Paul Menard has been coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) since he was a kid with his father, John. Eighteen years ago, he watched as Jeff Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 at the Speedway dreaming of one day winning at Indy. This past weekend, Menard achieved his lifelong dream – his first career win – as he beat the man he watched win years before by .725-second to the finish line.
“Paul’s been coming here since we carried him in at three years old,” said the elder Menard. “I remember sneaking him into the garage in an engine box because he was too young to be in here.
“All his life he wanted to race. He’s such a good boy. He’s a good young man. He’s persevered through it all and for the family, for him, for everybody it’s unbelievable.”
This past weekend, the Wisconsin native became the first driver to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and became the fifth different driver to earn his first Sprint Cup Series victory this season.
“Man, I’ve been coming here for a long, long time, but not nearly as long as my dad,” said Menard, who’s father used to field IndyCars at IMS. “To be the first one after all those years of him trying to win a race at Indy, it’s very special.”
With the victory, Menard put himself into contention for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He sits in the 14th position with one win and he currently holds one of the Wild Card spots with Denny Hamlin, who is currently 11th in the points. Carl Edwards continues to lead the Sprint Cup point standings; he is 11 points ahead of five-time reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. Kevin Harvick is third, while Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth round out the top five.
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will begin in seven races and Kansas Speedway will host the fourth race of the Chase with the Hollywood Casino 400 on October 9. Also that weekend, Kansas Speedway will host the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Kansas Lottery 98.9. Tickets are on sale now for all remaining races at Kansas Speedway and may be purchased by visiting www.kansasspeedway.com or by calling 866.460.RACE (7223).