Q. Paul, you really took a big step toward making the Chase today with that victory. Talk a little bit about that.
PAUL MENARD: Yeah, I think we're 14th now with the wild card. I mean, it's great. We got five or six races left. We got a lot of work to do. We have Richmond and New Hampshire – Richmond before the Chase starts. Those are two of our worst tracks honestly. We have a lot of work to do. We'll rely on our teammates a lot. They typically run well at the short tracks. Got to get that program figured out. We have a couple intermediate tracks, have a couple of those, looking forward to that. We have Atlanta for a million bucks.
Q. Also the fact that today was a perfect example of guys who were prepared to make bold moves. How much can we expect to see some other guys between now and Richmond making win‑or‑go‑home type of gambles to try to get in as a wild card?
PAUL MENARD: You're going to see it. Anytime fuel mileage comes into play, you'll see guys run out, probably guys going to win the race. The Sprint Cup Series is just so competitive, so hard to pass, everybody runs so close together, you got to gamble. Very rarely do you see a car just check out and win the race. A lot of strategy, a lot of clean air. You're going to see it happen the next few races.
Q. Jeff Gordon and Regan Smith got asked more about you than he got asked about their own performances. They were thrilled to talk about you. They both said you're a highly respected driver among drivers. I know it's an awesome day for you, but what does it mean that other drivers are genuinely happy for you today?
PAUL MENARD: I hope Regan would say that. I'm in his wedding (laughter).
But for Jeff to say that, we've had run‑ins on the track – everybody has. But for a guy of his caliber to say that, it means a lot. He came to Victory Lane, Regan came to Victory Lane. I didn't realize that Regan finished third. Really happy for him, too.
I watched Jeff win the inaugural Brickyard 400. To have him come down in Victory Lane after finishing second to us, very special. I've always gotten along great with Jeff, and Regan obviously.
Q. John, after more than three decades in racing, what did it mean to you to finally get Paul in a position with an organization where the money you had invested, and you invested in so many different disciplines throughout motorsports, but to see that money put to optimum use to give Paul the kind of opportunity he deserved to have?
JOHN MENARD: Well, first of all, a lot of investment we made in motorsports over the year has been good for our business. I think it's really a good form of advertising. I believe it's a good form of promotion. I think that motorsports promotions are underrated a lot by some of the people in advertising.
If you look at what you can buy a sponsorship for of a race team versus some golf or some of the ball‑and‑stick‑type sports, motorsports is a pretty good buy. From a business standpoint, I'd say that investing in motorsports is a fairly wise investment.
From investing in motorsports teams, there are some that give you a better return, let's say, for your investment than others. Richard's team gives a very, very good return because he takes the money and he puts it back into the cars, the people, the research, the engines, the things that you need to win.
If there's anybody in motorsports that knows how to do it, it's Richard [Childress]. I'm proud to be associated with him. I'm proud that Paul can do what he does. By God, guys, you've done a great job. Money well‑spent.
Q. Paul, when you were having the battle with Matt Kenseth for the lead, when he got around you, that looked pretty close to not only winning the race but maybe losing the racecar. How close a call was that?
PAUL MENARD: Yeah, I didn't hear him. My spotters say that Matt was inside me. Stevie is my primary spotter. He was on the backside of the pagoda. We had Jeff on the front side. I don't know if he didn't talk loud enough or what, but I had no idea that Matt was there.
I felt it kind of get loose. Looked at my side mirror, saw his nose was in there. Matt and I are great friends. Luckily he let me go. He could have laid in there a bit more. I had to check up and he passed us.
But, yeah, it was close. I heard the tires squealing. I had flashbacks from [Juan Pablo] Montoya last year with kind of the same situation.
Q. Paul, the fact there weren't too many cautions today, do you think that helped you?
PAUL MENARD: You know, I mean, again, our mileage has been really good. We run better on long runs. It seems like historically we've had great long‑run racecars. You know, today we just had a great racecar overall. But it comes down to track position. Restarts, so many things can happen. If you have a great racecar, you can get a fender tore up, we had a little bit of damage on pit road, nothing major. A lot of things like that happen with all those restarts.
I enjoy races that have long runs. You can analyze the car, relay information and work on the racecars.
Q. Paul, a lot is made of guys from Indiana – Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman – wanting to win the Brickyard. None of them put the time you did in the garage at this place. Do you think it means more to you because your family invested so much at winning in this place?
PAUL MENARD: Right on par with them. I'm not an Indiana native son, but Wisconsin is not far away and I spent a helluva lot of time here as a kid. I probably been here more days than probably all three of them combined, honestly. Special place for us.