NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - IRWIN Tools Night Race
August 24, 2013 – Bristol Motor Speedway
Paul Menard captured his third-consecutive top-10 result in "Thunder Valley," finishing sixth under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday evening. Starting 21st, Menard maintained a spot within the top 20 until a lap-91 caution-flag period when the No. 27 Schrock/Menards team elected not to come down pit road, positioning Menard in fifth for the ensuing restart. Another caution on lap 108 positioned Menard in the inside lane for the restart and he slipped back to 19th before blending back in line with the rest of the 43-car field. Struggling to get his No. 27 machine to point through the center of the corners, Menard pitted under yellow for four tires and fuel with wedge and air pressure adjustments. Upon exiting pit road, Menard was tagged with a speeding violation forcing him to serve a "pass through penalty" and he restarted in 29th on lap 185. With his car handling to his liking, the Wisconsin native worked his way back inside the top 20 and was running in 20th when the caution flag flew on lap 258. With track position proving to be crucial in the 500-lap event, crew chief "Slugger" Labbe elected not to bring his driver down pit road. The 19 cars in front of Menard pitted and he took the green flag as the race leader on lap 267. The Richard Childress Racing driver maintained the point position for the next 64 laps before falling to third with a tight-handling race car. Menard maintained a spot in the top 10 until pitting on lap 361 for fuel only. Several cars in front of the 33-year-old driver elected not to pit or take right-side tires only and Menard restarted 15th. Another caution period on lap 440 allowed Menard and crew to play pit strategy and Labbe again elected to keep his driver out under caution. Menard restarted in seventh on lap 447 and was able to gain one position in the remaining laps to finish sixth in the IRWIN Tools Night Race. Menard's top-10 finish at Bristol marks his sixth top 10 of the season. He remains in the 17th spot in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings heading into Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend.
It's great to bring home another top-10 finish this weekend. Bristol (Motor Speedway) has been good to me over the past couple of years and I love this short-track racing. We had a great Schrock/Menards car and it was awesome to be able to lead some laps tonight. We got shuffled back in the field taking fuel, but we were able to make some ground up with pit strategy at the end. It was a solid night for the No. 27 team and we're looking forward to going to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend and continuing our top-10 finishes. - Paul Menard