NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Daytona 500
February 24, 2013, Daytona International Raceway
Paul Menard started the "Great American Race" from the 16th position on Sunday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway and salvaged a 21st-place finish despite incurring damage during a last-lap incident.During the beginning stages of the race, the field began to spread out single file and the Wisconsin native relayed to crew chief "Slugger" Labbe that the car was loose on entry and tight on exit in the corners. Running in the 17th position when the field began to make routine green-flag pit stops, Menard stayed out to lead lap 72, gaining a valuable bonus point before coming into the pits for right-side tires and fuel. Once the remainder of the field cycled through pit stops, the driver of the No. 27 Chevrolet found himself running back inside the top 15. As the race continued, the No. 27 pit crew made several pit stops for fresh Goodyear tires and fuel. Menard ran as high as 11th at lap 140, before getting shuffled to the inside line and slipping back to 22nd on lap 160. Utilizing the middle and inside racing grooves, Menard made his way back inside the top 15 with just five laps remaining. He was a strong contender in the closing laps, but a last-lap incident in turn one caused significant damage to the front end of the No. 27 machine, relegating Menard to a 21st-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Our PEAK/Menards Chevrolet was pretty good in the early part of today's race. We were able to run inside the top 15 for the majority of the day. When the field got stung out single file, it was difficult to pass and toward the end we got shuffled back several positions. We just couldn't make up any ground and then we got caught up in an accident on the final lap. It was a tough way to end the day, but we'll keep our heads up and look for a better result in Phoenix next Sunday. - Paul Menard