Like many a school kid returning to school after spring break, Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Maytag team will be hitting the books this week as the prepare for Saturday night’s 400-lapper at Richmond Raceway.
Menard and the team are coming off their season-best performance in which they finished sixth in last Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
And while Richmond falls in the same short-track category as Bristol, the similarities pretty much end there.
“It’s a totally different track,” Menard said.
For whatever reason, both he and his Wood Brothers team tend to struggle at Richmond. Menard, who has seven career top-10 finishes at Bristol, has just one at Richmond. The Woods have 26 top-10s at Bristol and 19 at Richmond.
Menard said he and the team plan to spend the week looking over notes from previous races and processing other data in hopes of reversing their Richmond fortunes.
“Bristol is one of our better tracks and Richmond is one of our worse tracks, so we’re going do a lot of studying this week,” he said.
Menard is hoping track officials don’t complicate matters more by applying PJ1 traction compound to the racing surface as was done with success at Bristol this past week.
“I don’t know if they’re going to lay any PJ1 down for that track,” he said. “I hope they don’t for that track. It widens out as it is.”
Qualifying at Richmond is set for 5:40 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, and the 400-lap race is scheduled to start just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday with TV coverage on FOX.