DOB: August 21, 1980
Hometown: Eau Claire, Wis.
It’s hard to take a Sprint Cup driver seriously when he looks like an extra from Talladega Nights. It gets even harder to do so when you consider that he’s from a town in Wisconsin that sounds like a desert. But what really makes it hard to accept is knowing that his father pours millions of sponsorship dollars into the sport. This has been a bone of contention for fans, fellow drivers and All Left Turns staffers in particular ever since he came onto the scene in 2006.
You can have your father buy your ride and write DEI a big check, but you can’t buy talent. And that’s what John Menard’s been good at his whole life, is just buying success. He’s bought his son a Nextel Cup ride and he’s just got enough talent to just be in the way most of the time. – Tony Stewart
Perhaps we’re all being a tad hasty. After all, the days of drivers hauling their own cars to the track, sleeping in their tool boxes and grazing in the infield for sustenance are long gone. Modern drivers begin training for their careers in the womb and it’s highly unlikely that any of them have known any true financial hardships in their climb to the top. Most of the active drivers are more like Menard than any of them care to admit.
So far as the All Left Turns staffers are concerned, we don’t hate Menard. Nor do we like him. Let’s just say that he keeps us endlessly amused and we’re always more than happy to make a joke at his expense.
However, when Menard’s team was swallowed up by Richard Petty Motorsports for the 2010 season, a funny thing happened. Paul Menard had a few decent runs. More than decent, actually… by March of 2010, Menard was sitting at eighth place in the points. Stranger still, Jimmie Johnson was not even in the top 12 at the time.
Frankly, we never expected to be posting a bio on Menard, seeing as how he rarely scratches the top 25 in points. Still, stranger things could happen… we could find ourselves putting up a Scott Speed bio.