Indianapolis: Paul Menard race report

MENARD FINISHES 29th IN SUNDAY'S ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 26, 2009) -- Paul Menard and the No. 98 Johns Manville / Menards team made their first run together at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In its...

MENARD FINISHES 29th IN SUNDAY'S ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 26, 2009) -- Paul Menard and the No. 98 Johns Manville / Menards team made their first run together at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In its Centennial season, Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted its 16th NASCAR Sprint Cup race. In Sunday's Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, Menard started from the 28th position and went on to finish 29th after a long race at the 2.5-mile speedway.

This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams were given four practices instead of the normal three. After two practices on Friday afternoon, the teams waited out rain showers on Saturday morning before getting in one qualifying session, followed by two final practices before Sunday's 160-lap event.

Pole sitter, Mark Martin led the 43-car field to the green flag. Menard rolled off 28th and soon noted the car was tight center off and said he could not get off the corner very well. Crew chief Larry Carter radioed back they would make both a track bar and air pressure adjustment during the first pit stop.

On lap 26, the field of 43 cars began to make green flag stops for both fuel and tires. The No. 98 Ford Fusion came down pit road on lap 30 for two cans of fuel, four tires, an air pressure adjustment, as well as a track bar adjustment. After returning to the track, Menard was passed by race leader Juan Pablo Montoya to put the No. 98 Ford Fusion one lap down to the field.

With long green flag runs and very few cautions during the remainder of the afternoon, the No. 98 team was not presented many opportunities to earn back their lap. During the multiple green flag stops, the team continued to improve the handling of the No. 98 Johns Manville / Menards Ford Fusion, but never hit on a great setup.

The relatively short (2 hours and 45 minute) race ended with a battle between Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin for the win. In the end it would be Johnson who would kiss the bricks. Martin, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Brian Vickers rounded out the top five. Menard posted a 29th-place finish in this afternoon's Allstate 400 at The Brickyard.

"We really missed it on the setup this afternoon," said Menard following the race. "All weekend we fought with the handling of the car, and I thought when we started the race the car would be better, but it just would not turn in the corners. That's really what hurt us this afternoon. We had a great power, but we were getting killed in the corners. We fought to stay on the lead lap and then did everything we could to work ourselves back up, but nothing seemed to work. We'll take this one back to the shop and get ready for next weekend at Pocono."

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will return to Pocono Raceway next weekend for the second 500 mile race at the 2.5-mile speedway.

-credit: yr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya