Charlotte II: Paul Menard race report

Menard Finishes 26th at Charlotte MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 12, 2008) -- The Dale Earnhardt Inc. backed Menards Racing team faced a challenging night at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Bank of America 500. The highlights of the night included...

Menard Finishes 26th at Charlotte

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 12, 2008) -- The Dale Earnhardt Inc. backed Menards Racing team faced a challenging night at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Bank of America 500. The highlights of the night included an early race charge by Paul Menard and a late race incident that relegated the driver of the No. 15 MOEN / Menards Chevrolet to a 26th place finish in the 334-lap event.

"After our great run at Talladega, I had high hopes for our continued momentum this weekend," Menard said. "But despite what happened in the race, we had a fast racecar and that speaks volumes for our potential as a race team."

After rain forced officials to cancel qualifying, Menard was forced to line up 27th for the Saturday night race based on NASCAR Sprint Cup owner's points. Two Friday practices sessions allowed Menard and team to tune on their Chevrolet and provided crew chief Doug Randolph with the opportunity to devleop a plan for race day.

"We were prepared for long green flag runs and we got a few early in the race that showed how good our car could be on a long run," Randolph explained.

By lap 33, Menard was solidly running in the top-20 pack of cars. On lap 85, Menard radioed the crew that the car was severely tight in the center of the corners. The over-the-wall crew went to work on the car during the caution on lap 103 and their efforts proved to improve the handing of Menard's Chevrolet by lap 186 when Menard was shown in 17th place.

On lap 193, Menard was running in the 15th place when he had a close call with the No. 21 car put the No. 15 team in a challenging position on track. Menard managed to escape the wreck that followed the side by side racing action including his own Chevy. Then, he followed up his excellent performance with another avoidance of the on track action on lap 206 which resulted in a four car accident.

After saving his race car from multiple incidents, Menard made contact with the fence while racing the high line on lap 255. The resulting body damage required Menard to come down pit road for repairs and left Menard t two laps down with 30 laps to go in the event.

Ultimately Menard would finish 26th place, three laps down, but he knew the promise for future intermediate track racing was still intact.

"Our car was fast all night and that was great news for this Dale Earnhardt Inc. team," Menard said. "We have a few more intermediate tracks to go before the end of the season and we'll definitely have another opportunity to show our strength on this sort of track."

Menard's 26th place finish allowed him to maintain his 26th place standing in NASCAR Sprint Cup driver's standings.

-credit: dei/mr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Paul Menard