Daytona Beach, FL -- Paul Menard's 2007 NASCAR Busch Series debut began on a high note as the driver of the No. 15 Peak/Menards Chevrolet qualified 12th for the Orbitz 300. After spending the Wednesday and Thursday practice sessions in 27th ...
Daytona Beach, FL -- Paul Menard's 2007 NASCAR Busch Series debut began on a high note as the driver of the No. 15 Peak/Menards Chevrolet qualified 12th for the Orbitz 300.
After spending the Wednesday and Thursday practice sessions in 27th and 34th respectively, Menard was pleased with the solid qualifying effort heading into Saturday's race.
The 120-lap event began with a bang as Menard went three wide to move from 12th to seventh place before the first lap was in the record books. By lap two Menard was solidly locked in the top-five.
"It's a little tight, but it gets in the corner pretty good," Menard radioed Crew Chief Tony Eury Sr. when the caution flew on lap four.
Menard spent the next fifteen laps battling for the lead. When Eury called Menard into pit under the second caution period on lap 19, Menard was shown in third place.
By lap 23, however, Menard began to slip slowly back before reporting a possible shock problem to the team on lap 33. Menard managed to keep the car in the top-fifteen until he could pit under caution on lap 63. The crew went to work on the right front shock, but the damage was already done. Menard was forced to battle through the second half of the race with a severely tight racecar.
Despite the car's handling problems, Menard was sustained a spot in the top-twenty and brought the Peak/Menards Chevrolet home in 17th place.
"It's time to get out of Daytona and focus on what's ahead." Menard said following the Orbitz 300. "We were really strong at the Vegas test and that's a good indicator of how we'll run in the next three races."
Menard's teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove the No. 8 Johns Manville/Menards Chevrolet to a seventh place after leading eight laps midway through the race.