NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Geico 400
September 15, 2013 – Chicagoland Speedway
Paul Menard started the Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet from the 11th position in the 400-mile race at Chicagoland Speedway and finished 22nd after struggling with handling issues in the rain-delayed event. Light rain showers postponed the start of the GEICO 400, but when the green flag flew, Menard quickly gained two positions and was running in ninth at lap eight. A NASCAR-mandated competition caution was called on lap 30 and crew chief "Slugger" Labbe instructed his driver to come to pit road for four tires, fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments. Several cars elected to take only two tires under caution and Menard lined up for the restart in 14th. Just a few laps into the second green-flag run of the day, the Wisconsin native slipped back to 21st and relayed to the team that his No. 27 machine was extremely tight. Menard continued to struggle with a tight-handling car until heavy rain showers forced the red flag to be displayed at lap 108. After a five-hour delay, Menard returned to his car and pitted under caution for four tires and fuel before the race restarted. The 33-year-old driver maintained a position around 20th until pitting under caution for right-side tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment on lap 149. The two-tire pit stop gained Menard valuable track position as he restarted in 13th. Though the tight-handling condition persisted, the Richard Childress Racing driver continued to run inside the top 20. The No. 27 pit crew made a variety of chassis adjustments over the ensuing pit stops and the changes seemed to provide some relief to Menard. An on-track incident with the No. 51 on lap 239 caused a left-rear tire rub on the No. 27 Chevrolet and Menard was forced to pit under caution for fresh tires and fuel. Restarting in 23rd with 22 laps remaining in the 267-lap affair, Menard was able to gain one position in the final laps to finish 22nd. He now sits 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings heading into New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
We struggled with handling issues on our Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet all day and evening. The rain and track conditions didn't play to our advantage tonight. I have to give my crew credit, it was a long day and they never gave up. They made adjustments all night. We'll learn from today and look for better results in New Hampshire (Motor Speedway) next weekend. - Paul Menard