CHEVY NSCS AT RICHMOND ONE: Paul Menard Press Conference Transcript



American Muscle


APRIL 29, 2011

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 LIBMAN/MENARDS CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed his car at Richmond, racing at Darlington, the Indianapolis 500 and other topics. Full transcript:

DO YOU TRY TO LEARN THINGS THIS WEEKEND TO USE IN THE FALL RACE?: “Yeah, every week you learn something. Especially at the same track that we will go to again.”

ARE THERE CERTAIN THINGS YOU WILL LOOK AT THIS YEAR WITH THE WILD CARD OPTION FOR THE CHASE REGARDING WINS?: “We’re the same with all 45 cars or however many are in the garage. We do the best job we can every week, we try to learn as much as we can and apply it to the next time we come to the same track or a similar track. We’re learning stuff today that will help us in New Hampshire — both what to do and what not to do. It’s the same every week. We don’t do anything different.”

WHAT WERE YOU WORKING ON IN PRACTICE — RACE OR QUALIFYING?: “We were working on race trim the first practice. We started off in qualifying trim. The track was cooler than it will be this next session so we wanted to get a good number and get a late draw. Probably 10 or 15 guys did the same deal. We’ll have a good draw for qualifying I think. I’m not sure anybody’s going to go a whole lot faster in the second practice. Now it’s a short practice and we’ll work on qualifying trim.”

HOW WAS YOUR CAR IN PRACTICE?: “It was okay. Qualifying trim was good. We switched over to race trim and it was pretty good. Made a couple changes and it was not good at all. Really kind of got behind. Basically just went back to how we unloaded, reset it and it was back to being okay. We’ll learn some things here. I don’t think we’ll change a whole lot.”

WHY IS DARLINGTON ‘TOO TOUGH TO TAME?’: “It’s such a narrow track. It’s really fast. It used to be a hell of a lot tougher to tame before they paved it. Now you don’t slide around nearly as much. The track is not worn out like it used to be. The old Darlington was a lot of fun and you were always right-siding the car and getting up into the fence. Now it’s a lot tamer, but it’s a lot faster, the speeds are a lot more maintained. Still really narrow. Very aero dependent. Probably one of the most aero dependent tracks that we go to because there is basically one groove that you have to run. It’s still a lot of fun. It’s still Darlington and it’s a lot of fun.”

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT DARLINGTON?: “Now it’s all aero. Before they paved it you had to survive. Now it’s very aero dependent just like it is at like Texas, Michigan or California. Very aero dependent. Have to get the platform of the race car good. Last year we had a good car and had an alternator fail so just have to minimize the mistakes and it’s a lot of fun to race at. Can be really frustrating because it is single groove. A lot of aero tendencies, but it’s a lot of fun.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED SO FAR THIS SEASON?: “There is a lot of racing left to do. We’re trying to get better at these short tracks. This has been our struggle and ‘Slugger’ (Labbe, crew chief) and my struggle through all of last year at these short tracks. Phoenix didn’t go that well for us, Martinsville didn’t go that well for us. RCR (Richard Childress Racing) has a good short track package we’re trying to learn what our teammates are doing and we look forward to intermediate tracks. The superspeedways have been good for us, we just need to get these short tracks down.”

WHAT IS THE MONTH OF MAY LIKE WITH THE MENARD FAMILY HISTORY IN INDIANAPOLIS?: “I’m a big Indy car fan. I will be following all throughout the month of May. I think they’re in Brazil this weekend and then they come back for Indy. The two or three weeks that they’re there — I will be following it every step of the way, watching all the practice speeds every day and keep track of it. I know a lot of Indy car drivers, some are my friends and I try to keep up on all them. Definitely, it’s the biggest race in motorsports as far as I’m concerned. It’s cool to keep tabs of.”

DO YOU WANT TO RUN THE INDIANAPOLIS 500?: “Yeah, I would, I would like to. I don’t think it’s feasible and it’s probably not going to happen, but I would love to.”

HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT RUNNING FOR THE BIG PRIZE IF IT WAS OFFERED?: “No, I drove an Indy car one time at a test in Pikes Peak. It takes a lot more than to just jump in and think you’re going to do it. Those guys are the best at what they do. We won’t have a shot. It’s like them jumping over here for one race, they won’t have a shot.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE FAN SUPPORT OF RACING AT RICHMOND?: “Richmond has been a staple of the series for a lot of years. Virginia is the hot bed for racing, obviously. A lot of good fans out here. I’m sure it will be a sold out race Saturday night. It’s a good, old fashioned short track.”

IS IT IMPORTANT TO DO WELL THIS WEEKEND TO PREPARE FOR THE LAST RACE BEFORE THE CHASE?: “No more than any other week. We try to do the best job we can every week and we work just as hard for Richmond as we’re going to work for Darlington next week and what we worked for Talladega last week.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE DRIVERS ATOP THE LEADER BOARD?: “We had a good time, we did a qualifying run like a lot of guys did and had a good time. We’re off a little bit in race trim. We’re okay, but the race is what pays the points. We’re off just a little bit and need to find a tenth or two there. I think we’ll be fine when the sun goes down. We practice in the heat of the day and we race in the cold of the night. Have to take that into account also.”

DO YOU THINK DALE EARNHARDT JR. GETS TIRED OF PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT HOW LONG IT’S BEEN SINCE HE WON A RACE?: “Yes, for sure just like anybody would. You can only tolerate the same question so many times before you get fed up with them for sure.”

COULD DALE EARNHARDT JR. WIN AT RICHMOND?: “Yeah, definitely he’s got a shot at it as do 25 other guys. He’s got a good shot at it for sure.”

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