EARLY WRECK ENDS MENARD'S DAY AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY EASTABOGA, Ala. (November 1, 2009) -- After posting one of the best practice times on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, Paul Menard and the No. 98 Zecol / Menards team looked forward to...
EARLY WRECK ENDS MENARD'S DAY AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
EASTABOGA, Ala. (November 1, 2009) -- After posting one of the best practice times on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, Paul Menard and the No. 98 Zecol / Menards team looked forward to Sunday's AMP Energy 500. With qualifying rained out on Saturday morning, Menard started this afternoon's race from the 32nd position. After four laps of racing, Menard blew a left rear tire which sent him directly into the outside retaining wall. The impact left the No. 98 Zecol / Menards team with a wrecked race car and a disappointing 42nd-place finish.
With rain showers on Saturday morning at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, the teams started according to current NASCAR Owner's Points. In practice on Friday, Menard and his No. 98 Zecol / Menards team were very pleased with the performance of their race car.
The weather on Sunday morning in Talladega, Ala was perfect for an afternoon of racing. Current points leader Jimmie Johnson led the field to the green flag. After starting 32nd, Menard lined up two wide going into turn one. The two-wide racing continued around the 2.66-mile speedway for three laps until the cars broke off into line.
After crossing the start/finish line on lap four, Menard noted the car was a little loose entering turn one. He corrected the car and worked his way through turn two when his left rear tire blew out, sending him careening into the outside while collecting the No. 87 car.
Menard was seen and release from the infield care center, while his No. 98 race car was loaded back into the transporter.
"I was just trying to go to the back and ride for a little bit and the left rear or right rear popped," said Menard following the wreck on lap four. "The car wiggled going into one, I corrected it, and then it just caught and went straight into the fence. We had a really fast race car. I was really happy with it in the draft on Friday. The first lap or two today I was just trying to see what I had and it felt good, so I was just bailing to the back. The guys worked really hard, but now we've got a destroyed race car."
Following the wreck, Goodyear officials determined a piece of debris picked up on the track was the cause for the blown tire on the No. 98 Ford Fusion.
Next week, the No. 98 Vertis / Menards team will return to Texas Motor Speedway for the second time this season.