This Week's Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway ... Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 388 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet was last utilized at Talladega Superspeedway in May where Menard started 17th and finished 17th after receiving heavy damage in a multi-car incident while running third in the closing laps.This chassis was also used at the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in February where the Eau Claire, Wis. native started 37th and brought home a sixth-place finish.
Slightly different colors on the Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet in the Sunshine State ... The No. 27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet will sport a different look this weekend when the Sprint Cup Series rolls into the Daytona Beach, Fla., superspeedway, carrying a special paint scheme of "Quaker State green" and "Menards yellow."
By the Numbers at the World Center of Racing ... At a track notorious for the field-reducing "Big One," Menard has completed an impressive 99.2 percent of his laps (1,773 of 1,788) in 10 previous starts. He has an average starting position of 23.6 and an average finishing position of 17.3, with his best finish of sixth coming in the 2012 Daytona 500. He has led for 37 laps. Menard earned the pole award at Daytona International Speedway for the 2008 Coke Zero 400 (July). The following year, he started the Budweiser Shootout from the pole position when he drew the top spot during Budweiser's annual Shootout Draw Party.
Getting Loopy in 2012 ... With 17 points-paying events of the 2012 season complete, Menard sits 13th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 60 points out of the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup spot. In his sophomore year with RCR, Menard has an average starting position of 18.4, an average finishing position of 16.1, maintains an average running position of 18.2, and has completed 99.6 percent of his laps (5,007 of 5,027).
Q&A with Menard ... On Friday, July 6 from 2:30 - 2:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Menard will participate in a question and answer session at the Coke Zero Club, one of Daytona International Speedway's premier hospitality areas for fans. For more information on the Coke Zero Club, please visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.
Race Rewind ... Menard and the Quaker State/Menards took the green flag in the 10th position to start the 2011 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona and quickly paired up with RCR teammate Kevin Harvick to create a powerful two-car tandem and raced to the front. The pair battled in the lead pack for the majority of the 170-lap race, and Menard took the checkered flag in the eighth position.
In the Rearview Mirror: Kentucky Speedway ... Menard and the No. 27 Sylvania/Menards team battled back to regain lost track position after a lengthy pit stop to finish 12th in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.
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PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
You have three consecutive top-10 finishes at Daytona International Speedway. How confident do you feel going back there?
"We feel good about our superspeedway program. The question is where are you with five laps to go? That's what it comes down to. Also, it depends on how long you can push (the car in front of you) before temperatures get too high. We have some work to do on our engine management and cooling. We've had fast cars and have been able to get good results at Daytona (International Speedway), knock on wood we'll get another one."
Why do you think that Daytona International Speedway fits you?
"I don't think it is that the track (Daytona International Speedway) necessarily fits me, it's that we've had fast cars. There's not a lot you can do behind the wheel except hold it wide open, manage temperatures and point the car where you want it to go. Fast cars, good teammates and good strategies are what you need for success at Daytona."
Looking at the tandem versus non-tandem racing as we go back to Daytona International Speedway, is the racing the way you like it or what would be optimal for you?
"Optimal for me would be to take the restrictor plates off and flatten the track, but I don't think that's going to happen. It is what it is, honestly. If it is tandem racing or pack racing, or a mixture of both, which it is now, that's what we have to deal with."
Are there certain drivers that you like to draft with or draft around at the superspeedways? Do you look for certain guys or just take what you can get?
"Unfortunately, these races are managing your engine temperature. For us, we've spent about 80 percent of the race not racing, and instead riding around. Towards the end, you start heating up your engine and making a move to the front. At that time, you really go with whoever you can to move forward. I'll work with anyone. Everyone out here knows what they're doing, it's just unfortunate that you have to wait that long to go race."
Does the 400 miles of the Coke Zero 400 feel any different than the 500 miles of the Daytona 500?
"No, I don't feel a difference between the Coke Zero 400 and the Daytona 500. Other than the (Coke Zero) 400 is at night and it's a lot hotter in July, there's not much of a difference. With the repave of the track, the grip level is still very good even though it is a lot hotter in July."