MENARD'S TOP-15 RUN AT THE "MONSTER MILE" ENDED EARLY AFTER LATE-RACE WRECK CONCORD, N.C. (May 25, 2009) -- This afternoon at the "Monster Mile" Paul Menard and the No. 98 Pittsburgh Paints / Menards team worked their way into the top 15 ...
MENARD'S TOP-15 RUN AT THE "MONSTER MILE" ENDED EARLY AFTER LATE-RACE WRECK
CONCORD, N.C. (May 25, 2009) -- This afternoon at the "Monster Mile" Paul Menard and the No. 98 Pittsburgh Paints / Menards team worked their way into the top 15 through hard driving and a little bit of pit strategy. With a little over 100 laps remaining in the 400-lap event, the No. 98 was taken out of contention as he exited turn two by the No. 12 of David Stremme. The accident moved Menard from the 15th position to 32nd where he finished the day 37 laps down.
Early morning rain showers over Dover International Speedway moved out early making way for clear blue skies and warm weather as the green flag flew for 43 drivers. Menard started the race from the 36th position.
NASCAR officials called for a competition caution on lap 30 as the rain showers had washed all of the existing rubber off the track. During the pit stop, crew chief Larry Carter called for four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment to help the handling of the No. 98 Pittsburgh Paints / Menards Ford Fusion.
Back on the track Menard noted the car was really good, but a little loose getting back to the gas off the corners. During the next pit stop on lap 45, Carter called for another air pressure adjustment and two tires, earning the team eight spots on pit road.
Caution-free racing continued, forcing green flag pit stops to begin on lap 105. Carter instructed Menard to remain on the track and not pit right away. The heads-up call by Carter moved Menard up to the 11th position when the caution flag flew in the middle of pit sequences. Following a pit stop under caution, Menard took the restarted from the 12th position.
Menard maintained his top-15 run, even working his way into the top 10, until a wreck on lap 284 brought Menard down pit road for service. After fixing the left-front fender, the No. 98 pit crew sent Menard back onto the race track scored in the 32nd position. While the team was able to get the No. 98 quickly back on the track, further service was necessary and Carter had to call Menard back down pit road.
After being taken out of contention, Menard and the No. 98 Pittsburgh Paints / Menards team was forced to settle with a 32nd-place finish at Dover International Speedway. The No. 98 team remains 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings.
"Larry (Carter) made a great call which gave us some great track position out there," said Menard following the race. "We were able to work our way into the top 15 and were able to stay there on the long runs. I don't know what happened to the No. 12 car coming out of two. He got loose and came down into us. After hitting the inside wall, our day was over. I hate it, we had a great car and were looking to finish the day well."
Next weekend the No. 98 Menards team will travel to Pocono Raceway for the 14th race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. FOX television and MRN radio affiliates will carry the live race broadcast beginning a 1 p.m. (EST).
Pocono Raceway (2.5-mile speedway)
Sunday, June 5, 2009