MENARD FINISHES 25th IN FOOD CITY 500 AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY BRISTOL, TENN. (March 22, 2009) -- After starting this afternoon's Food City 500 from the 42nd position, Yates Racing driver Paul Menard went on to finish 25th at Bristol Motor...
MENARD FINISHES 25th IN FOOD CITY 500 AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
BRISTOL, TENN. (March 22, 2009) -- After starting this afternoon's Food City 500 from the 42nd position, Yates Racing driver Paul Menard went on to finish 25th at Bristol Motor Speedway. At the drop of the green flag, Menard quickly picked up eight positions and by opting to stay out during the first round of pit stop had worked his way up to the sixth position. However, after falling a lap down on lap 177, the No. 98 team was left with a 25th-place at the "World's Fastest Half Mile."
Before a sellout crowd at Bristol Motor Speedway, pole winner Mark Martin led the 43-car field to the green flag. Menard, who posted a disappointing qualifying time on Friday afternoon started from the 42nd position. Menard quickly picked up eight positions and was scored in the 34th position by the seventh lap.
On lap 26, the first caution flag of the day was displayed for a wreck off turn two. While most of the field came down pit road for service, crew chief Larry Carter directed Menard to stay out. The heads-up call by Carter moved Menard into the sixth position.
After the restart, Menard was able to hold his position in the top-15 until a caution flag on lap 59 brought the field once again down pit road. During the first pit stop, Menard noted he was too tight in the center of the corner and just a little loose off the corner. Carter called for air pressure and track bar adjustments, as well as four tires and fuel for the No. 98 Johns Manville / Menard Ford Fusion. Menard left pit road scored in the 18th position.
Following another pit stop on lap 122, where the team made further air pressure and track bar adjustments, hoping to help Menard with his handling in the center of the corner, a long green flag run allowed race leader and eventual race winner Kyle Busch to lap a large portion of the field. Menard fell victim to Busch's speed on lap 177 when the No. 18 passed him on the bottom in turn two.
While the team was unable to make up their lap, Menard continued to post solid top-10 lap times and remained competitive around the .533-mile speedway.
When the checkered flag flew Menard and the No. 98 Johns Manville / Menards Ford Fusion crossed the line in the 25th position.
"We had a tough day," said Menard following the race. "We had a good car, but were just a little too tight in the center of the corner. During that one long green flag run we were lapped, which put us down pretty early in the race. We did everything we could to get our lap back but were unable to. I know we are in a tough position going into Martinsville next weekend but we'll go back to the shop this week, work on our Martinsville setup and do the best we can when we unload on Friday."
Next weekend the No. 98 Menards team will return to action at Martinsville Speedway.