Las Vegas: Paul Menard race report

Menard Records Top-25 Finish in UAW-Dodge 400 LAS VEGAS (Mar. 2, 2008) -- Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver Paul Menard turned in another solid performance in today's UAW-Dodge 400. "This is the best car we've had all year," Crew Chief Doug...

Menard Records Top-25 Finish in UAW-Dodge 400

LAS VEGAS (Mar. 2, 2008) -- Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver Paul Menard turned in another solid performance in today's UAW-Dodge 400.

"This is the best car we've had all year," Crew Chief Doug Randolph said prior to the start of the race. "Now it's all about execution."

After taking the Green Flag, Menard advanced from his 40th place starting spot to 33rd by lap four.

Randolph opted to pit when the first caution flag flew on lap eight and the Dale Earnhardt Inc. pit crew turned in its first lightening fast pit stop of the day. Menard returned to the track with four fresh tires and fuel.

After restarting the race in 37th place, Menard was up to 35th by the time green flag pit stops began on lap 50. While Menard was shown one lap down at the time, his fuel window would have allowed for the No. 15 team to regain its lap and the valuable track position. However, laps continued to pass and Menard came down pit road for his scheduled stop on lap 61. With four tires and fuel, Menard was back on track with the second caution flag of the day flew on lap 68. Menard was one lap down in 34th place.

"I just can't seem to find the grip I need to get through traffic," Menard radioed his crew under caution.

While Menard spent the middle portion of the race searching for grip on the race track, the pit crew continued to perform on pit road, picking up as many as four precious positions per stop.

At the halfway point of the race, Menard was shown in 29th place and reported a loose condition in turns three and four. When the next opportunity to pit presented itself on lap 147 Menard returned to pit road for a track bar adjustment to combat the handling of his Chevrolet.

As one of the first cars one lap down, Menard had the option to restart in front of the leaders on lap 165. Menard took the opportunity to get a jump on the leaders and showed strength during the restart. While the lead pack of cars got past him two laps later, Menard was still shown in the 25th position. While Menard continued his drive towards the front, the weather began to cool off and Menard reported the car was "getting really tight." Menard did his best to maneuver his Chevrolet around the 1.5-mile track as he raced Juan Pablo Montoya for the Lucky Dog.

When the checkered flag flew on the 267-lap race, Menard brought home a 22nd place finish for his Johns Manville/Menards sponsored team.

"I'd like to be battling for top-10's but this is a work in progress and we definitely learned some things this weekend that will help us in Atlanta next week and a few other tracks that are ahead on the schedule," Menard said following the race.

-credit: mr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya