Stricken Twice by a Loose Wheel, Menard Has To Settle for 28th At NASCAR Busch Series MBNA RacePoints 200 on Dover's Monster Mile DOVER, Del. (Saturday, June 4, 2005) -- Paul Menard of Eau Claire, Wis., and his ...
Stricken Twice by a Loose Wheel, Menard Has To Settle for 28th At NASCAR Busch Series MBNA RacePoints 200 on Dover's Monster Mile
DOVER, Del. (Saturday, June 4, 2005) -- Paul Menard of Eau Claire, Wis., and his #11 Menards/Peak Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., soldiered home 28th after twice pitting to remedy a loose wheel and earlier having his left-rear tire flattened by another competitor in today's MBNA RacePoints 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on the Dover International Speedway Monster Mile oval.
Menard started 25th on a grid determined by owners points after Friday's qualifying session was rained out, and he quickly worked his way into the top 20 just six laps into today's 200-lap event. He resumed in 27th after pitting for the first time under caution on Lap 27, with tire pressure adjustments made to try and remedy a loose condition.
Not long thereafter, on Lap 35, with Menard back up in the 19th position, the car of Denny Hamlin made contact with Menard's Chevrolet for the third time in as many races. This time, side-to-side contact flattened Menard's left-rear tire, warranting a pit stop for a fresh set of Goodyears under yellow one lap later. That dropped Menard back to 29th when the race went back to green on Lap 41, but enabled him to forego a pit stop on the next yellow-flag period that began on Lap 58, after which Menard resumed in fifth place. He stayed with the leaders until pitting for the third time under yellow on Lap 100 with adjustments made to help correct increasingly tight conditions.
Menard resumed in 10th after that third stop but lost several positions as his race car got loose after the Lap 108 restart, and he hovered in the mid-teens until first reporting a vibration from the left rear on Lap 156. That forced him into the pits under green for a look by the DEI crew, who found the left-rear wheel coming loose, and he lost two laps during the ensuing tire change. With Menard first in line for the next two "Lucky Dog" chances to get back on the lead lap and in 25th place approaching the 177th tour of the circuit, Menard again felt a left-rear vibration and had to pit yet again under green for a new set of tires. He was able to hold on to 28th place but held onto 20th in the latest drivers standings.
Next for the NASCAR Busch Series is next Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway.
"Seemed like Murphy's Law was working against us today. First, the contact with the 20 car flattened our left-rear tire, which set us back and forced us out of pit sequence early on. I don't know if that impact had anything to do with the left-rear wheel problem we developed, but it turned out to be one of those days. It's frustrating because we were one of the fastest cars on the track when we were running on our own in the early to middle part of the race. But then it kind of got away from us. I was hoping our solid run at Charlotte last week was going to finally turn things around for us. I guess that'll have to wait until next week at Nashville."