PAUL MENARD’S 100TH RACE

There are many milestones that flat-out floor me. Keith Richards hitting 60. "According To Jim" getting renewed. But Saturday night in Atlanta, Paul Menard might take the cake.



Menard will make his 100th NASCAR start. Only 177 drivers have ever worn that figurative blazer. But when you look at the numbers, you may ask the same question I did: How the *bleep* did this happen?

In 99 career starts, Menard has one top-five finish, a runner-up at Talladega, where anything can happen, as this well-placed video will document.

In 99 career starts, Menard has two top 10s. Two. He has been racing on the main circuit since 2003. Even Menard sounded floored when talking to reporters about this weekend.

"It’s hard to believe that I’ll be making my 100th Sprint Cup start this weekend in Atlanta," Menard said. "I can remember that day I first raced in a Cup Series event, and I have to admit, as I think every driver will say, it was a huge day."

Back to the original question, Menard is part of the same Menard family that owns the series of hardware stores with the catchy jingle. The store just so happens to be a primary sponsor, along with Johns Manville, which is affiliated with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. With friends like that, who needs a top 5?

I have never met Paul Menard. I’m sure he’s a fine guy who works hard and tries his best. But I have heard it said that if drivers don’t make the leap forward in two or three years, maybe they just can’t leap. Paul Menard has had nearly three full seasons and six calendar years to leap.

Menard’s 100th Cup start ’more than a landmark’ (NASCAR)