Rookie Menard Gets Hard-Earned 16th-Place Finish at Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series Race LEBANON, Tenn. (Saturday, April 10, 2004) -- Despite fighting an ill-handling car for the better part of the race, Paul Menard brought home the ...
Rookie Menard Gets Hard-Earned 16th-Place Finish at Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series Race
LEBANON, Tenn. (Saturday, April 10, 2004) -- Despite fighting an ill-handling car for the better part of the race, Paul Menard brought home the #33 Menards/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet of Andy Petree Racing in 16th place at today's Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.
The rookie Menard, a 23-year-old from Eau Claire, Wis., started 24th and picked up three spots during his first fuel-and-tire run. He rejoined the race in 21st after pitting under caution of Lap 62 of today's 225-lap, 300-mile event, and picked up another spot before pitting again for fuel only under yellow on Lap 86. Menard's third pits top came on Lap 134, this time under green, and not a lap too soon as his tires -- having run 62 green-flag laps -- were worn to the cords. He dropped from 18th to 22nd with that green-flag stop, but worked through problematic handling to work back to 18th by the time he pitted a final time under caution on Lap 217 and another fresh set of tires. Menard gained two spots by race's end, which came under yellow as the four front-running cars (Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Johnny Benson and Robby Gordon) were involved in a multi-car pileup, handing the victory to Michael Waltrip.
The NASCAR Busch Series takes a weekend off before resuming April 24 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
"Well, considering we just could not quite get the car for pretty much the whole day today, I think we did pretty well today. We ran pretty well on new tires but absolutely did not as the tires started to wear. The middle part of the race was our strongest of the day. So, all things considered, I think 16th is not too bad. You have to give a lot of the credit to the Menards team for getting me in and out of the pits quickly all day. That's a real shot in the arm when you feel like you're struggling on the race track. Let's catch our breath during our weekend off and come back strong at Talladega. The last time we were there, we won (last October's ARCA race)."