Atlanta: Paul Menard race report

Paul Menard Survives Weather Filled Weekend in Atlanta Dale Earnhardt Inc. No. 15 Team Finishes 19th in Sunday& ...

Paul Menard Survives Weather Filled Weekend in Atlanta
Dale Earnhardt Inc. No. 15 Team Finishes 19th in Sunday’s 500-Mile Race

ATLANTA (March 9, 2008) – Despite a wild weekend of weather, which included rain, snow and even sunny skies on race day, the Menards/Dale Earnhardt Inc. team turned in a solid performance at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

After completing the pre-qualifying practice session in 13th place, Menard had high hopes for a top-10 starting spot in Sunday’s race, however Mother Nature intervened and the rain was coming down as the driver of the No. 15 Energizer/Menards Chevrolet took to the track for his two-lap qualifying effort. Menard rounded Atlanta Motor Speedway in 30.553 seconds, which was good enough for a 20th place starting spot but not quite what he had expected.

"The track was pretty wet and I had rain on my windshield," Menard said. "It was definitely a little loose off the corner and would have been a better lap if it weren’t for the rain."

With snow falling Saturday morning, practice was shortened and Menard turned in the 24th quickest lap before setting his sights on Sunday’s 325-lap race.

Menard took the green flag and quickly advanced from his 10th row starting spot to 16th position. The driver fought a loose handling racecar for much of the first half of the race. Menard’s pit stops on laps 38 and 86 offered the pit crew a chance to combat the problem and the team’s usual lightening fast pit stops kept Menard solidly in the top-20.

Despite continually fighting the handling of his racecar and going one lap down over the course of the next 100 laps, Menard managed to maintain his top-20 placement on the track. He spent the final laps of the race fighting for the Lucky Dog free pass back to the lead lap, but never got it. Menard and the No. 15 team finished the 500-mile race in a respectable 19th place.

"This was probably the best car we’ve had all year," Menard said. "The changing track conditions throughout the weekend really challenged this entire team and I think everyone did a great job and kept working to make the car better. I’m happy with a top-20. It’s all part of our goal to get our team solidly in the top-25 in points."

-credit: mr/dei

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Paul Menard