Paul Menard says he is excited by the prospect of making his first appearance in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona this weekend.
Menard will be making his debut for Yates Racing in the event, with the Shootout also marking the first outing for the #98 Ford Fusion with support from Quaker State.
Having taken pole on his last outing at Daytona back in July, Menard has show his pace at the Florida circuit in the past and will now seek to secure a strong result ahead of the Daytona 500 a week later.
"It's really cool to be entered in the Budweiser Shootout this season,” he said. “In the past, I've had to watch it on TV, but this year we'll be a part of it. In year's past you had to win a pole to get into the Shootout and after winning the pole last year at Daytona, I immediately thought about being in the Shootout. Now with the new format and being with a new team, it's cool to be a part of it this year.
“I've seen over the last couple of years what great engines the Yates cars have gone to track with, which makes it even more exciting. I know Larry (Carter – crew chief) and all the guys back at the shop have been working on this car a lot over the last couple of months, and it's cool to see how excited Larry is about this race. Being in the race is great a chance for us to get some extra practice time on the track and an extra race to get the crew guys back into the groove of the season.
“It's a race that you don't hold back, you aren't racing for points, just the trophy. Hopefully we can go out there and run a good race and get ready for next weekend's Daytona 500.”