27 PAUL MENARD, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 14th. Must win the Richmond race to secure a spot in the Chase.
RICHMOND RECORD: Finished fifth in the fall race a year ago for his first top-10 finish in 15 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Menard knows the Richmond race is "going to be crazy like it always is with short-track racing under the lights with a lot at stake. It's going to be exciting. For a lot of us, it's the last opportunity to make it into the Chase. You have to get the front end working, but it seems more and more lately with the way the cars are it's 'drive off' you need. The trick is you have to get your car to turn also."
LOOKING BACK: Crew chief Slugger Labbe gambled on a two-tire pit stop during the next-to-last caution flag of the night in an attempt to give Menard a shot at the win. The decision vaulted Menard to second. But he struggled on the restart and got tangled up with Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano to trigger another yellow flag. Menard ended the night in 18th place. "That was definitely not the finish we were hoping for," said Menard. "Just so hard to get a good restart up top."
ETC.: Because the practice sessions this weekend are during the day, Menard feels the teams need to do a "lot of predicting on what your car is going to do" when it comes to racing at night. "It (going from day to night) changes a little bit; it generally gains more grip but doesn't really get tighter or looser," adds Menard. "You gain some grip which then goes away because you're doing longer runs."