NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Budweiser Duels
February 21, 2013, Daytona International Raceway
Paul Menard started the second Budweiser Duel, 150-mile qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway from the seventh spot on Thursday afternoon. Menard maintained his position inside the top 10 in the opening laps, running the bottom line until lap nine when the 22-car field began to spread out single file. Running ninth on lap 20, Menard was turning lap times faster than the leader, when he communicated to the crew that he was happy with the handling of the PEAK/ Menards Chevrolet SS. At lap 41, crew chief "Slugger" Labbe called his driver into the pits for a routine green-flag pit stop, and the No. 27 crew went to work adding fuel and changing right-side tires. Coming out of the pits in the eighth position, Menard quickly made his way toward the front of the field and moved into third at lap 50. With just 10 laps remaining in the 60-lap event, the Eau Claire, Wis., native was working the draft with Kasey Kahne, when Kahne moved up to the high line to make a move for the lead. Unable to stay hooked up with Kahne, the No. 27 machine was shuffle back to seventh on lap 52. Running single file, Menard maintained his position during the final eight laps to take the checkered flag with a top-10 finish. By virtue of his seventh-place finish in the non-points paying qualifying race, the PEAK/Menards Chevrolet SS team will start 16th for the 55th running of "The Great American Race" on Sunday, Feb. 24.
I was really happy with the way the PEAK/Menards Chevrolet drove in the Budweiser Duel. It was a good practice session for us to see how the car is going to handle under race conditions. I was disappointed we didn't get a better finish, we had a good run and were up to third with 10 laps to go. We had a lot of momentum and had caught the lead pack. We were working with Kasey (Kahne) well and he moved up the track and I didn't have a run. We just kind of mistimed it a little bit and it cost us both a few spots. We learned a lot about how the new car handles in the draft, and we have some ideas of what we can do to get a little more speed out of the car on Sunday. All in all I feel good about our chances in the Daytona 500. - Paul Menard