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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Paul Menard
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Last season was a good transition for Menard going from Richard Childress Racing to Wood Brothers Racing. He took over the No. 21 Ford and posted his best season since 2015. The 12-year veteran grabbed seven Top-10 finishes en route to a respectable 19th-place finish in the final point standings. Superspeedways and intermediate ovals were Menard's bread-and-butter last year. Five of his seven Top 10s came at these two types of tracks. While Menard didn't quite meet the level of performance Wood Brothers had grown accustomed to with Ryan Blaney, the veteran driver did keep the team operating at a competitive level. Menard and crew chief Greg Erwin both return for season two, and look to set the bar higher for the coming year. Menard's family sponsorship will continue funding a large portion of the team, and keep this 38-year-old racing in 2019.
Menard landed at Wood Brothers Racing during the off-season. He moves from Richard Childress Racing and the No. 27 Chevrolet and into the No. 21 Ford at Wood Brothers. Ryan Blaney elevated this small race team from part-time to full-time competition over the last two seasons. Menard will now be tasked with maintaining those gains and keeping this single-car team competitive. He brings his family sponsorship of Menards which will help tremendously to fund the team. Blaney grabbed a win and 14 Top 10's with this team last year, and those would be lofty goals for Menard. However, that potential is present and should be a motivator for the 37-year-old driver. Menard is a bit past his prime as a NASCAR driver, but he should enjoy a minor rebound in the upcoming season as this team carries a lot of momentum into 2018.
Menard is coming off one of his least productive seasons in recent memory. The Richard Childress Racing veteran only managed three Top-10 finishes in all of 2016 and that led to a lowly 25th-place finish in the point standings. Those marks were seven-year lows for the driver of the No. 27 Chevrolet. Menard got a change in crew chiefs at the end of last season when veteran chief Matt Borland came on board with the team. This should hopefully spur the veteran driver to better performance this season once the two develop some chemistry and communication. Menard has the potential to post 8-10 Top 10s this season, so his ability to climb these rankings is obvious. 2017 is a contract year for Menard, so the motivation to improve will certainly be there.
Menard is entering a contract season in his sixth year at Richard Childress Racing. While this driver and team has steadily improved over their time together, last year was a bit of a downturn in performance. Menard only posted five top-10 finishes en route to a 14th-place finish in the driver standings. While his average finish stayed good at 17.1, there just weren't the great runs in there that we're used to seeing with this veteran driver. Justin Alexander will return atop the team's war wagon in 2016 and hope to turn things back in the right direction. Menard has the ability to post 9-12 top-10 finishes and make a bid for a Chase berth. With his contract status in limbo at the end of 2016, there's plenty of motivation for this driver to improve and encourage a contract extension at RCR.
Last year was a bit of a lost season for Richard Childress Racing as a whole, but Menard somehow managed to tread water. He collected a career-best nine Top 10’s and finished a respectable 16th in the final championship standings. Still, he was unable to find victory lane which was a major frustration for the winner of the 2011 Brickyard 400. The trends are RCR are a bit troubling so it’s hard to be overly optimistic for Menard and the No. 27 team in 2013. With the departure of teammate Kevin Harvick at the end of next year and the waning performance of teammate Jeff Burton, Menard will get more focus from the RCR team, but at an expense.
More Fantasy News
Wood Brothers Racing announced that two-time NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Champion Matt Crafton will be on stand-by for Menard in Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Talladega Superspeedway. Crafton will spend time practicing the No. 21 Menards/Tarkett Ford Mustang on Friday to get acclimated to the car.
Retiring after 2019
Leads Brickyard Happy Hour
Menard was fastest in Happy Hour practice for the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Saturday afternoon. He turned a fast lap of 185.079 mph.
Wins Xfinity Pole at Michigan
Menard won the pole for the LTi Printing 250 Xfinity Series race at Michigan International Speedway. He turned a fast lap of 193.356 mph.
10th-Place at Richmond
Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Maytag team backed up their sixth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway a week ago by scoring a 10th-place finish on Saturday night at Richmond Raceway, which in recent seasons hasn't been one of their best tracks, woodbrothersracing.com reports.