Talladega: Paul Menard race report

Menard Turns in Season Best Finish at Talladega TALLADEGA, AL (April 27, 2008) -- From start to finish, Paul Menard's weekend in Talladega, Alabama was everything racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup should be -- successful and fun. "I've always...

Menard Turns in Season Best Finish at Talladega

TALLADEGA, AL (April 27, 2008) -- From start to finish, Paul Menard's weekend in Talladega, Alabama was everything racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup should be -- successful and fun.

"I've always enjoyed coming to Talladega," Menard said. "I like to go over and watch the races at the dirt track and I just really love to see how much the Talladega fans support NASCAR."

While the weekend kicked off on a high note in celebration of the first Turtle Wax sponsored car of the year, it rounded out on an equally elevated note as Menard turned in a season best performance. The 12th place finish in the Aaron's 499, matched Menard's best finish since June 2007.

After qualifying for the race in 22nd position, Menard easily drove to the front of the field, spending more than half of the race inside the top-10 pack of cars. He ran as high as first place, leading laps ahead of some of the most respected drafting elite, including Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Perhaps the most exciting moment of the race came on lap 160 when Menard was running 3rd and got turned sideways by the No. 42 of Juan Pablo Montoya. Menard expertly recoverd from the spin through the front stretch grass to maintain a spot on the lead lap and remain in the hunt for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win. While Menard wasn't able to battle back into the top-10 before the checkered flag flew, his solid 12th place finish was impressive, nonetheless.

"The car was great all day," Menard radioed the crew following the exiting last laps of the 188-lap race. "We ran up front for most of the day and even thought we got turned by Montoya near the end, we still managed to fight our way back to 12th, which is awesome."

Crew Chief Doug Randolph was pleased with the results of the day and happy that Menard was able to deliver on his superspeedway goals.

"I was hoping for a top-15 finish today," Crew Chief Doug Randolph said. "I'm glad to see that Paul raced smart and was able to deliver a solid finish for the Menards/Dale Earnhardt Inc. team."

With the ninth race of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season in the record books, Menard moves up one spot to 21st place in the driver's standings.

-credit: pr/dei

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya