EARLY ACCIDENT LEAVES MENARD WITH 30th-PLACE FINISH AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY KANSAS CITY, Kan. (October 4, 2009) -- Only seven laps into the Price Chopper 400, Yates Racing driver Paul Menard was involved in an accident exiting turn two. As the field...
EARLY ACCIDENT LEAVES MENARD WITH 30th-PLACE FINISH AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (October 4, 2009) -- Only seven laps into the Price Chopper 400, Yates Racing driver Paul Menard was involved in an accident exiting turn two. As the field rounded turn two, Menard lost control of his No. 98 Zecol / Menards Ford Fusion and made hard contact with the outside wall. The team was able to fix the damage, but wasn't able to gain back the lap they lost during the accident. After fighting all afternoon, the No. 98 Zecol / Menards team were left with a 30th-place finish at Kansas Speedway.
The chilly fall weather was welcomed by both the teams and the fans this afternoon at Kansas Speedway. The bright sun overhead made for a perfect afternoon of racing. Pole winner Mark Martin led the field of 43 cars to the green flag shortly after 1p.m. CST.
After taking the green flag from the 20th position, Menard quickly picked up two positions in the first few laps of competition. After an early caution flag on lap three, the field restarted on lap five. As the field cycled around the second time, Menard was shown in the 18th position. After making his way through turn one, the rear end of the No. 98 Zecol / Menards Ford Fusion became loose, sending Menard spinning off the corner. Menard spun hard into the outside wall before coming to rest in the middle of the track.
Menard brought his damaged race car down pit road to the attention of the No. 98 Menards crew. After replacing four tires and fixing the damage on the No. 98, Menard returned to the track scored in the 37th position, one lap down to the leader.
After losing an additional lap to race leader Jimmie Johnson during the next run, Menard radioed into his crew chief Larry Carter that he needed his race car a little tighter in the corner. During the ensuing pit stops, the No. 98 crew made a number of adjustments to help Menard with the handling of his Ford Fusion around the 1.5-mile speedway.
Through smart pit strategy near the end of the race, Menard was able to pick up both additional positions on the track, as well as one of the laps he lost earlier in the race. When the checkered flag waved for race winner Tony Stewart, the No. 98 Zecol / Menards Ford Fusion crossed the line in the 30th position.
"We had a pretty good Ford Fusion this weekend, but were a little too loose in the beginning of the race and I lost it coming off turn two," Menard said following the race. "We worked really hard this weekend to qualify better, which we did and to start of the race well, which I thought we did, but were a little too loose. We made good adjustments through the end of the race and were able to pick up a few positions, but still, I know we had a better car this weekend."
Next week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to the West Coast for the second race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.