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Paul Menard welcomes Bud Shootout shot
Paul Menard
A week from Saturday Paul Menard will race in his first Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.  Additionally, he will unveil the 2009 Quaker State-Menards Ford Fusion and get that jump start to racing during Speedweeks he has not had in his first two seasons of Sprint Cup racing.

"It's definitely going to be cool to run in that event," Menard said. "The last couple years I've had to watch it on TV, so actually getting in this year and being able to race will be a big advantage for us."

For Quaker State, it's the first event on track with their new logo and special hood treatment, which will carry through the Daytona 500 and California weekends.

"Both Quaker State and I have a new look for the 2009 race season.  I'm excited to be driving the Quaker State car during the Bud shootout and kicking off the NASCAR season with the motor oil brand that delivers the protection consumers need for their everyday driving."

In the past, the Budweiser Shootout has been a high-profile event that gets everyone in the sport back to racing - officially.  As a non-points event it has also been labeled as a "winner-take-all race," a distinction that has its plusses and its minuses.

"Yeah, this race has been crazy.  Kind of like the Sprint All-Star race in Charlotte I guess," continued Menard.  "You just want to win, that's really all that matters in this event.

"No matter what, you're not taking any points away from the race, so I think the mindset is just to go out and win at all costs.  That's my thinking anyway."

At a minimum, it's a good opportunity for Menard to get in competitive racing laps with his new No. 98 Menards team before the first racing event the following week, which will be the Gatorade 150's on Feb. 12.

"That's going to be huge for us.  We've had a test under our belt and may try and do one more before it's all said and done and we load for Daytona, but to have a race like this where Larry and I and the crew can work together will be a big advantage for us," said Menard.

"It'll also be a chance to (hopefully) work with Bobby (Labonte) a little bit out there and see if we can draft together with the other Ford teams.  Our Shootout car is about identical to the 500 car, so if we're good Saturday night, I like to think we'll be good the next Sunday.

"And if we aren't, it gives us a chance to make the 500 car better that next week.  Either way it's a good race for us to be in and we plan to make the best of it."

Budweiser Shootout practice opens on Friday, February 5.  The race will air Saturday night at 8pm ET live on FOX. Yates Racing PR

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