Menard Salvages 11 Positions During Resumption of Rain-Delayed Hershey's Kisses 300 at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Monday, Feb. 16, 2004) -- NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Paul Menard opened his 2004 season by...
Menard Salvages 11 Positions During Resumption of Rain-Delayed Hershey's Kisses 300 at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Monday, Feb. 16, 2004) -- NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Paul Menard opened his 2004 season by limping his #33 Menards Chevrolet home to a 32nd-place finish during today's completion of the rain-delayed Hershey's Kisses 300 on the Daytona International Speedway 2.5-mile tri-oval.
Menard started on the outside of the sixth row when the race went green on Saturday afternoon, as originally scheduled, but was caught up in a multi-car accident just 11 laps into the 120-lap event. The Menards Chevrolet sustained moderate front-end damage, and the Andy Petree Racing crew was busy repairing the car when heavy rains brought out the red flag on Lap 31. NASCAR officials delayed the restart of the race until 11 a.m. EST today, at which point the Petree team was able to complete its final repairs -- primarily cosmetic -- and Menard rejoined the race on Lap 56, in 43rd position and 45 laps down to the leaders.
Playing it safe the rest of the way, Menard was able to run fairly competitive lap times and picked up 11 positions by the checkered flag. Yesterday's Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr., picked up the victory today, leading runner-up Johnny Sauter and third-place-finishing Robby Gordon across the finish line.
The next event on the NASCAR Busch Series tour is Saturday's Rockingham 200 on the North Carolina Speedway mile oval.
"People might think it's highly unsatisfying to wait around two days to finish a race 46 laps off the pace in 32nd position, but we picked up 11 positions today that just might add up to some pretty important points by the end of the season. It was really disappointing to get caught up in a wreck like that at the beginning of the race on Saturday, but those things are going to happen and you just have to hope you're in the right place at the right time. We almost made it to the right place, but just got caught up in it and that was the end of our shot at a top finish. The guys did a great job of getting my car ready to go racing again. I was running some pretty good lap times without really having to push too hard. We knew how many spots we could pick up if we ran at that pace and there was no one else within reach even if we pushed as hard as we could. It's funny, you come to Daytona feeling all hopeful and your hopes can get deflated just like that. I can't wait to go to Talladega so we can redeem ourselves. But, first things first, let's go to Rockingham and do some real racing."