NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Phoenix 500
March 3, 2013, Phoenix International Raceway
Starting from the 16th position, Paul Menard and the No. 27 Serta/Menards team faced handling issues throughout the 316-lap event, earning a 20th-place finish when the checkered flag flew at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. The early laps of the race looked promising as the No. 27 machine quickly made its way to eighth by lap 15. As time went on, Menard began to struggle with a loose-handling racecar on entry into the corners and a tight condition through the middle and on exit. The Serta/Menards pit crew made a variety of adjustments to the Chevrolet SS in hopes of remedying the issue. The series of chassis and air pressure adjustments provided some relief to the Eau Claire, Wis., native toward the later part of the event, and Menard was scored 18th with just two laps remaining. A late-race caution set up the field for a green-white-checkered finish. When the green-flag flew, Menard was shuffled out of line on the last lap, crossing the stripe 20th.
We struggled throughout the race to find the right setup for the Serta/Menards Chevrolet, but we were never able to get exactly what we needed. Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) and the team worked really hard to get the handling balanced, making adjustments on every pit stop. They never gave up all day. There at the end, the car was handling better, but we just couldn't gain any track position. We'll move on and hope 'Lady Luck' is on our side at Las Vegas. - Paul Menard