Charlotte II: Paul Menard race report

MENARD FINISHES 27th IN NASCAR HOMECOMING RACE AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY CONCORD, N.C. (October 17, 2009) -- Paul Menard and the No. 98 Johns Manville / Menards team overcame starting from the rear of the field after changing the transmission...

MENARD FINISHES 27th IN NASCAR HOMECOMING RACE AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY

CONCORD, N.C. (October 17, 2009) -- Paul Menard and the No. 98 Johns Manville / Menards team overcame starting from the rear of the field after changing the transmission to post a 27th-place finish in tonight's "homecoming" race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The No. 98 team never gave up after battling an ill-handling race car for most of the evening.

NASCAR teams enjoyed a hometown race front of family and friends this weekend here in Concord, N.C. With most of the race teams within miles of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the teams welcomed a race before the hometown crowd. Over 105,000 fans packed in the 1.5-mile speedway on a cold and windy evening.

After changing the transmission in the No. 98 Johns Manville / Menards Ford Fusion following "Happy Hour" practice on Friday, Menard was forced to the back of the field for the start of tonight's NASCAR Banking 500.

Only three laps into the race, the No. 77 car spun coming off turn two. Menard, with the help of his spotter was able to avoid the spinning race car, but fluid on the windshield of the No. 98 Ford forced him down pit road for the team to remove a tear off. After restarting 39th, Menard quickly picked up a number of positions during the ensuing run.

During the next run, Menard noted the car to be very loose during the early part of the run, then changing to be very tight after just 20 laps of racing. Crew chief Larry Carter and the entire No. 98 Johns Manville / Menards team worked patiently through each pit stop, throwing a wholesale of changes at their Ford Fusion. After changing air pressures and making numerous chassis adjustments, the No. 98 team never hit on anything that improved the handling for Menard.

"We struggled all night it seemed," said Menard following the race. "Larry (Carter) and all the guys did a great job with adjusting on the car, but nothing seemed to work for us. We tried air pressure changes, track bar, wedge, and while we were able to pick up a little here and there, it never changed the problem in the long run. All the guys worked hard and we avoided the wrecks out there, but didn't come home with the finish I thought we were capable of tonight."

Menard finished the race 27th, as Jimmie Johnson went on to win his third race in five "Chase" race starts. Ford Racing teammate Matt Kenseth finished second, followed by Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano rounding out the top-five finishers.

Next week, the No. 98 Schrock / Menards team will travel just 100 miles north of Concord, N.C. for the second race of the season at Martinsville Speedway.

-credit: yr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Paul Menard