Menard Set Back by Another 'Big Wreck' at Talladega, Fights Back for 16th-Place NASCAR Busch Series Finish TALLADEGA, Ala. (Saturday, April 24, 2004) -- Paul Menard of Eau Claire, Wis., flirted with the race lead often during today's Aaron's ...
Menard Set Back by Another 'Big Wreck' at Talladega,
Fights Back for 16th-Place NASCAR Busch Series Finish
TALLADEGA, Ala. (Saturday, April 24, 2004) -- Paul Menard of Eau Claire, Wis., flirted with the race lead often during today's Aaron's 312 NASCAR Busch Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, but ultimately was caught up in a 10-car accident late in the race and had to fight for a 16th-place finish.
Menard, the 23-year-old rookie, started eighth in the #33 Menards/Turtle Wax Platinum Series Chevrolet of Andy Petree Racing and worked his way into the top five several times during the 117-lap event. He was back in 14th position when, on Lap 100, he was nudged off the front straight at speed and onto the infield grass, sustaining fairly substantial damage to the right-front bodywork that the Petree team was able to repair during the six caution-period laps that ensued. Menard resumed in 23rd position when the race returned to green on Lap 106, and picked up seven spots by the checkered flag, which came under yellow with teammates Martin Truex, Jr., and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., taking a 1-2 finish. Menard moved to 22nd in the drivers standings with his finish today.
The series resumes with next weekend's 1-800-PIT-SHOP.com 300 at California Speedway in Fontana.
"Well, it's tough to figure out what to say after a day like that because it leaves you feeling so empty. On one hand, you drive to the checkered flag and realize it could have been a lot worse. On the other, we definitely had our moments out there where we felt we could be racing for the win at the end. The Menards/Turtle Wax Chevrolet was strong all weekend, and we definitely had our fun moments where we were able to work our way to the front. The guys did an awesome job on our pit stops, and I have to say I had a little goof on our first one, but they got me back out on track without us losing much ground. It was definitely an interesting race. We almost made it through the big wreck, but (Mike) Bliss got into us just enough to knock us off the track and pretty much out of contention. On days like this, and days like we had at Daytona in February, I have to say that restrictor-plate racing isn't a whole lot of fun. I can say that I can't wait to get out to California next weekend and hit a real driver's track."