Saturday, June 14, 2014

Paul Menard wins NASCAR Nationwide race at Michigan International Speedway

Paul Menard in victory lane./Dave Marr photo
Paul Menard took advantage of other drivers’ misfortune and won the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 250, a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.
The win snapped Menard’s 98-race winless streak, dating to June 24, 2006, in Milwaukee.  It was the Richard Childress Racing driver's first Nationwide start of this season.
“It’s good to be back in victory lane,” Menard, whose No. 33 Chevrolet led 18 laps, said. “I thought the best car was going to finish second. We’ll take it.
“We started off a little too tight. We made a couple of adjustments.”
Elliott Sadler and Joey Logano contended for the win, but each had trouble in the final 25 laps.
Sadler had to give up second place when debris was lodged on the front of his No. 11 Toyota with about 25 laps to go. He finished 17th.
Logano was leading when a right-side tire went flat with four laps left. His No. 22 Ford came in 16th.
Sam Hornish Jr. finished second despite spinning on the second lap of the race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., making a rare Nationwide start, finished third.
“We were fast in practice yesterday, and I thought we (would have) a better car than what we started the race with,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “But we made some real good adjustments. I ran over something between turns 3 and 4. We got a hole in the left-front tire, and it was going flat at the end.
“I think this is a great track for (racing) anything. I enjoy running whatever we run here. I wanted to run this race; I like this track.”
Kyle Busch, who won the pole with a track-record qualifying lap of 193.242 mph, finished fifth. 
Regan Smith, the defending race winner and the current points leader, finished seventh in the race that featured seven full-time Sprint Cup drivers.
Smith has a 14-point lead over Sadler, and 18-year-old rookie Chase Elliott is third, 20 points behind Smith.
Fourth-place Ty Dillon is 35 behind the leader, and fifth-place Trevor Bayne trails Smith by 50 points.
Elliott’s father, Bill, won seven Cup races at MIS.
“This is a fun race track,” Elliott said. “The groove widened out more to the bottom of the race track than I thought it would. I wish we came here again (this season). Our car performed great. I felt solid about our car all day.”

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