NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - AdvoCare 500
September 1, 2013 – Atlanta Motor Speedway
Paul Menard started the AdvoCare 500 from the 16th position and involvement in an accident in the early laps of the Sunday night event relegated him to a 24th-place result at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After rain showers earlier in the day washed the rubber off the1.5-mile speedway, NASCAR officials mandated a competition caution at lap 25. Menard pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment in an attempt to give the Moen/Menards Chevrolet better drive off of the corners. While exiting pit road, the No. 27 machine sustained minor left-front fender damage when several cars in front of Menard made contact with each other causing the field to bunch. Having to come down pit road a second time during the competition caution for repairs, Menard restarted in 41st on lap 29. Just 20 laps later the Richard Childress Racing driver was running 24th when an incident with another competitor caused Menard to make contact with the outside retaining wall. Having to pit under green on lap 54 for more repairs, the 33-year-old-driver fell two laps down to the leader. The caution flag waved just a few laps later and Menard was able to take the "wave around" gaining one of his laps back. Just as things started to look up, the No. 27 Chevrolet had a right-rear tire go down as a result of the earlier damage. Menard was forced to come to pit road under green-flag conditions for fresh tires and repairs, causing him to fall another lap down to the leader. Menard restarted in 39th on lap 80 two laps down to the leader. Despite the setbacks, the crew never gave up and made adjustments to the neon yellow machine all night. Though he remained laps down for the remainder of the night, by virtue of continuing to run laps and improve the car's handling, Menard was able to gain 15 spots to finish in the 24th position under the lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Menard now sits in 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings heading into Richmond International Raceway.
It was a long night for the No. 27 Moen/Menards crew. We got caught up in pit road congestion during the first stop of the night putting us behind and then the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) put us in the wall a few laps later. We lost laps early making repairs and we were never able to get them back. The crew worked really hard all night making adjustments and the car wasn't too bad considering the damage. We'll keep our heads up and hope for better results next weekend in at Richmond International Raceway. - Paul Menard