It’s been an unlucky weekend to forget for Paul Menard when he suffered two wrecks plus a penalty that left him out of the race early.
Having learned from his mistakes, he hopes that Sunday’s race in Texas is a thing of the past as he eyes a Top 10 comeback this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.
He got involved on Lap 2 when Hendrick Motorsports’s No.88 Alex Bowman clipped the apron before collecting some drivers including Menard himself, Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon.
Menard has picked up some damage on the right rear quarter panel but continued out on the race track a couple of laps down in trying to regain a few positions.
Although, he failed to return to the lead lap but suffered another blow when he went too fast on pit road on Lap 60.
Then Menard’s day continues to decline after his fender pushed on left front tire causing a rub as he immediately pitted under green to have the problem rectified.
But Menard’s day at Texas shut down altogether within 100 laps left of this race when he made substantial contact with the wall at turn two.
Paul Menard’s 2018 Season summary after Texas
- Seven starts
- 1901 of 2145 laps completed, 88.6%
- One Lap led, Daytona 500
- Two Top 10 finishes, 28.6%
- Average Start: 15 & Finish: 18.6
- DNF: Two, Crash (Phoenix and Texas).
- He currently sits 16th in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with 142 points.
Paul Menard’s Texas Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series record summary
- 24 Starts
- 7553 of 7559 laps completed, 94.4%
- Three laps led
- One Top 5 finish, 4.2%
- Three Top finishes, 12.5%
- Best Finish: 5th at the Samsung Mobile 500 on 9th April 2011 in the No.27 Chevrolet with Richard Childress Racing.
- Average Start: 18.1 and Finish: 22.2
- DNF: Four, Engine (Early 2006 & 2015) and Crash (Early 2010 & 2018).
Paul Menard’s Bristol Motor Speedway record summary
- 21 Starts
- 10,453 of 10,523 laps completed, 99.3%
- 104 laps led
- One Top 5 finish, 4.8%
- Best Finish: 5th in March 2011 with the No.27 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing
- Six Top 10 postings, 28.6%
- Average Start: 19.8 & Finish: 17.8
During his 2017 visit in the Spring and Fall races at Bristol, Menard finished P16 twice with only one lap down on both occasions.
The last time he posted a Top 10 at this track is 9th place in August 2014 during the Irwin Tools Night Race.
Menard has not yet posted a Top 5 or 10 Bristol finish over the past four years.
So this weekend has to be the day to rejuvenate because he also hadn’t crossed the finish line inside the Top 10 of 2018 since Las Vegas five weeks ago.
He’s between the Playoff bubble in 16th on the current Drivers’ leaderboard after Texas.
The next few weeks has to be a make or break for Menard as he’s unlucky in lousy shape in recent weeks.
But Wood Brothers are working hard as possible to get a reliable race car for Menard to finish as high as he can like did at Daytona and Las Vegas.
If they are still confident to match their best season yet since Ryan Blaney departed for Penske at the end of last year, so can Paul Menard because he’s in a new challenge driving for a single car team compared to a multi-car outfit at Richard Childress Racing.
It’s going to take some time but as long as Menard’s patient then he will drive the No.21 Ford Fusion in victory lane anytime soon.
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Image Source and Statistics: Racing Reference.