Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Memorable Day in Victory Lane at Indianapolis

Every driver dreams of one day winning on of NASCAR’s biggest races: either the Daytona 500 or Brickyard 400, and today, that dream came true for Richard Childress Racing’s driver of the No. 27, Paul Menard, who qualified fifteenth. 

Credit to Google
When the Green Flag waved for the eighteenth Brickyard 400, David Ragan, sporting a special paint-scheme in honor of Ned Jarrett’s induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, led the field.  Ragan didn’t hold the lead for long because Kasey Kahne, who qualified second, took the lead away on the first lap and was able to check out.  On lap 4, Joey Logano’s day was almost done due to contact with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., but he somehow managed to save his car from spinning and hitting the outside wall.  By lap 17, Kasey Kahne, who was still leading, had a lead of 4.5 seconds over second-place, Jeff Gordon. 

Lap 25 was when the first of the Green-Flag pit stops started to cycle through; but, by lap 30, the first Yellow Flag of the day waved due to debris on the track from when Kyle Busch attempted to through his water bottle out of the car onto the grass, but it missed and ended up on the track.  Once going back to green, Kahne led, which was short-lived due to David Reutimann hitting the wall, bringing out the caution.  When on Pit Road, Kahne had a problem with a dropped lug nut on the left front tire, costing him valuable positions on the track.  Lap 54, and Dale Jr. leads for five laps before Jeff Gordon took over the lead, that is, until lap 94 when caution came out for debris. 

On lap 97, after pit stops, Paul Menard led the field.  The Yellow Flag waved again on lap 144, due to Kyle Busch getting into the wall in Turn Two.  The final caution of the day was when Landon Cassill and David Ragan made contact while running four-wide, which sent Cassill sideways, which resulted in Kasey Kahne spinning into the grass.  Lap 148, Paul Menard, running first, was told to conserve fuel if he wanted to win, so he slid into the second spot behind Jamie McMurray.  By lap 157, Menard’s crew chief, Slugger, told him he could “turn it on full force” for the final laps to win. 
Credit to Google

Paul Menard took the Checkered Flag for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win – not to mention at the Brickyard 400.  When asked about his win, he answered, “I can’t believe I won at Indy.  There’s a lot of emotion right now.”* Special congratulations to Paul Menard, his family, his crew chief, Slugger Labbe, the whole No. 27 crew, and Richard Childress Racing for a truly amazing first Cup win! 

* Quote from Google 

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