Richard Childress Racing
November 12, 2012
Menard and the Rheem/Menards Team Salvage Top-10 Finish at Phoenix International Raceway
"It was a crazy end to the race."
Start - 7
Finish - 9
Laps Led - 0
Points - 16
Paul Menard drove the No. 27 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet to a ninth-place finish in the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway despite being collected in a multi-car accident as the neon yellow machine took the checkered flag Sunday afternoon. Menard started the scheduled 312-lap event from the seventh position and immediately drove into the top five, where he remained for the first 166 laps of the race. Climbing to high as second, Menard reported that the car was handling well. During the lap-166 caution period, crew chief Slugger Labbe called the Eau Claire, Wis., native to pit road for four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment in anticipation of track changes as the sun began to dip in the Arizona sky. With teams following varied pit strategies, Menard restarted from the seventh position and began to fall in the running order citing a tight-center and loose-exit handling condition. The Rheem/Menards team lost additional ground following a two-tire pit stop on lap 236 and subsequent four-tire pit stop on lap 273, as Menard continued to battle handling challenges and fell to the 19th position. Persevering through a number of restarts in the closing laps, Menard climbed to the 11th position before a lap-311 incident required NASCAR to display the red flag and set the stage for a green-white-checkered finish. In the final dash to the checkered flag, the 32-year-old driver gained two additional positions before crossing the finish line and simultaneously being collected in a multi-car accident that caused severe damage to the No. 27 Chevrolet. The ninth-place result tied Menard's previous best finish at the one-mile Avondale, Ariz.-based race track.
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"We had a pretty solid Rheem/Menards Chevrolet throughout the first half of the race, but made the wrong decision on a couple of adjustments and lost track position. We were able to make it back into the top 10 before the checkered flag. It was a crazy end to the race. I'll have to look at the replay to see what exactly happened, but I'm glad that everyone is ok. Thank you to the No. 27 team for a great car this weekend. We've been strong here the last three races and have made a lot of improvements."