Menard Hopes for More Brickyard Glory

Paul Menard

"I've got the trophy in a spot right between my bedroom and the kitchen, so I walk by it a dozen times a day at least." (Photo: Getty Images)

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Paul Menard will shoot for back-to-back victories in Sunday’s Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Richard Childress Racing driver scored the only Sprint Cup Series win of his career in last year’s race and would like nothing more than to notch victory number two on Sunday.

“We are going to try like hell to,” said Menard. “We were fortunate enough to win the race last year and kiss the bricks, and like to do that again, for sure. We have to get better as a team. We are sitting 15th in points, lost a few spots last week, but in order to contend for race wins, we have got to get better and we all understand that and we are all working hard towards it.”

Menard says he’ll never forget the memorable trip to Victory Lane in last year’s race and has constant reminders around his home to ensure that lasting impression.

“Well, I've got the trophy in a spot right between my bedroom and the kitchen, so I walk by it a dozen times a day at least,” he joked. “Always reminded of that. Got a lot of little things, pictures, a fan at a Menards store a couple of months back gave me some T-shirts from the race, from the inaugural race in 1994, up to last year's race. Little keepsakes like that.

“A lady built me a quilt, it's a huge quilt, that I've got in our living room down stairs. Just a bunch of things that it's not really well organized, a lot of pictures, some montages and stuff, but got a little bit here and there throughout the house. A lot of reminders every day for sure.”

While Menard will always cherish that moment in his career he also understands the situation he faces in terms of making the Chase and turning around this season’s effort, which has not been as strong as he or crew chief Slugger Labbe had expected.

However, he’s enjoyed reflecting on what the 2011 Brickyard victory meant to him personally as well as the entire Menard family

“I mean, we are a family that we look forward a lot,” he said. “We enjoy our moments. We enjoyed the moment last year but we have been looking forward to this year, and I got to go home for about a week or two over Christmas and see the family, and we talked about it somewhat but mostly we were just working as a race team trying to get better this year.

“What happened last year was great, and I'll always cherish it. I have a lot of memorabilia from it. But the time now is to work on this year.”

The clock is ticking on Menard’s Chase chances with only seven races left in the regular season. He’ll most likely need at least a pair of wins to have any hope of a wild card berth and a victory Sunday in Indianapolis would go a long way in helping the cause.

“If we are going to make the Chase, we have to win at least a race,” said Menard. “Right now we are 15th in points, dropped a few spots last week. We are 15th in points and that are guys behind us but they are essentially ahead of us because they have race wins and are in the Top-20. In order to leapfrog those guys, we have to get one win, would make us feel a lot better.”

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