MENARD FINISHES 34th AT THE MAGIC MILE AFTER MID-RACE ACCIDENT LOUDON, N.H. (September 20, 2009) -- Paul Menard, driver of the No. 98 Sylvania / Menards Ford Fusion started Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway from the 40th ...
MENARD FINISHES 34th AT THE MAGIC MILE AFTER MID-RACE ACCIDENT
LOUDON, N.H. (September 20, 2009) -- Paul Menard, driver of the No. 98 Sylvania / Menards Ford Fusion started Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway from the 40th position. After battling with tight handling on the No.98 Sylvania / Menards Ford Fusion for much of race and being caught up in a mid-race accident, Menard brought home a 34th-place finish.
Pole winner, Juan Pablo Montoya led the 43-car field to the green flag in Loudon and the 300-lap event went off without a hitch until a caution on lap 66 stalled the race for the first of 11 times. Since the Menard's crew had already planned to head to pit road on lap 70, the No. 98 Sylvania / Menards team took this opportunity to pit. Prior to the caution, Menard reported that his Ford Fusion was primarily tight, so crew chief Larry Carter directed the crew to insert a spring rubber into the left rear of the No.98. After the spring rubber was inserted, four tires were bolted on and Menard rejoined the race on lap 75 in 33rd position.
Long green flag runs allowed the leaders to make ground on Menard and other competitors and by the half-way point of the race Menard had fallen two laps down and was running in 33rd place.
A lap-161 caution permitted Menard to make his way down pit road for a routine stop for tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. When green flag racing resumed on lap 166, Menard tucked in behind the No. 7 as the field got up to speed. Less than five laps later the No. 20 of Joey Logano got into another competitor causing a chain reaction and several cars went spinning across the track. Unable to slow down, Menard's No. 98 Ford Fusion was collected in the melee and significant damage was incurred. Menard brought his No. 98 Ford Fusion down pit road several times for repairs and when the Menard's crew had the No.98 in race worthy shape again, Menard was scored in 34th place, eight laps down to the leaders.
For the remainder of the race Menard continued to make laps around speedway in his damaged No. 98 Ford Fusion. As race winner Mark Martin crossed the finish line, the No. 98 Ford Fusion followed in the 34th position.
"It was a pretty long day out there for the No. 98 Sylvania / Menards team," Menard said following the race. "We started out the race really tight and got down a lap early. We were working our way back up there, but were taken out when the No. 19 car spun ahead of us. After that, we fixed what damage we could and just made laps."