Menard Brings Home 28th-Place NASCAR Busch Series Finish in Today's Stater Bros. 300 at California Speedway FONTANA, Calif. (Saturday, May 1, 2004) -- NASCAR Busch Series rookie Paul Menard battled handling problems early on was forced to pit...
Menard Brings Home 28th-Place NASCAR Busch Series Finish in Today's Stater Bros. 300 at California Speedway
FONTANA, Calif. (Saturday, May 1, 2004) -- NASCAR Busch Series rookie Paul Menard battled handling problems early on was forced to pit for a late splash of fuel enroute to a 28th-place finish in today's Stater Bros. 300 at California Speedway.
Menard, the 23-year-old out of Eau Claire, Wis., started 22nd but found himself losing positions at the start of the race while trying his best to deal with an oversteer condition in the #33 Menards/Turtle Wax Platinum Series Chevrolet of Andy Petree Racing. The crew made adjustments to try and rectify the problem when Menard first pitted under green on Lap 49. But Menard, who rejoined the race in 35th position, found he needed further adjustments, which the crew executed on its next pit stop, under yellow, on Lap 68.
Those changes enabled Menard to fight his way up to 29th when, on Lap 89, the crew made what was hoped to be the final stop necessary during today's 150-lap, 300-mile race. His Menards/Turtle Wax Chevrolet now handling better than it had been all race, Menard and the team decided to try and make it to the end on fuel. The gamble almost paid off, but on Lap 145, just five laps from the end, Menard was forced to come into the pits for one last splash of fuel. Had the gamble paid off, they were looking at a possible finish of 23rd or better. In turn, they had to settle for 28th.
Greg Biffle scored his first victory of the season today, having been able to stretch his fuel to the end while numerous other frontrunners had to pit for a late splash. The next stop on the NASCAR Busch Series tour for 2004 is next Saturday's Charter 250 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis.
"What a day. We started out pretty loose in the early going, and the changes we made on our first stop didn't do enough to get rid of the problem. We made some good changes on our second stop, and more of the same on our third stop, so the Menards/Turtle Wax Chevrolet was handling well at the end of the race. We sure would have felt a lot better about our finishing position if we would have had enough fuel to make it to the end. But there are a lot of guys up and down pit road who are wishing the same thing. That's the way it goes, sometimes. I think when we look closely at what changes did and did not help the car today, it's going to help us a lot on the fast tracks we're going to down the road."