Mar 7, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Paul Menard during a test session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Menard: NASCAR's Darkhorse

Paul Menard is no doubt one of the biggest surprises of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season so far. The question is though is he able to win a race? He has one career win which came in the 2011 Brickyard 400.

Paul Menard is one of those drivers that are very quiet. You hardly ever see Menard in an interview, in the middle of controversy and he is always running in the top 15. He is currently 9th in points and has four top tens and zero DNFs. His consistency and the fact that he has finished every race is the main reason why he is in 9th. You hardly ever hear his name mentioned on TV because he is always quietly running around 13th for the entire race. To be considered a candidate to win the championship though running in the top 15 is not going to do it. He needs to start getting top fives and winning races.

Paul Menard is going to have to step up his game even more if he wants to be considered championship material. I would think he has to win at least three races if he wants to win the championship. He is going to have to be a little more aggressive if he wants to get better finishes and it is what champions have to do to win. I would say Paul’s best bet to win his first race of the year is at Talladega. Anyone can win their and he no doubt has a good enough car to win as well. With zero DNF’s this year it is also showing he knows how to stay out of trouble. Also don’t be surprised if you see him in victory lane again at Indy later this year. If he can win those two races I would say he is a lock for the chase and even a championship contender.

Paul Menard is of to a career best start and if he keeps up with his consitancy he will no doubt find himself in the chase but he might find himself in the battle for the championship.

Tags: NASCAR Paul Menard Sprint Cup Series

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