NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Save Mart 350
June 23, 2013 – Sonoma Raceway
Paul Menard started the No. 27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet from the 16th position and battled handling issues throughout the 110-lap event at Sonoma Raceway, earning a 14th - place finish on Sunday. In the early laps of the event, Menard slipped back to the 20th position and relayed to the crew that the No. 27 machine was lacking rear grip. The "Slugger" Labbe-led pit crew made air pressure and track bar adjustments during the initial stop of the race on lap 25 in an attempt to increase rear grip. Just seven laps later, Menard pitted again under caution, this time for gas only setting the team up for a possible fuel strategy advantage later in the race. Restarting in 25th on lap 33, The Eau Claire, Wis., native methodically made his way toward the front of the field and was scored in 17th at lap 61. Unfortunately, the caution flags did not fall in favor of the team and Menard was off pit sequence from the majority of the front runners. The Richard Childress Racing driver ran as high as seventh before having to pit one final time for fuel on lap 83. With the leaders able to stay out, Menard restarted 22nd on lap 85. With the handling problems improving on the No. 27 Chevrolet, Menard was able to gain eight positions in the remaining 25 laps to cross the line 14th, his best finishing effort to date at the Sonoma, Calif., track. Menard now sits in the 12th spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings heading into Kentucky Speedway next weekend.
We struggled with handling issues early in the race with our Moen/Menards Chevrolet. The team worked hard and we were able to make some gains throughout the race with adjustments. The cautions didn't fall in our favor and we got caught off pit sequence from the leader. All in all, we'll take a top-15 finish at Sonoma Raceway and call it a decent day. - Paul Menard