Menard family reunion in Montreal In NASCAR racing, drivers with family names of French descent are so unusual that the promoters of the NAPA Auto Parts 200, presented by Dodge have decided to highlight the participation of one of them at the August 28-29 Nationwide Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. On Saturday August 28, all spectators with the family name "Ménard" or "Menard" will be invited to a private family reunion with Paul Menard, driver of the #98 Roush Fenway Racing entry. A group photo with the driver from Wisconsin and all the Ménard or Menard's from Québec, Eastern Canada, or anywhere in America, will immortalize this special moment. If among those present, there is one or more person with the name Paul Ménard, there will be an additional photo taken with their famed namesake. The whole group will also be invited to sign a giant "good luck" card for Paul Menard.
"NASCAR has always favored closeness between fans and drivers and since this is the only event held north of the American border, we came up with an original idea where all the Ménards attending our event would get to meet the famed driver," explained François Dumontier, President of Octane Management and delegated promoter of the event. "Paul Menard is an excellent and experienced driver who is probably enjoying his best-ever Nationwide Series season. He has kindly agreed to share some of his time with his long-lost cousins, all the Ménards that wish to come and cheer him on during the event."
Paul Menard was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, one of the many locations named by 17th and 18th centuries French explorers who discovered the north-central part of the United States. Until the British conquest of 1760, Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region were part of New France and the numerous families that lived there left many descendants. Other French Canadian families moved in that area in the 19th century, which probably explains why there are more than 850 Menard family names in the Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin phone books.
Paul Menard, who will celebrate his 30th birthday one week prior to the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge, is currently in sixth place in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings. The Wisconsin native also finished sixth overall in each of the 2005 and 2006 final Nationwide Series standings. In his eighth season of NASCAR competition, Menard is running a full schedule in the Sprint Cup Series driving one of Richard Petty Motorsports entries. So far this season, he has also made 19 Nationwide Series starts registering two top-5, and nine top-10 finishes. He has also led five races.
To be eligible to meet Paul Menard on Saturday afternoon August 28, all the Ménard namesakes that have already bought, or intend to buy grandstand or general admission tickets, can register their entry no later than August 25th on the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge website at www.circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca, and click on "The Ménard" tab. They will be kept informed by email on the precise time and place of this gathering.
Tickets for the 2010 Montreal NAPA Auto Parts 200, Presented by Dodge are currently on sale. To order the best grandstands tickets and see Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, the current series points leader, Justin Allgaier, Jacques Villeneuve, Patrick Carpentier, and Andrew Ranger as well as several other NASCAR stars on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday and Sunday August 28-29, fans must call 514 397-0007 or order online anytime at www.circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca/