Originally written December 24, 2012 on Start 'N' Park Blog:
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Start ‘N’ Park Blog is taking a look back at the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver by driver. This recap will take a look at the driver’s stats, the season’s highlights, the season’s lowlights, what a quick look at next year. This installment takes a look back at Paul Menard who finished in the 16th place in the final standings. 2012 Statistics: Points: 1,006 Position: 16th Preseason Pick: 15th Starts: 36 Poles: 0 Wins: 0 Top 5s: 1 Top 10s: 9 DNFs: 1 Earnings: $4,062,235 What Was Said Prior To The Season: “Paul Menard scored a win last year at Indianapolis that no one saw coming. Now, we’re a little more prepared and I could see him getting another one. He was aided last year coming out of the gate flying, so if he can do that again and not hit the summer slide, he could be in good positioning for the last quarter of the season.” What Happened In 2012: Menard started strong with two top 10 finishes in the first three races, then fell slat. Not that it was terrible finishes, but it was 15-25th each week for a good portion of the season, that put him in a place to maybe make the Chase, but he’d need wins to do so. He couldn’t get another win after shocking the world at Indianapolis in 2011. His best finish was a third at Kansas late in the season. His Richard Childress Racing teammates also struggled in 2012, so it might have been more of a team problem than Menard himself. On To 2013: Menard is back again with Richard Childress Racing, but the expectation is to have him show something to prove that he can be the guy with the team once Kevin Harvick leaves after 2013. I feel he might be eclipsed by the upcoming Dillon brothers and becoming an afterthought with the team, but we’ll see how that shakes out in the next 2-3 years.
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