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When he retires from NASCAR, Paul Menard will go racing – ice racing, that is

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When a NASCAR driver retires, he typically either quits cold turkey or moves on to other challenges.

Some even stay in racing as a team owner, broadcaster or some other type of role.

But that likely won’t be the case for NASCAR Cup driver Paul Menard, who has among the more unique post-retirement racing plans of any NASCAR driver past or present.

“I’m probably going to own an ice racing team at some point,” Menard said of his future plans Wednesday during the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte.

Yep, you know, the kind of thing they do on the frozen lakes and rivers in Menard’s native state of Wisconsin, as well as Minnesota, Canada and other points north. No matter if it’s a car, motorcycle, snowmobile, ATV or more, if it can hold its weight and not crash into the water, it’s a candidate for ice racing.

Why ice racing for Menard? First off, he’s been doing it since he was 15 years old. And while Menard has only one NASCAR Cup win (2011 Brickyard 4oo) and two Xfinity triumphs, he’s a 10-time event winner in International Ice Racing Association competition.

In the bigger picture, the 36-year-old Menard has been around racing his entire life. His father, John, founder of the Menards home improvement stores chain, spent more than 30 years in racing himself (he’s now retired), primarily as a team owner of several cars that competed in the Indianapolis 500. His teams also won the 1997 and 1998 Indy Racing League championships.

The younger Menard may eventually follow in his father’s footsteps, but for now – and after ice racing – he has NASCAR as his next priority if and when he would ever form or buy a team.

“As far as NASCAR, I’m going to leave the door open,” Menard said. “I have no idea. But whenever I do retire, I’m going to stay involved in motorsports.

“It’s a passion, it’s what I’ve always done, my whole family is involved and it’s all we do. When that day comes, I’m going to spend the season ice racing and go from there.”

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NASCAR America: Jimmie Johnson’s patience propels him to victory lane in Food City 500

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Jimmie Johnson is known for his patience behind the wheel. Where other drivers may get too hot under the collar and over-react, Johnson is typically cool as a cucumber — and that’s helped lead him to many of his 82 career NASCAR Cup wins.

That patience once again played out in Johnson’s win Monday in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, only his second career triumph (and first in seven years) at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”

On Monday’s NASCAR America, Greg Biffle and Kyle Petty discussed Johnson’s patience throughout Monday’s race.

 

 

Heavy foot on pit road foils Kyle Larson once again at Bristol

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Kyle Larson did everything he could to win Monday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

He led a race-high 203 laps in the 500-lap event, including dominating Stage 1, leading all 125 laps, as well as the first 77 laps in Stage 2.

But Larson, known for the heavy foot he has, saw that need for speed at the wrong time likely cost him the win.

When Erik Jones wrecked on Lap 422, Larson came to pit road and was too fast across two consecutive timing zones on the front straightaway en route to his pit stall.

“I was just pushing on pit road and messed up there,” Larson said after the race. “To start the race, I was the leader, I would run all my greens down pit road, and then once I fell back … down the straightaway I was running one red and flashed the second red real quick, and I guess that was all she wrote.”

NASCAR penalized Larson for speeding on pit road, dropping him to the back of the longest line, restarting in 20th place with 72 laps left in the race.

“Yeah, I knew I gave the race away there,” Larson said. “(I’m) disappointed in myself. I think I speed on pit road every single time I come to Bristol. So, I’ve got to clean that up.”

There’s that heavy foot admission once again.

Ironically, it was Larson’s first speeding penalty this season.

To his credit, Larson was able to quickly climb back up the grid, but couldn’t finish higher than sixth.

Still, Larson tried to a positive spin on things as he began to leave the track.

“I don’t know what more you could ask out of this place,” Larson said. “This is the best track we go to, most exciting place, and I love coming here.”

But he doesn’t like the way he came out of it once again, thanks to that darn heavy foot.

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NASCAR America: Dale Jarrett, Kelli Stavast recap Bristol driver performances

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After waiting out 28 straight hours of rain, Monday’s rescheduled Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway produced a rather exciting race.

The addition of adhesive to the lower grove at the track gave drivers additional grip that led to side-by-side and even three-wide racing.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Kelli Stavast discussed the top driver performances in Monday’s race.

 

 

NASCAR America: My Home Track: Maine’s Oxford Plains, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway

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NASCAR America’s My Home Track series continued Monday as we visited Maine, otherwise known as the Pine Tree State.

Not only is it a great state for racing, including places like Oxford Plains and Beach Ridge Motor Speedway, Maine also lays claim to NBCSN’s own Steve Letarte, who paid homage to his home state in Monday’s edition of NASCAR America.