Mid-Race Accident Foils Menard's Bid During Today's NASCAR Busch Series Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway LEBANON, Tenn. (Saturday, March 26, 2005) -- Paul Menard of Eau Claire, Wis., saw his bid for a top finish in today's Pepsi 300 NASCAR...
Mid-Race Accident Foils Menard's Bid During Today's
NASCAR Busch Series Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway
LEBANON, Tenn. (Saturday, March 26, 2005) -- Paul Menard of Eau Claire, Wis., saw his bid for a top finish in today's Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Nashville Superspeedway come to an early end when his #11 Menards/Peak Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., made heavy contact with the outside wall on the front straight shortly after the race's midpoint.
Menard qualified 16th earlier today and was poised to work his way into the top 10 and beyond when, on Lap 137 of a scheduled 225, his car broke loose on the front straight and sustained significant front- and rear-end damage after contact with the concrete barrier. He was unhurt, but the Menards crew needed some 53 laps to make the necessary repairs to get the car back on track. Menard rejoined the race on Lap 190, in 38th place. He picked up two more positions before the checkered flag, finishing 36th, a total of 55 laps behind race-winner Reed Sorenson.
Just eight laps before the fateful meeting with the outside retaining wall, Menard was involved in a bizarre pit-lane incident in which NASCAR Nextel Cup regular Jamie McMurray drove down pit lane several cars in front of Menard under caution on Lap 129, headed toward his pit, then changed his mind at the last instant and pulled back in front of Menard, spinning the #11 car. Damage was minor in that incident, and Menard was able to rejoin the race in 15th place on the ensuing restart.
Next up for the NASCAR Busch Series is next Saturday's Sharpie 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
"I have to say thanks to all the Menards DEI crew for busting their hind ends getting me back out on track after the incident. I'm not exactly sure what happened. We started the race tight whenever we got in close behind other cars. We made some adjustments on our first couple of stops and the Menards/Peak Chevrolet felt like we were going to be able to move toward the front. All of a sudden, it just broke loose on me and the next thing I knew I was in the wall. It was a pretty hard hit and the car was damaged pretty badly. I can't say I've ever had a car break loose on my like that. I guess there's a first time for everything. Again, hats off to the guys for getting me back out there. As for the incident (with McMurray) in the pit lane, you might know more than I do. All of a sudden I was turned around. That was strange, but the damage from that had nothing to do with my accident on the track. It's on to Bristol. We had a great car there last August and we're bringing it back next weekend. I'm really looking forward to that one."