Menard Jumps to Seventh in NASCAR Busch Series Drivers Standings With Sixth-Place Run in Today's Domino's Pizza 250 at Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. (Saturday, Aug. 20, 2005) -- Paul Menard of Eau Claire, Wis., leapfrogged all the way to seventh in...
Menard Jumps to Seventh in NASCAR Busch Series Drivers Standings With Sixth-Place Run in Today's Domino's Pizza 250 at Michigan
BROOKLYN, Mich. (Saturday, Aug. 20, 2005) -- Paul Menard of Eau Claire, Wis., leapfrogged all the way to seventh in the NASCAR Busch Series drivers standings with a sixth-place finish in today's Domino's Pizza 250 at Michigan International Speedway.
Menard's ninth top-10 finish in his last 10 events -- the lone holdout being a solid 12th-place finish at Pikes Peak last month -- vaulted him two spots upward in the drivers standings today, past David Stremme and former series champion David Green.. Since June 18, when his current streak of top-10 finishes began at Kentucky Speedway, Menard has moved up 11 spots in all in the drivers standings.
With this morning's Busch qualifying session washed out by rain, Menard and his #11 Menards/Moen Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., started this afternoon's 125-lap race around the 2-mile MIS oval from the 12th position on a grid set according to owners points. He was in the top 10 by the end of the second lap despite a slight loose condition through the middle of the corners. He was up to eighth by Lap 8, but then slipped back to 12th for the remainder of his opening run.
Menard pitted for the first time under yellow on Lap 38, and quick work by the DEI crew got him back out on track all the way up in seventh position. Eventual race-winner Ryan Newman passed him on the ensuing restart, dropping Menard back to eighth, but he got back to seventh again by the time the second round of fuel-and-tire stops began, under green. Menard's second stop came on Lap 87 and he resumed in 24th place with a majority of the field ahead of him yet to make their second stops. By Lap 101, Menard was back in eighth place as the field finally cycled through their second stops.
From there, Menard hovered between seventh and eighth place, resuming in eighth after his final stop of the day under yellow on Lap 111. The final caution period ended on Lap 119 with Menard in seventh place. He was passed shortly after the restart by former Nextel Cup champion Bobby Labonte. But he picked up momentum and was able to get by another Nextel Cup regular, Elliott Sadler, on Lap 123, and he got back by Labonte on the final lap for his final finishing position of sixth.
Newman was followed across the finish line by fellow Nextel Cup regulars Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. Busch regulars Martin Truex, Jr., and J.J. Yeley were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Next up for Menard, who will celebrate his 25th birthday on Sunday, is next Friday night's Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
PAUL MENARD "Now that is a good race car. It was brand new when we brought it here to test a week ago Monday and it did really well. We picked up where we left off yesterday by running in the top five in the first practice. We were a touch loose at the start of the race today, but we made some changes and had an awesome stop the first time we pitted. From there, we just pedaled as fast as we could, stuck with the lead pack and brought home another top-10 finish. We'll bring this Menards/Moen Chevrolet out to (MIS's sister track in) California in two weeks. We'll really be looking forward to that. In the meantime, we'll have some fun trying to keep our streak alive during our annual Friday night run under the lights in Bristol."