MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
PRE-SEASON MEDIA AVAILABILITY
CHARLOTTE MEDIA TOUR
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JANUARY 25, 2017
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Charlotte Media tour and discussed his outlook for the season, his favorite NFL team being knocked from the playoffs, and racing on road courses. Full transcript:
CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE MORE CHANGES TO YOUR CAR TO THE ENGINE OR AERO PACKAGE FROM RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING?
“Since 2014, when we debut this new car, we’ve taken downforce away every year. This is a big change for us for aero this year, and I think NASCAR is going to continue to tweak it. We want to put more downforce on next year if we see this isn’t the way to go. NASCAR isn’t afraid of making changes as we’ve all seen with the format and we’ve seen with the cars the past few years, and you have to stay up with current events and what makes for a good package on the racetrack. Personally, I’m a proponent for less downforce, maybe stickier tires that fall off. I think every driver is pretty much on board with that. The key is the tire combination with this low-downforce package is still have those big numbers on pole day and still see 190 mph qualifying speeds, but race at 160 to 170 mph. That would slow things down, make aero a little less important, and make for better racing.”
YOU’VE SAID BEFORE THERE ARE A LOT OF LITTLE THINGS YOU HAVE TO BE AGGRESSIVE WITH. CAN YOU ELABORATE ON THOSE LITTLE THINGS AND HOW YOU PLAN ON ATTACKING IT?
“Life gives you little things you have to be aggressive with. In a race car it’s just capitalizing on what’s in front of you. You have such little windows to maybe make a move, put you three-wide on a restart and things like that. Those windows are very quick and if you wait too long bad things happen. There are so many little things like that. Just having the opportunity to capitalize, pushing the limits to get the cars as good as you can. Through the garage area, you see all these cars trying to get through tech, they get pulled out … just being aggressive with everything you have to to compete at this stage.”
THE PACKERS ARE GONE AND THE PANTHERS DIDN’T EVEN MAKE IT. YOU HAVE ANY ROOTING INTEREST IN THE SUPER BOWL?
“I’m going to watch it, but I have zero rooting interest. The Packer loss last week was ugly. I knew it was going to be tough to win, but they lost pretty badly. I’m not going to pull for anybody so I hope it’s a close game and a good game. That’s all I care about.”
IN YOUR NEXT CHAPTER, WHATEVER YOU DECIDE TO DO, DO YOU HAVE ANY INTEREST IN TEAM OWNERSHIP? WOULD YOU EVER YOU SEE YOURSELF MOVING INTO THAT ROLE?
“I probably want to own an ice-racing team at some point. As far as NASCAR, I’m going to leave the door open. I have no idea, but whenever I do retire I’m definitely going to stay involved in motorsports. It’s a passion; it’s what I’ve always done. My whole family is involved with this; it’s what we always do, so when that day comes I’m going to spend the season ice racing and go from there.”
HOW MUCH TIME HAVE YOU SPENT WITH (NEW CREW CHIEF) MATT BORLAND IN THE OFF-SEASON AND WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE FROM THAT CHANGE?
“Every time Matt and I spend time together, I get more impressed with him. We’ve spent quite a bit of time together in the off-season, more so than a normal driver-crew chief relationship, I think, just because we don’t know each other. We made an effort from early November to current to just talk all the time, get lunch, get breakfast, do walk-throughs at the shop. Just things like that to try to understand each other. He has a particular way about asking questions. He knows the answer, but he’s going to ask you the question to see how you perceive it and he’s always pushing you to think outside the box a little bit. I’m really looking forward to working with him. We have a really good team built. He’s brought some new guys and I’m looking forward to getting to know them better throughout the year. I’m looking forward to good things.”
WOULD YOU BE OPEN TO HAVING A ROAD COURSE IN THE PLAYOFF AND COULD YOU SEE DAYTONA OR INDY BEING TESTED IN THE FUTURE?
“Two road courses are not enough. Our cars are not built for road racing, which makes it exciting to both driver and put the product out for the fans. I’ve said all along that there are these tracks that we go to two times like Kansas and Charlotte that have road courses available. I’ve driven on the Daytona road course. It’s a good mixture of high speed and really slow speed corners, so there’s a lot of give and take setup-wise with what you develop for. I’ve actually won on road courses in the Grand Am Series at Fontana and Phoenix. The Phoenix one is particularly exciting because it’s so small. It’s like a short-track road course. Putting one in the Chase is what our sport needs, for sure, just to shake things up. We have speedways, we have intermediates and short tracks. Throw a road course in there.”