CHEVY NSCS AT LAS VEGAS: Paul Menard Press Conference Transcript



American Muscle


March 4, 2011

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MOEN-MENARD CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and discussed the start to his season and being the new guy at RCR . Full transcript:

TALK ABOUT THE START TO YOUR SEASON: “We’ve had a good start to the season. Daytona went really well for us. We came out of there with a ninth place finish and we were disappointed with that. We had a really fast car down there. Phoenix we had a good car again. Got some damage early in the race. Go the toe knocked out, had some tire wear issues from there on, that hurt us at the end of the day. Just proud of the way a brand new race team is coming together. They build me really nice looking, beautiful race cars. They are fast. We have awesome horsepower. Just looking forward to get the ball rolling here with the season. We are at a totally different type of race track here in Vegas. So far, so good. Looking forward to qualifying. I think we’ll have a good starting spot and we’ll work on race trim tomorrow and see what we’ve got.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON CALIFORNIA? “I am not really sure whether I like it or not honestly. The races tend to get really strung out, a lot of green flag racing, which is fine for us, but the fans probably don’t like that as much. We have long runs we can kind of analyze our car and we can make adjustments to it and make it go faster obviously. That part of it is really neat. It is kind of disappointing that nobody shows up for the race, you know? It is a huge market. It is a beautiful race track. They promote it well it seems like. It is hard to get people in the grandstands which is unfortunate. Hopefully, cutting back a race will really help that. The race itself. Yes, it is pretty fun.”

TALK ABOUT BEING AT RCR AND THE BENEFITS: “There are a lot of familiar faces up there first off. A lot of people from DEI (Dale Earnhardt, Inc.) are there now. Just walking through the shop I see a lot of people I’ve known the last few years which is really cool and helps with the learning process and all that. The race cars are very light. They do a really good job with the fit and finish of them. The welds are beautiful. If you just look at the race cars, you can tell they are nicely built. Slugger (Richard Labbe, crew chief) coming over is a huge deal obviously. He has assembled a group of a couple of guys that were with me last year and a lot of guys that he has worked with in the past and people that he is familiar with. It is a really good group of guys. So far this year we’ve gone out to dinner at some point every weekend and everybody just gets along really well and it is cool to see.”

ARE THE CRASHES WE ARE SEEING A TREND OR IS IT TIRES OR WHATEVER? “There definitely seems to be a sense of urgency when the green flag drops. I don’t know if it is double-file restart or what, but even from last year and especially the year before last, it doesn’t seem like it was that way. Now the last couple of years it has amped up a lot. Probably because of the double-file restarts, you can gain a lot on those restarts if you play it right and people are just trying to get all they can. Look the practice times and how close everybody is. If you can gain two spots on a restart that goes a long ways. But there does seem to be a big sense of urgency and people are racing really hard and really early and I think it is just the nature of the beast. The cars are so competitive, so close together. Just trying to get all they can.”

YOU ARE AHEAD OF ALL YOUR RCR TEAMMATES IN POINTS, HAVE THEY JOKED WITH YOU ABOUT BEING THE NEW GUY? “Everybody has been good to work with from all four crew chiefs working well together to all four of us drivers working well together. We’re quickest in this practice, of our group and we had a lot of different colored shirts up in the hauler kind of asking tire pressures and what we were doing with springs and stuff. It is neat to have people ask you for help too. Being the new team, being the new guys on the block, it is cool that they respect us and want to learn some things. Obviously we go right back to them with questions we have for them. Some things that worked for us last year aren’t going to work this year and we are going to have to learn these new cars. It is a totally different chassis and just trying to work through some things. We struggled a little bit this first practice trying to do somethings we did last year and it hasn’t worked the same. We are learning these cars as we go. I’ve been really well received in the whole group and that’s neat for me personally and professionally. Same with Slugger, he fits right in with Gil (Martin, No. 29 crew chief) and Todd (Berrier, No. 31 crew chief) and Shane (Wilson, No. 33 crew chief) there, so it has been really good.”

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