LOUDON, N.H. – Officials from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Gov. John Lynch have announced that the track will keep both its NASCAR races in 2011.

One race will move from June to July.

Next year’s NASCAR races will be held on July 17 and Sept. 25. The IndyCar Series race will be held on Aug. 14.

The 2011 schedule was announced Wednesday on the track’s infield in Loudon.

 

PAUL MENARD is taking his father’s sponsorship money to Richard Childress Racing next season, giving that organization the financial security it needs to expand to the NASCAR-mandated maximum of four cars.

“When this opportunity to join RCR came about, it was a no-brainer,” Menard said Wednesday.

RCR ran four cars last season, but let Casey Mears go at the end of the year when it failed to secure financing to keep that team running. As a four-car team, RCR struggled on the track and failed to put a single car in the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Down to three cars this year, RCR has rebounded into one of NASCAR’s top teams. Kevin Harvick is the current series points leader, Jeff Burton is in contention for a spot in the Chase and Clint Bowyer is in a tight battle for the 12th and final qualifying spot.

But the team couldn’t turn down the financing from Menard, who brings with him a mediocre resume but sponsorship from his father’s Wisconsin-based home improvement company. The Menard’s chain is the third-largest home improvement company in the country.

“We feel Paul will contribute to the continued progress and success of RCR,” Richard Childress said. “Paul will fit in perfectly with our team of drivers at RCR, and they are all looking forward to working with him. We’re also very proud to be aligned with Menards, one of the great family business success stories in American history.”

Menard is in his fourth full Cup season and is currently 23rd in the standings while driving for Richard Petty Motorsports.

He finished a career-best 26th in the standings driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2008. He jumped to Yates Racing last year, finishing 31st in the standings, and was absorbed by RPM when those two teams merged before this season.

Menard has one career NASCAR victory — a Nationwide Series win in 2006 — and 51 top-10 finishes in 152 Cup starts.