Richmond: Paul Menard race report

MENARD FINISHES 30th ON SATURDAY NIGHT IN RICHMOND, VA RICHMOND, Va. (May 2, 2009) -- After rain showers moved out of the area and the tracked was dried, Paul Menard and the No. 98 Nibco / Menards Ford Fusion finally got on track at Richmond...

MENARD FINISHES 30th ON SATURDAY NIGHT IN RICHMOND, VA

RICHMOND, Va. (May 2, 2009) -- After rain showers moved out of the area and the tracked was dried, Paul Menard and the No. 98 Nibco / Menards Ford Fusion finally got on track at Richmond International Raceway. After struggling to find the right line and the right setup, the No. 98 team brought home a 30th-place finish at the .75-mile speedway.

Following two practices and an early evening qualifying session on Friday, the No. 98 team knew they had some work to do before the start of the Crown Royal Presents the Russ Friedman 400 at the Richmond International Raceway. The No. 98 team qualified 33rd for Saturday's 400-lap race.

Saturday in Richmond, Va. presented rain showers and mostly cloudy skies as the teams prepared for a 7:30 p.m. start to the 400-lap race. As track officials finished drying the track, the No. 83 car brought the field to the green flag before a crowd of 100,000 fans.

Early into the race, Menard radioed to crew chief Larry Carter, telling him the car was "way too tight in the middle, and loose in." Carter told him to hang in there, as they would make a handful of changes during the first pit stop. Green flag racing continued with only one caution early in the race. By lap 85 the leaders began making green-flag pit stops. Prior to pitting, Menard was married further back in the pack and was lapped by the leader.

On lap 91, Carter called Menard down pit road for two cans of Sunoco fuel, four tires and a track bar adjustment to help Menard with his ill-handling race car. Following the stop, Menard returned to the track scored in the 33rd position.

As the race continued into the night, Menard continued to note the car was too tight in the center of the corner and was having problems off the turn. Carter and the No. 98 team continued to throw changes at the Menards Ford Fusion, but nothing seemed to help the handling. As rain showers continued to threaten the area, the race went on without another drop of rain.

Kyle Busch took the checkered flag, followed by Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman and Mark Martin rounding out the top five. Menard crossed the line in the 30th position.

"It was a pretty frustrating night here in Richmond," said Menard following the race. "We just couldn't seem to get anything going our way. We tried a lot of different things, but nothing seemed to help the handling of this car tonight. We'll take this finish and move on to next weekend at Darlington."

The No. 98 Menards team will travel to Darlington, S.C. for next weekend's Mother's Day race at the track "too tough to tame."

-credit: yr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ryan Newman , Paul Menard , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin