CHARLOTTE, NC – Paul Menard, a staple in Richard Childress Racing’s lineup the last few years is moving over to the Wood Brothers after Ryan Blaney moved over to Team Penske after the 2017 season. Menard has proven he can handle a Monster Energy Cup car, and now he goes to the oldest team on the circuit, bringing some sponsorship from his family’s business. He sat down with the media at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour and answered questions.
When asked how it felt to be able to help the Woods gain their 100th victory, Menard was ready, willing and happy to be a part of this historic feat.
“If you look at their history and their list of drivers that have driven for them, everybody has given them wins but nobody has given them their 100th win. That would be remarkable,” Menard said. “Ever since I was a little kid I loved history and I love racing, so I love racing history. When I was a little kid I could memorize every Indy 500 winner from 1911 through like 1995 or whenever I stopped doing that. I have always loved history and the Woods are the most historic racing group. When I think of the Wood Brothers I think of my family history, they are different. Totally different. Our racing heritage started in the late ‘70’s and theirs is 1950. I don’t think there is even a comparison. Nonetheless, to have the two groups together is pretty exciting. I know my dad is super excited. He is a racing historian as well and he is super excited for all this. More importantly, we just want to go out and compete and contend for that 100th win.”
Running for the Wood Brothers means that Menard will have Roush Yates engines under the hood of the No. 21 Ford. Menard was plenty excited about that.
“The Fords have been super strong at Daytona and Talladega with Ricky winning a couple and Brad winning one,” said Menard. “The Fords have been really good at plate tracks. I am supposed to go up to the shop next week and get a walkthrough. Going from a Chevrolet to a Ford there are some different things with switches and how they reset the power and stuff that a driver needs to know in a situation for troubleshooting scenarios during a race. There is stuff like that that I have to learn.
“We will do a test next week in Las Vegas and go through a lot of that stuff. The power they have at plate tracks and any track really, and the heritage they have at Ford Performance. They have been around a long time with a great heritage and they are all in through many different series. Talking to the Ford Performance people at Homestead last fall, they are all in. They are hard-nosed racers and want to go get it done.”
Menard doesn’t have social media accounts. No Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram accounts. When told that he could have someone assigned to do it for them, he rejected it.
“That wouldn’t be true then. Wouldn’t be genuine.”
For now, it looks like Menard will be speaking with his performance on the track instead of using a keyboard.