MENARD BATTLES TO 28th-PLACE FINISH AT RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY RICHMOND, Va. (September 12, 2009) -- Yates Racing driver Paul Menard and the No. 98 Turtle Wax / Menards team battled stiff competition this evening under the lights to...
MENARD BATTLES TO 28th-PLACE FINISH AT RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
RICHMOND, Va. (September 12, 2009) -- Yates Racing driver Paul Menard and the No. 98 Turtle Wax / Menards team battled stiff competition this evening under the lights to finish 28th when the checker flag waved over Richmond International Raceway. After going down two laps to the leaders, smart pit strategy and great pit stops by the No. 98 Menards pit crew helped the No. 98 get back a lap and finish 28th for the evening.
After an overcast afternoon at the .75-mile Richmond International Raceway, a small rain storm moved over the speedway an hour before the race was scheduled to begin. The brief rain delayed the start of the race by 30 minutes as track personnel worked quickly to get the track dried for the 400-lap shootout among 43 drivers.
Menard started the race from the 42nd position and quickly worked his way to the 33rd position by the time the first caution flag was displayed on lap five when the No. 82 car spun going into turn one. During the caution Menard noted the car was a little tight in the exit of the corners.
On lap 44, Menard came down pit road during a caution period for wreck on the speedway. During the stop, the team changed four tires, added two cans of fuel and made a slight air pressure adjustment. Back on the track, Menard noted the air pressure change was not enough to help with the handling and asked crew chief Larry Carter for more adjustments during the next stop.
The caution flag was displayed again on lap 52 for a stalled car on the backstretch of the speedway. During the caution period Menard returned to pit road for four new tires and another air pressure adjustment. The change seemed to help Menard a little bit, but not enough to help him work through traffic during the next green flag run.
The team pitted again on lap 108, this time changing four tires and making a chassis adjustment that seemed to help with the handling of the No. 98 Turtle Wax / Menard Ford Fusion.
During the next green flag run, Menard was lapped by race leader and eventual race winner, Denny Hamlin. The No. 98 Menards team did not give up and continued to work hard to make their car handle better for Menard.
After going down another lap, a heads-up call by crew chief Larry Carter helped the No. 98 team pick up one of their lost laps, leaving them only one lap down to the leader with 80 laps remaining in the event.
Menard battled hard to the end and crossed the finish line in the 28th position. Hometown favorite Denny Hamlin won his first Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
"In race trim I thought we had a really good car," Menard said following the race. "I really think that if we could have qualified a little bit better tonight, we would have finished a lot stronger tonight. I messed up in qualifying and put us further back than what we would have wanted to start tonight. A few more positions in qualifying would have made a lot of difference in the race and going down those laps. Larry (Carter) and the guys gave me a great car tonight, but we just never got the track position we needed to make any big moves."