Atlanta II: Paul Menard race report

Menard Finishes 31st at Atlanta; Over the wall crew shines on pit road ATLANTA, G.A. (October 27, 2008) -- Paul Menard and the Dale Earnhardt Inc. backed Menards Racing team rounded out a weekend of racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a 31st...

Menard Finishes 31st at Atlanta; Over the wall crew shines on pit road

ATLANTA, G.A. (October 27, 2008) -- Paul Menard and the Dale Earnhardt Inc. backed Menards Racing team rounded out a weekend of racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a 31st place finish in the Pep Boys Auto 500.

"We had high hopes for our potential during the race," Menard said. "We got the Menards Chevy driving great during Happy Hour.

"I'm not sure if it was the temperature difference between practice and the race, since it was about 15 degrees warmer, but we really battled the handling of our racecar through most of the race."

Menard took the green flag in 27th place after qualifying was cancelled due to inclement weather in Atlanta on Friday.

The No. 15 Johns Manville/ Menards Chevrolet looked strong in the early laps of the 325-lap event, maintaining a spot in the top-25 for the first 50 laps.

The Menards over the wall crew went to work on the car, consistently gaining Menard spots on pit road. Despite the quick service in the pits, Menard went one lap down to the leader on lap 90. While he was still being shown in the 26th position, Menard made another pit stop on lap 133 which allowed him to gain two additional spots thanks to his speedy servicing crew.

When Menard returned to the track in 24th place, he reported to his crew that he thought he may have a tire going down on lap 154. As a result of what he thought could be a tire issue, Menard faded back to 29th place by lap 159. On lap 180, he went another lap down to the leader and saw his chance of getting the Lucky Dog free pass slip away. Still, Menard focused on improving the handling of his racecar by providing solid feedback to Crew Chief Doug Randolph. Randolph instructed the over the wall crew to continue their work on Menard's Chevy, but never quite got the car to drive as well as it did during the previous day's practice sessions.

Menard rounded out the race in 31st place, but looked ahead to Texas Motor Speedway as an opportunity to use what the team learned at Atlanta.

"We worked through some issues today and those findings will, hopefully, help us next week in Texas," Menard reasoned.

With his 31st place finish, Menard still maintains his 26th place standing in NASCAR Sprint Cup driver's points.

-credit: pm/dei

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Paul Menard