events, which included an ARCA victory at Talladega in September and a top-10 Busch finish at Indianapolis in August.

Practice and qualifying for the Goulds Pumps ITT Industries 200 begins Saturday morning with qualifying to be broadcast live by SPEED-TV at 4 p.m. EDT. Race time Sunday is 1 p.m. EDT with a live broadcast by the FX cable network set to begin at 12:30 p.m. EDT.


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Drivers Andy Petree , Paul Menard