Paul Menard Captures his Second Career Nationwide Series Win at Michigan

Paul Menard was in the right place at the right time Saturday afternoon and captured the win in the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 250 at Michigan International Speedway. Menard took the lead with only four laps to go after race leader Joey Logano was forced to pit due to a cut tire. It was his second victory in the Nationwide Series, his first since June of 2006 when he won at Milwaukee.

A happy Menard in Victory Lane stated, “At Indianapolis I didn’t have enough fuel to make a whole lap so I was going to enjoy it this time.” It had been a while since his last win and he wasn’t sure how to get to Victory Lane. “I didn’t know where the hell to go,” Menard said, “they told me to go to pit road, come on the track, I wasn’t really sure.”

“I’m really proud to be a part of RCR (Richard Childress Racing),” Menard said after the race. “This is a brand new car, a brand new motor that we’re trying out and it’s proved itself, I think.”

He explained his strategy in the final laps of the race saying, “I kinda thought that I gave the race away by trying to go three wide on the restart to get to the inside. That worked out a couple of times early in the race but it didn’t work out that time, we got freight trained and just kinda ran out of time to close up on Joey. Then I guess he had a flat tire and that’s how we got the race. Would have liked to have lined up nose to tail to Joey for the last five-10 laps and see what would have happened, it would have been a hell of a race.”

Logano clearly had the car to beat during the second half of the race but his right rear tire went down and he had to pit on lap 121, giving up the lead to second place driver, Menard.  Logano, who led 43 laps, had to settle for a disappointing 16th place finish.

“I ran over something at some point.  It pretty much sucks. I could tell it was going down on the back straightaway and had to take it in.” Loano said.  “I hate giving it away like that.  The silver lining is we had a fast race car and should’ve won the race. You win some like that, you lose some like that.”

Sam Hornish Jr. overcame a spin on lap two to finish in second place. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third and also had tire problems, stating on Twitter, “Solid result for the @ebay car. Left front tire going flat last 20 laps. Great fuel strategy by the crew. Proud of @JRMotorsports.”

The big caution of the day came when Dylan Kwasniewski lost control of his car and collected Trevor Bayne, sending them both of them into the wall.

“I need to start driving smarter, I need to stop making these mistakes.” Kwasniewski said.

Notable: At the beginning of the race it looked as if it would be the Kyle Larson show. He was on a rail but had a few challengers at different points. Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch were just two of those that attempted to take the lead away from Kyle. Caution came out and Larson and his crew decided to stay out and keep the lead but this strategy would prove to be their downfall. On the restart Elliott took the lead and shuffled Larson to the middle of the pack. Kyle Busch finished the race in fourth place, Chase Elliott (the highest-finishing rookie) in sixth and Larson finished in eighth.

Regan Smith remains the series points leader with 485 points followed by Elliott Sadler who is 11 points behind. Chase Elliott (-20), Ty Dillon (-35) and Trevor Bayne (-50) round out the top five in the points standings.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads next to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for the Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up by Johnsonville on June 21 with coverage on ABC at 2:30 ET.

The top 10 finishers are:
1)  Paul Menard
2)  Sam Hornish Jr,
3)  Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4)  Kyle Busch
5)  Brian Scott
6)  Chase Elliott
7)  Regan Smith
8)  Kyle Larson
9)  Ty Dillon
10) Chris Buescher

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Michelle Lippold
Michelle Lippold
I've grown up watching racing of some sort from midgets to Stock Cars since I was a child. I run the FB page Everything NASCAR but really want to explore my love of writing and racing together. I love both things so I decided to try combining them.

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