NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Homestead 400
November 17, 2013 – Homestead-Miami Speedway
Starting the Homestead 400 from the 12th position, Paul Menard and the No. 27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet SS team ran in the top 10 for the majority of the day before an exploding tire relegated them to a 39th-place finish in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the early laps of the 400-mile event, Menard faced a loose-handling condition. That handling issue led the No. 27 team to make a variety of chassis adjustments during the ensuing pit stops. Though he was struggling with a loose-handling car, the Wisconsin native maintained a position inside the top 10 until sustaining right-rear damage on the lap-194 restart. Just 10 laps later, Menard cut a right-rear tire. As a result of the flat tire, the Richard Childress Racing driver visited pit road several times under caution to make repairs. Rubber from the flat right-rear tire became wrapped around the axle and several laps after restarting in 27th on lap 211, a fire erupted near the new right-rear tire causing Menard to pit for repairs. Upon entering pit road, the right-rear tire exploded from the fire, forcing Menard to end his night early because of extensive damage to the car. He ultimately finished the race in 39th, and ended the 2013 season 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings with three top-five and nine top-10 finishes.
That was pretty wild. First of all, the Moen/Menards Chevrolet was really good all night. On that restart, everybody kind of checked up and we got some right-rear damage and had a flat tire. I guess a bunch of rubber got wrapped up underneath around the axle. We came in a couple of times trying to fix the damage and tried to get the rubber off. We didn't get it all and I guess it just caught fire. I didn't really know it until there was a little bit of spark coming in the car and landed on the window net. I thought that was kind of weird. About a lap later they said I was on fire. I lost my brakes and then the wheel blew right off of the car. I thought they were going to hit the fire extinguisher. But the tire blew out and knocked the fire extinguisher out of my gasman's hands. Then everything caught on fire. I just tried to get out of the car as fast as I could. When it blew, I was worried about all my guys on the right-rear corner. We've seen tires blow before and they are pretty violent. I'm just glad everyone is okay. - Paul Menard