Menard staying put

DARLINGTON, SC - MAY 10:  Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Menard's / Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 10, 2013 in Darlington, South Carolina.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

DARLINGTON, SC – MAY 10: Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Menard’s / Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 10, 2013 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

DARLINGTON, S.C.— Paul Menard says he’s close to a contract extension with Richard Childress Racing and hopes to have an announcement to that effect shortly.

“We don’t have anything to announce yet,” Menard told FoxSports.com on Friday at Darlington. “I haven’t signed anything. Hopefully, we do that soon. We’re just going to work hard to get the deal done, and when we do, we’ll let you know.”

Menard’s crew chief, Richard “Slugger” Labbe, already has signed an extension with RCR, and he and Menard have been an inseparable and successful pair for the past four seasons, the past three with Childress.

Since coming to RCR with Labbe in 2011, Menard has enjoyed his three most productive seasons. Though 10 races this year he’s ninth in the standings and happy to be with the Childress organization.

“It’s a great place,” Menard said. “We’re making a lot of improvements also. When I came in we were running real good. It seemed like last year we took a step back, but Richard has invested a lot in making the company better, and we’re seeing that right now. It’s a very exciting place to be.”

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