Menard Seeks More Success at Pocono

Paul Menard

“I honestly believe we could have won before Indianapolis." (Photo: Getty Images)

His Brickyard 400 victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was just the first of many according to Paul Menard who seeks another trip to victory lane Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

The Richard Childress Racing driver sees no reason why his team can’t find its way into the win column again as the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season rolls on.

“I honestly believe we could have won before Indianapolis,” said Menard, “and see no reason why we won’t challenge again to win over the next 16 races.”

While Menard isn’t one to give up any trade secrets of what made him the car to beat in Sunday’s race at Indy, he was willing to share one dietary nugget from his big day at the Brickyard.

“Oh, I had pancakes for breakfast on Sunday,” he laughed. “That was the first time all year I had pancakes. Normally I have cereal or oatmeal.”

Menard’s taste for wins certainly is on the increase now that he’s in position to challenge for a spot in the Chase. Heading into Sunday’s Good Sam RV Insurance 500, he holds one of the two new Wild Card spots that would get him into the playoffs.

But as Menard sizes up what lies ahead in the six weeks leading up to the Chase field being set after Richmond on September 10th, he likes his chances to add to that victory total.

“Michigan and Bristol, we've had top-fives at already this year,” Menard said. “Atlanta, last year we ran strong both races. Watkins Glen, we have run good there in the past. [We] haven't had the greatest finishes. Anything can happen there. We could win the race; we could finish 30th. We're going to try our hardest to get a good result."

Menard believes a good result can come on Sunday at Pocono where he started second back in June and finished fourteenth, despite having one of the fastest cars all afternoon. A pit road speeding violation took Menard out of contention for a better finish that afternoon but he’s still confident about the season’s second trip to the 2.5-mile triangle after his first performance there eight weeks ago.

“We had a really strong car in the race in June there,” he said. “We obviously qualified second. We were running second or third when we had a competition caution. I sped down pit road, put us in the back. We kind of played catch-up all day long.

“We just kind of had to race our way back up there. I think we wound up 14th or something, basically did that the old-fashioned way: just passing cars.”

Menard is tuning out detractors who point out his Brickyard win came on fuel mileage rather than simply outrunning the field with a fast racecar.

He dismisses the notion that the strategy employed to get to victory lane somehow diminishes the accomplishment.

“We won a fuel mileage race. I understand that, but we also had a really good car all day long and we’ve had good runs this year with three or four Top 5’s,” he said. “If we just kept knocking on the door, I felt like we were going to get one (win) if things just kind of played our way.

“We’ve had fast cars. Some guys maybe had to stretch fuel mileage a little bit differently or just kind of lucked into one. I don’t feel like we lucked into one; and I feel like we can get a few more.”

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