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Mar 09, 2014 - 09:15 PM
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2014 Las Vegas: Paul Menard NASCAR Sprint Cup Post-Race Press Conference
Posted by: ASkyler on Mar 09, 2014 - 09:15 PM
NASCAR News
2014 Las Vegas: Paul Menard NASCAR Sprint Cup Post-Race Press Conference


PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 QUAKER STATE/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS - FINISHED THIRD

KERRY THARP: Our third‑place finisher is Paul Menard. Today Paul drove the No. 27 Quaker State Menard's Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Certainly a valiant effort out there today. Just talk about your afternoon.

PAUL MENARD: Yeah, just had a really solid car all day and all weekend, really. Started on Thursday, felt like in race practice Thursday we were really strong, switched over to qualifying trim Friday and still the car drove good, we just didn't have any speed, so wound up qualifying 21st.

Did a few adjustments from yesterday, felt like we ended happy hour good, did a few adjustments overnight, anticipating the track was going to be a little bit hotter, slicker, kind of played into our favor, and really had a solid car from the green flag. We tightened it up a little bit the first couple runs, and then we freed it back up and kind of bounced back and forth. Felt like we had definitely a top 3 car and at times the best car. It was cool going up and passing Jimmie for the lead and passing him for a few laps, but just proud of my guys. We're clicking really well, we got a couple new engineers and of course Slugger is back for our fourth or fifth year working together, so a good group of guys. Our pit crew's pit stops were awesome.

 

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Q. Paul, there were all kinds of fuel strategies and stuff going on today. How did you guys fall into that, and did things work out sort of as you planned?

PAUL MENARD: Yeah, had it gone green two runs ago, we were like four laps short, so it's hard to save four laps. When that caution came out, we knew that we were going to pit. The question was whether or not to take right sides or gas only. Took gas only, spun the tires really bad on the restart. Everybody on the outside lane seemed to really spin their tires. Whoever had clean air seemed like they checked out. You saw the 2 do that earlier; the 88 did it at the end. So clean air obviously is still very important, but I felt like our car, I could move lanes and we could race people and pass people, which was obviously really important.

Q. You were driving like a guy trying to get to the hospital for the birth of your kid. Can you talk about the situation with your wife, any update on that? When is her due date?

PAUL MENARD: The due date is Tuesday. My phone is back at the hauler so she might have called, but I told her to call. Matt Crafton is my backup and he really wants to get in the car, so I told Jennifer if it's important, call Matt because he's sure as hell going to tell me. I didn't get the call, though, so I guess everything is good.

Q. Paul, as a company overall, can you evaluate how you guys are running right now? Do you feel like you have the strength that you need with all your cars to contend each week?

PAUL MENARD: Well, it's too early to tell, really. Obviously Speedweeks were really good for RCR with Austin on the pole; every single car was fast down there. Phoenix was kind of a scratching our heads. None of us felt like we were very good there. The 31 had the best finish of us all, but they kind of played some strategy to get up there.

Obviously our short track program I feel like is where we need to focus on. Intermediate track, I think Ryan finished 7th and Austin had a good car all day. We just need to ‑‑ we've got a good baseline for intermediate stuff; we've just got to work on our short track stuff more. But overall, proud of everybody. Richard has put a big investment in the off‑season hiring some new people, and I feel like our engineering and support staff is awesome.

KERRY THARP: Paul, outstanding effort this afternoon. Best of luck next week at Bristol.

PAUL MENARD: Thanks. Got a plane to catch. (Laughter.)

ADDITIONAL POST-RACE COMMENT:

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 ASPEN DENTAL CHEVROLET SS - FINISHED 21ST:

"For us on the 10 car, we were really good all weekend. The guys on the Aspen Dental Chevy gave me a great car. The weakest session we had all weekend was the last practice. I’m really happy with the cars this year. I was running with the leaders the last half of the race, but I was a lap down. Unfortunately, one car always stayed out (rather than pitting), so we couldn’t get our lap back (via the wave around). And we just missed the lucky dog spot. Obviously you always want more, but I’m happy with it, especially after what we’ve gone through the last two weeks. It’s a good day and gives us something to build on going to Bristol."


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