NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
SPEEDWEEKS MEDIA DAY
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 14, 2013
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media and discussed Richard Childress Racing’s outlook for 2013, his plans beyond this season and other topics. Partial Transcript:
ERIC WARREN (DIRECTOR OF COMPETITION) HAS TALKED A LOT ABOUT GETTING THE THREE TEAMS ON PARALLEL TRACKS BUILDING THE CARS THE SAME WAY AND SO FORTH. TALKING ABOUT THAT IS EASY BUT GETTING EVERYBODY LINED UP TO DO THAT IS THE HARD PART. HOW IS THAT GOING SO FAR?
“It sounds good on paper, but it’s tough to do in practice obviously. Eric (Warren) is one of those guys he has great organizational skills. A very structured guy and if anybody can do it, it’s him. Every team wants all their cars to work together. Any multicar team that is the goal is to get everybody sharing information, but it’s tough to do. You just have to bring everybody together. Have meetings, sit everybody down to have open dialogue on what everybody is working on to try to go to the same focus. What you don’t want to do is have two cars do the same thing over and over and just waste time.”
THE COMPANY (RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING) HAS OBVIOUSLY STRUGGLED ON THE CUP SIDE THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE ISSUE? WHAT’S BEEN HOLDING YOU GUYS BACK?
“Last year was a struggle. I would say 2011 we were pretty good as a company. I think every car expect the No. 31 won a race. Kevin (Harvick) won several. Last year we took a step back. We just got behind on some of the tricks I guess with the skew. We were one of the late comers to that. Then having Eric (Warren) come in towards the end of the year I think we saw our performance pick up a little bit towards October, November. Just getting everybody on the same page and working the same direction that has translated to this 2013 car trying to get everything that we can build up a notebook for the off season and all the testing we have done. I feel like we have got good speed and I think the test in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks is going to be one of the biggest test of the year just to understand what these cars do.”
IS (KEVIN) HARVICK’S WIN AT PHOENIX SORT OF AN ILLUSTRATION OF WHAT ERIC (WARREN) IS TRYING TO GET GOING?
“Yeah, that was a great example of team work. The No. 27 guys we tested there at Phoenix with the 2013 car a couple of weeks before the race. We struggled in practice, all of us struggled in practice and we basically threw in what we learned with the 2013 car at the test. We threw that in and we felt like we were really good in happy hour and then the No. 29 just threw that in for the race kind of going off of what we said. We kind of had the same issues they were fighting so they threw in our setup and he went out and won the race. That is the way it should be.”
THIS IS A REALLY BIG YEAR FOR YOU WITH YOUR CONTRACT COMING UP HAVE YOU DECIDED WHAT YOUR PLANS ARE GOING TO BE BEYOND 2013?
“It’s a contract year so I’m sure these questions will be coming throughout the year. I hope by middle of summer we will have an answer for everybody.”
HAVE YOU LOOKED INTO ANYTHING BEYOND WHERE YOU ARE AT AND WHAT YOU ARE DOING? WOULD SLUGGAR (LABBE, CREW CHIEF) STILL BE PART OF THE PACKAGE?
“Yeah, honestly I haven’t had discussions with anybody. Sluggar (Labbe) is a great friend and a hell of a crew chief.”
COULD YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS WERE OF A CHILD OF GROWING UP IN RACING?
“I grew up around it. One of my earliest memories was my Dad used to race go-karts. I was too little to reach the pedals so I would sit in his lap. He would run the pedals and I would steer the steering wheel in his race kart. I was probably three or four years old.”
HOW CAN KURT (BUSCH) FIT INTO WHAT YOU GUYS ARE TRYING TO DO? THERE IS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT HIM HAVING MORE OF A ROLE THIS YEAR CAN HE BE A BOOST?
“I mean Kurt (Busch) he’s a champion. He is a race winning champion. He has the same equipment that we do essentially. Even though his team is out in Colorado it’s almost like a fourth car. We share a lot of information. He is in our weekly meetings, our race weekend meetings also. He is a highly driven, motivated guy, not afraid to speak his mind either which is a good thing.”
DOES HE FIT IN PERSONALITY WISE WITH THE GROUP?
“Yeah, we all get along great. All four of us get along. All four of us have pretty distinctly different personalities but we all have good working relationships and feed off each other.”