Sunday, July 31, 2011

Paul Menard claims his first career win at the Brickyard 400

Paul Menard and team celebrate after kissing the bricks.
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR

The ending of the Brickyard 400 tends to be memorable every year and today was no different.  Fuel mileage played into the ending but Paul Menard and crew chief Slugger Labbe were willing to gamble, their gamble resulted in the jackpot, a win at the Brickyard. Menard ended with enough gas to hold off Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray who were making the late race charge.


Early in the race Kasey Kahne was dominant, leading 48 laps. Jeff Gordon also showed why he is a multiple winner at IMS, leading a total of 4 times and for a combined 36 laps.


The race all changed at lap 121 when Landon Cassill and David Ragan made contact trying to battle four wide for position. Cassill spun, many drivers went through the grass to avoid the wreck and that resulted in grass on the grille of their cars. Several cars, including points leader Carl Edwards, had to make multiple pits stops to repair damage sustained from avoiding the incident.


Menard is the first driver to win his first career race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He is the fourth  different first-time winner this season, the most since 2007.


“This is for my dad” Menard said in Victory Lane, honoring his father and his support of racing through his Menard’s sponsorship. "I've been coming here since I was a little kid, and my dad's been trying to win here for 35 years," said Menard, speaking in reference to his father John, who has been in racing as both a team owner and sponsor as well.


"There's a lot of emotion. I can't believe we won Indy. This is big."


Race results:
  1. Paul Menard
  2. Jeff Gordon
  3. Regan Smith
  4. Jamie McMurray
  5. Matt Kenseth
  6. Tony Stewart
  7. Greg Biffle
  8. Mark Martin
  9. Brad Keselowski
  10. Kyle Busch
  11. Kevin Harvick
  12. Ryan Newman
  13. Clint Bowyer
  14. Carl Edwards
  15. Brian Vickers
  16. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  17. Bobby Labonte
  18. Kasey Kahne
  19. Jimmie Johnson
  20. Landon Cassill
  21. Kurt Busch
  22. A.J. Allmendinger
  23. David Ragan
  24. Martin Truex Jr.
  25. Joey Logano
  26. Andy Lally
  27. Denny Hamlin
  28. Juan Pablo Montoya
  29. Casey Mears
  30. Trevor Bayne
  31. Dave Blaney
  32. Mike Bliss
  33. David Gilliland
  34. Marcos Ambrose
  35. Jeff Burton
  36. David Reutimann
  37. Michael McDowell
  38. Joe Nemechek
  39. Scott Speed
  40. Mike Skinner
  41. Terry Labonte
  42. T.J. Bell
  43. Robby Gordon

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