2011 Stats: Points Finish 17th, 1 Win, 4 Top Fives, 8 Top Tens, Average Running Position 16.7, Average Finish 18.0, Laps Led 82, Driver Rating 78.9
Strengths- In 2011 Paul Menard was consistently good on restrictor plate tracks and flat tracks.
Weaknesses- I can’t stress enough how much you should try to avoid picking him at road courses and short tracks.
Intermediate Track Grade- B-, Historically this has been Menard’s best track type but he was very inconsistent last year. His finishes were all across the board and ultimately his numbers were those of a mid packer. On this track type David Ragan scored four more points and his driver rating is in the bottom two thirds of drivers (18th of 27) who I’m writing a fantasy preview for in 2012.
Flat Track Grade- B, In 2011 Paul Menard won the Brickyard 400 for his first career win. Talk about a good venue to get a “W’ at. New Hampshire was his only visible weak point (finished 20th and 24th). Last season Menard scored the 8th most points on this track type. The big benefit to him last season was RCR’s strength on this track type. This season an additional benefit will be RCR’s downsizing and the historical precedent of them performing better when the organization is smaller.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- B+, Last season Paul Menard had a career year on the plate tracks. He led the series in points scored (138 points), average finish (10th), and he tied with Clint Bowyer for best average running position (11th). So now you’re probably wondering why I didn’t give him a higher grade. I graded him lower because it’s a feat I don’t think he will replicate.
Wondering how I compiled these stats? Join FantasyRacingCheatSheet.com and use the Statistics Wizard
Short Track Grade- C+, From a career standpoint Paul Menard is almost about the last guy you would want to pick at a short track. He did have one good race though at these venues in 2011. In the spring Bristol race he finished 5th and led 35 laps. His combined average finish in the other short track races in 2011 was 32.6.
Road Course Track Grade- C, Don’t pick Menard at either road course. At Watkins Glen his best finish is 16th (25th place average finish) and at Infineon his best finish is 17th (24th place average finish). His numbers are not skewed at these tracks. He’s only finished off the lead lap once at each road course. If you pick him pencil yourself in for his average finish.
How to use Paul Menard from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2012? I would really focus on picking Menard at flat tracks, restrictor plate tracks and intermediate tracks. You gotta be careful though when it comes to picking him at intermediate tracks because his practice speeds aren’t always an accurate indicator of how he performs.