BUSCH: Richmond II: Paul Menard preview

Friday Night's Emerson Radio 250 at Richmond Internatioanl Raceway Next Up for Menard and the ...

Friday Night's Emerson Radio 250 at Richmond Internatioanl Raceway
Next Up for Menard and the #11 Menards/Energizer Chevrolet of DEI

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 8, 2004) -- It's back to the short tracks again for Paul Menard and the #11 Menards/Energizer Chevrolet team of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and that's just what the doctor ordered as the NASCAR Busch Series heads to the Richmond International Raceway three-quarter-mile oval for Friday night's Emerson Radio 250.

Menard and his DEI team enjoyed a highly productive test session here two weeks ago. And in their last outing on a short track at Bristol Motor Speedway Aug. 27, the Busch Series rookie had a race car capable of a top-five finish or better. All of which are more than encouraging signs as Menard prepares to tackle the tricky Richmond tri-oval for only the second time in his career.

"Our test went very well there two weeks ago and I can say I left Richmond feeling more comfortable than ever on that track," said Menard, who struggled to find just the right setup under tricky conditions at California Speedway last weekend enroute to a 21st-place finish. "This week, we'll gladly take a more positive break when it comes to racing luck. I know we, as a team, will be ready to go."

Menard's last outing here at Richmond was his career first, and he did not have the luxury of a test session under his five-point belts before arriving here last May in an Andy Petree Racing entry. That fateful night, Menard was smacked from behind and got caught up in a multi-car pileup that ended his night 51 laps from the finish. Since then, the Menards Busch Series program switched to the DEI team beginning in late July at New Hampshire, and the outlook is brighter than the new "highlighter-yellow" paint scheme of his #11 Menards/Energizer race car.

"We're learning and getting to know each other better and better each and every week," said the 24-year-old from Eau Claire, Wis., whose promising night at the last Bristol race was brought to a halt when he was hit by a lapped car. "As long as we keep pushing the envelope, it can only lead to great things down the road."

Practice for the Emerson Radio 250 begins Thursday with qualifying set for 3:30 p.m. EDT and a live broadcast on SPEED-TV. Race time Friday is 8 p.m. EDT with the TNT cable network providing live coverage.

-dei/mr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Andy Petree , Paul Menard