Making his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the season, Paul Menard had one of the fastest cars on the track all day, driving the No. 33 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet to a third-place finish at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.
Qualifying on the outside pole earlier in the day, Menard slipped back several positions during two early caution periods on laps two and eight while he battled with a tight-handling car.
A lap 81 caution flag allowed crew chief Ernie Cope to call his driver down pit road for repairs to the quarter panel, four fresh tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.
After a lengthy pit stop, Menard restarted in 10th with 40 laps to go. It didn't take long for Menard to make his way back toward the front of the field, as the Eau Claire, Wis., native was scored in fourth at lap 107.
Just two laps later, Menard was tagged from behind while making a pass for third, causing him to fall to seventh with 15 laps remaining in the 125-lap event. Driving the fastest car on the track, Menard worked his way to third before the checkered flag flew at Michigan International Speedway.
Paul Menard (Start - 2 / Finish - 3 / Laps Led - 0 / Owners Points - 9th): "We had an awesome Rheem/Menards Chevrolet Camaro at Michigan International Speedway. We passed a lot of cars today. We seemed to fall back a little on the restarts, but it didn't take long for us to make up ground on the leaders with how fast our car ran all day.
I felt like we had the car to beat and if we had a few more laps, I think we would have been in contention for the win. I enjoyed getting back in the Nationwide car and we'll take a third-place finish. I can't thank Ernie (Cope, crew chief) and the whole team enough for all of their hard work today. I had a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to our next Nationwide (Series) race later in the season."
Brian Scott finishes 10th at Michigan International Speedway
Brian Scott and the No. 2 crew battled from two left-rear flat tires in the Alliance Truck Parts 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway to earn their seventh top-10 finish of 2013. Scott started in the third spot, with Richard Childress Racing sweeping the top three spots in qualifying.
Action immediately got interesting for the Boise, Idaho native as Scott suffered left-rear damage when he was involved in a multi-car incident on lap two. He brought his Chevrolet Camaro to the attention of the crew, who fixed the damage and added four fresh tires. As the field set up for a lengthy green-flag run, Scott turned lap times as fast as the leaders and climbed through the field to the 11th spot.
Crew chief Phil Gould called Scott to pit road for routine service and once green-flag stops cycled through, he was shown 10th. Laps continued to tick away and Scott was solidly inside the top-10 until the left-rear tire went down for the second time of the day, causing damage to the left-rear quarter panel. The No. 2 team made several stops under the caution period to fix damage.
When green-flag waved for the restart, Scott posted competitive lap times and battled just outside the top-10, ultimately finishing in the 10th spot. With his seventh top-10 of 2013, Scott moved up to the sixth position in Nationwide Series driver championship standings.
Brian Scott (Start - 3 / Finish - 10 / Laps Led - 0 / Points - 6th): "It was a tough race, the No. 99 got into us on the first lap and caused damage to our Shore Lodge Camaro. We didn't get it fixed the way we needed and the fender continued to rub causing another flat tire, which caused more damage.
We just fought all day trying to repair the car and to get it to run fast, even with damage we felt we had a top five car. But, we still got a top-10 after what was a pretty terrible day as far as luck goes. We'll take it and move on to our first road course of the season."
Austin Dillon sets NASCAR Nationwide series pole award record, leads laps at MISy before late-race issue causes 20th-Place Finish
Austin Dillon earned his fourth-consecutive Pole Award in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, setting an all-time series record, but ultimately posted a 20th-place finish in the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet at Michigan International Speedway after cutting a tire in the closing laps of the Alliance Truck Parts 250.
Dillon led the 39-car starting field to the green flag and showed the way for the first half of the race until the caution flag was displayed for a debris on lap 65. Several teams pitted under the yellow flag, but the No. 3 team followed a different pit strategy and stayed out during the caution period.
Leading the field to the restart on lap 68, Dillon immediately dropped to seventh in the running order and reported that a left-rear tire was flat on the black No. 3 Chevrolet, forcing an unscheduled green-flag pit stop for four tires and fuel. The pit stop caused Dillon to fall one lap down to the race leader, in the 16th position.
Dillon raced his way into position to earn the "Lucky Dog" when the caution flag was displayed on lap 99 and rejoined the lead lap in 14th. He pitted for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment before green-flag racing resumed with 23 laps of competition remaining.
During the closing laps, Dillon posted the fastest lap times of the field and raced his way up to ninth before contact with another car caused him to cut a right-front tire, necessitating a second unscheduled green-flag pit stop. The No. 3 AdvoCare pit crew changed four tires under green flag conditions and Dillon rejoined the field to post a 20th-place finish.
Austin Dillon (Start - 1 / Finish - 2 / Laps Led - 61 / Points - 4th): "Wow. It was a frustrating day. I'm very proud of my guys on the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet team. They did a great job. There's nothing you can do about a flat tire. Hopefully our luck will change soon enough."
Richard Childress Racing