Menard Spun Late in Today's Rescheduled Sharpie 250 To Ruin Bid for Season's First Busch Series Top-10 Finish BRISTOL, Tenn. (Monday, April 4, 2005) -- Paul Menard's bid for his first NASCAR Busch Series top-10 finish of the season came to an...
Menard Spun Late in Today's Rescheduled Sharpie 250 To Ruin Bid for Season's First Busch Series Top-10 Finish
BRISTOL, Tenn. (Monday, April 4, 2005) -- Paul Menard's bid for his first NASCAR Busch Series top-10 finish of the season came to an end when he was inadvertently spun by former Nextel Cup champion Dale Jarrett just 18 laps from the scheduled end of today's rain-delayed Sharpie 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Menard and his #11 Menards/Quaker State Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., just slipped from 10th to 11th position when, on Lap 227 of the scheduled 250-lap event, he was bumped from behind and spun by Jarrett. Menard was able to avoid contact with other cars and the inside retaining wall during his slide off the high-banked, half-mile concrete racing surface, but the incident necessitated a pit stop for four fresh tires that sent him back to 24th place. He picked up two spots before the green-white-checkered flag finish on Lap 256 after the day's 14th caution period on Lap 248. The typically incident-filled race was also red-flagged on three different occasions.
The late-race spin was an inauspicious end to a weekend that started with Menard fifth and second during Friday's two practice sessions, leaving him and the #11 Menards/Quaker State crew hopeful of another top-five starting spot. But Saturday morning's qualifying session was rained out, prompting NASCAR officials to set the starting grid according to the latest owners standings, where the #11 team was listed in the 28th spot. Saturday's afternoon's race was then rained out, forcing it to be postponed until today.
Menard made steady progress toward the front of the grid from his 28th starting position, deftly avoiding numerous on-track incidents along the way, and found himself knocking on the door of his first top-10 finish of the season with just 18 laps to go. The 22nd-place finish moved Menard up to 20th in the Busch series drivers standings.
After taking this coming weekend off, the NASCAR Busch Series resumes April 16 at Texas Motor Speedway.
"All I can say is that was a shame because we were looking at our best finish of the season. Dale (Jarrett) just got into the back of me and got me sideways and that was about all she wrote. It wasn't intentional, but it happened, and it's just a shame for all the guys who worked so hard to give me another great race car. It hurt us to have to start so far back, despite having a great race car, because this isn't the easiest track in the world to get around people. We had some really close calls during some of those early wrecks, but we were fortunate to be able to keep our nose clean. Until what happened to us at the end, of course. The weekend off will give us a good chance to regroup and come back strong at Texas, Phoenix and Talladega."