Column By: MATTHEW WIERNASZ / RPW – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Paul Menard will be driving the iconic Wood Brothers # 21 heading into the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.
” Its special obviously. The history the Woods have in our sport not just in NASCAR but in all of motor racing.” Menard Said
Heading into Daytona this weekend, it will be Menard’s 400th start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and if he wins the Daytona 500, it will be the 100th win for the Wood Brothers.
Technical alliances are happening a lot in the sport. The Wood Brothers have that with Penske Racing. Menard feels its extremely important.
” Its a really good relationship that they have build the last few years between the Wood Brothers and Penske. The Wood Brothers have deep root with Ford.” Menard Said
There will be sharing information with the other Penske Racing drivers. They did a test at Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. Brad Keselowski was there representing Penske Racing during the test. Menard was also at the test and both teams shared a lot of information as they shared driver traces.
” They had their test plan and we had ours. We compared notes on the changes. Pretty open book between both organizations.” Menard Said
The Wood Brothers were associated with Roush Fenway Racing in a technical alliance when they ran a part time schedule in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and then they switched to Penske. From what Menard has seen and heard is been extremely strong.
” That’s kind of the way of the sport right now. Its hard to be a single car team on your own. We’ve seen a few of them have a good relationships with some of the organizations and be successful and that’s important to us.” Menard Said
We will be heading into year two of stage racing. Menard felt people understood how important it was last year. At the beginning of last year with stage, Menard feels that any driver could do anything they could do to setup for the win.
Last year during the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Menard felt mile and a half tracks were a big struggle for him and thought the short track program was pretty decent. He also felt that the Wood Brothers car has been strong pretty much everywhere especially on a mile and half tracks. The one thing Menard does not see changing during Speedweeks is how fast the Ford cars have been at Daytona the last couple years.
Menard knows heading to this season you want to get a win when you can and he will take a win at anytime but also have to be smart about the stage points as the cutoff race will be at Indianapolis this year.
” You’re in a good position to capitalize on points in your way and into the playoffs as well.Getting a win and getting into the playoffs. That’s our goal.” Menard Said