NASCAR BUSCH SERIES DRIVER PAUL MENARD DIARY ENTRY - SATURDAY, JULY 12

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7:00 a.m. ? Wake Up
The alarm went off at 7am and I went back to sleep immediately. Fortunately my roommate took the first shower so I got a few extra minutes to sleep. What I didn?t realize was that for a joke he filled the shampoo bottle with lotion while he was in there. When I went to wash my hair and squeeze the shampoo out, it didn?t feel right, but I lathered it in anyway and then I realized the trick. I could practically hear him laughing from outside in the room. That was a good one though. I?ll get him back somehow at St.Louis next week.

8:00 a.m. ? Peanut Butter Sandwich Breakfast
Our hotel had these new peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that are pre-made and packaged up in plastic. When was the last time you had a PB&J? So I tried one of those for breakfast and it was surprisingly pretty good. No heartburn, although it did require a little extra water to wash it all down. The ride to the track was easy. We had joked about maybe leaving earlier to avoid traffic, but figured if we couldn?t get to the track in three hours for the driver?s meeting then we had problems. Of course we made it in less than 20 minutes so I had a lot of time to hang out.

9:00 a.m. ? Waiting at the Track
This is the part that drives me nuts. Waiting. It seems like forever until the time we actually strap into the car. From the time I arrived at the track to the time the driver?s meeting started I just hung out at the trailer, talked with the team and kept a low profile.

1:00 p.m. ? Ready to Race
After driver introductions I could finally get over to the car and really start to focus on racing. I climbed in, tightened the belts and had a little conversation with Andy (Petree) about the start and what to expect in the race early on. When the window net went up, I was ready to go.

1:30 p.m. ? Rolling off Pit Road
In my mind it was just like any other race, even though obviously it was a big race for us and probably the biggest so far this year. Everything started out really well. The car felt great and we were racing from the moment go. When I got in trouble we were racing three-wide and I?m not sure what really went wrong other than the car just got away. Once I had drifted too high I couldn?t save it and it started to spin. My spotter did a good job of preparing me for the impact of the wall. I let go of the wheel once I knew I was going in so I didn?t get my hands caught up and in she went. That wasn?t so bad, it was the second hit by the other car after I had come to a stop that hurt more. Pointed the wrong way on the track I definitely saw him coming and my spotter yelled again, ?hang on, brace yourself, hold on...? Pow! The car slid into the front of ours. That one I felt. Unfortunately the car felt it pretty good too. I think it was salvageable had the second hit not occurred. I was fine though. I tried to radio to the guys that I was okay but the radio apparently wasn?t working. I found out afterwards that they were trying to talk to me too and couldn?t hear what I was saying so they had no idea if I was hurt or not.

3:00 p.m. ? Infield Care Center
It?s no fun taking the ride to the care center, but since I knew I was okay it wasn?t so bad. They did some mandatory tests to make sure I was fine and I was released. After that it was time to face the music and tell the cameras what happened, then head back to the garage and see the guys. I feel bad for them, they worked hard on this car and it was brand new. They were all really supportive though after what happened and I appreciate that ? this team is really great, they make you want to get back in right away and drive even harder the next race. And that we?ll do at Gateway next weekend.

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or more information on Menard's Tropicana Twister 300 race weekend diary.

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