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Oct 16, 2012 - 03:31 PM
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2012 Kansas II: Paul Menard NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Oct 16, 2012 - 03:25 PM
2012 Kansas II: Paul Menard NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview

This Week's CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet at Kansas Speedway ... Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 351 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend's Kansas 400. This Chevrolet was last raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September, where Menard started 18th and finished eighth. This chassis was also utilized in numerous test sessions this year and was raced last season at Texas Motor Speedway (April - started 19th/finished fifth), Kansas Speedway (June - started ninth/finished 19th) and Dover International Speedway (October - started third/ finished 16th).


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By the Numbers at Kansas ... In his seven career Sprint Cup Series starts at Kansas Speedway, Menard has finished each of his contested races and completed 99.7 percent of his laps (1,812 of 1,817), leading for 11 circuits. He has an average starting position of 12.1 and an average finishing position of 20.1. Menard made his best start of second and logged his best finish of eighth in his October 2008 appearance. The Eau Claire, Wis., native also holds four top-10 finishes in six NASCAR Nationwide Series starts, claiming the pole position in his first visit to the 1.5-mile oval (October 2004), and made one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in July 2003.

By the Numbers in 2012 ... With 31 points-paying events of the 2012 season completed, Menard sits 16th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings on the merit of seven top-10 and 17 top-15 finishes. In his sophomore season with RCR, Menard has an average starting position of 16.4, a 16th-place average finishing position, maintains an Average Running Position of 17.567 and has completed 99.6 percent of his laps (8,721 of 8,754), the fourth-best of all drivers.

Racing Close to Home ... The No. 27 team engineer Grant Hutchens grew up in Omaha, Neb., approximately three hours north from the Kansas City, Kan.-based race track.

Double Duty Weekend ... In addition to his driving duties with RCR's No. 27 team, Menard will drive the No. 33 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet in Saturday's 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Kansas City, Kan.-based facility The race will air live on ESPN beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Time and will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Race Rewind ... Menard started RCR's No. 27 Schrock/Menards Chevrolet from the sixth position in the 2011 Kansas 400, and finished 12th despite battling a loose-handling condition for the majority of the 272-lap event.

About CertainTeed ... CertainTeed Corporation is a leading North American manufacturer of building materials including roofing, vinyl and fiber cement siding, trim, fence, railing, decking, foundations, insulation, gypsum, ceilings and pipe products. Headquartered in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, CertainTeed has approximately 7,000 employees and 70 facilities throughout the United States and Canada. CertainTeed is a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, one of the top 100 industrial companies in the world. Saint-Gobain's North American companies operate nearly 200 manufacturing facilities in industries as diverse as industrial ceramics and containers, reinforcements and flat glass, abrasives and building materials. For more information, please visit www.certainteed.com.

In the Rearview Mirror: Charlotte Motor Speedway ... Menard and the No. 27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards team lost ground early in the 501-mile Sprint Cup Series race under the lights of Charlotte Motor Speedway when damage sustained during a restart relegated them to a 27th-place finish.

Kansas Speedway was recently repaved. What are the challenges that you face when you go to a track that has a new surface?
"We tested at Kansas Speedway after the repave and the groove was starting to come in already. The racing will probably be single-groove when we go back there, but I think the middle groove will somewhat come in. The biggest challenge there is going to be getting on pit road. The transition from the banking to the apron is very abrupt and it's going to be hard on the splitter."

How badly did Kansas Speedway need to be repaved?
"It's hard to say (how badly Kansas Speedway needed to be repaved). From a driver's standpoint, we like old, worn out race tracks. From a track operations standpoint, I think they were having some issues with the track surface coming apart and some seepage issues, so they probably thought it was necessary."

Kansas Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway are often compared to each other as sister tracks. What are your thoughts?
"There's really no comparison now. Kansas (Speedway) has just been repaved and Chicagoland (Speedway) is quite an older race track, so there are not many similarities now."

Will all the notes be thrown out the window as teams travel back to Kansas Speedway?
"Yes, it's a totally different race track than when we were there this spring. We'll be starting from square one."

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