Homestead: Paul Menard race report

Menard Finishes 30th in Season Finale HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2008) -- Paul Menard wrapped up his time with Dale Earnhardt Inc. with a 30th place finish in the FORD 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "It wasn't the finish we had hoped for in...

Menard Finishes 30th in Season Finale

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2008) -- Paul Menard wrapped up his time with Dale Earnhardt Inc. with a 30th place finish in the FORD 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"It wasn't the finish we had hoped for in the last race of the season," Menard said. "Fuel strategy definitely played out in the end."

Menard qualified 36th for the 36th race of the 2008 season, but quickly advanced on his position to secure a place in the top-30.

The race began with a long green flag run, with the leaders bearing down on the rest of the field fast. On lap 49, Menard was in danger of losing a lap upon entering pit road for his first round of service. Menard's pit crew performed their usual express work on pit road gaining the Menards/Johns Manville team extra ground on track to remain on the lead lap.

Despite the extra effort on pit road, Menard succumbed to the leader Carl Edwards on lap 59. The first caution flag flew ten laps later with Menard being shown in the 31st spot. Menard had reported handling concerns on the top half of the race track where it seemed the speed and grip could be found. Therefore, Crew Chief Doug Randolph instructed the over the wall crew to make the necessary adjustments in effort to put the No. 15 team in position to get the Lucky Dog free pass.

While the caution flag flew two more times in the next hundred laps, Menard would not be in position to receive the free pass until lap 211 when he restarted as the first car in the lap down position. Unfortunately, Menard would not have the opportunity to get back on the lead lap as the race went green until the checkered flag. Luckily, Menard had saved enough fuel to make it to the finish in 30th place.

Menard's 30th place finish solidified his 26th place standing in Sprint Cup driver's standings and 27th place in owner's standings.

"I think as a driver you're always hoping for more, but 2008 was still a solid season," Menard explained. "We had a few really strong runs to hang our hat on as a race team."

With the curtain coming to a close on the NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Menard prepares for his transition to Yates Racing where he will race in 2009.

-credit: pr/dei

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Series NASCAR-CUP