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This prediction has two parts. If the first part comes true, odds are the second part will be true as well.
Paul Menard has just one top 10 at Texas, but I believe the pieces are in place for him to score his first top five there on Sunday.
Last season, most of Menard's best runs came at mile-and-a-half tracks similar to Texas. He had eighth-place finishes at Charlotte and Kansas and came in fifth at Atlanta. In the fall Menard posted a 10th-place result at Texas, his best ever at the track. He even led 11 laps at Kansas, the most he led at any track in 2010.
But even more importantly, Menard is with RCR this season, the best organization he's driven for in his young career. Already the results have been eye-opening. Menard posted his best-ever finishes at each track on the Sprint Cup schedule for the first five races of 2011 before a difficult race at Martinsville last week.
I look for him to continue the trend he's set for most of this season and get his first-career top five at Texas Motor Speedway.
If he does so, chances are good that he'll be the highest-finishing RCR car.
Even though Jeff Burton has two Texas wins, he has just one top five at the track since 2007. Clint Bowyer is also strong at Texas, but likewise has a single top five there since 2007. Ditto for Kevin Harvick. If Menard pulls off the top five, he stands a good chance of looking down at his teammates in the finishing order.