Paul Menard and the No. 27 Duracell/Menards team closed the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with an 11th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his career-best result at the 1.5-mile race track. Menard started Sunday’s 267-lap event from the 18th position and reported a loose-handling condition during the early laps. Crew chief Slugger Labbe called the Eau Claire, Wis., native to pit road on lap 43 under green-flag conditions for four tires and chassis adjustments.
The quick pit stop and improved handling allowed Menard to drive into the top 15 by lap 47. As the sun began to set on the Homestead, Fla.-based facility, track conditions changed, requiring additional chassis and air pressure adjustments to continue to improve the neon yellow Chevrolet’s handling. Menard continued to compete just outside of the top 15 while battling the loose machine. Fuel strategy played in the Richard Childress Racing team’s favor as they made their final visit to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 214.
Armed with a full fuel cell, Menard gained valuable track position as some teams were required to make a final pit stop in the closing laps and took the checkered flag in the 11th position. The 32-year-old driver closed out the 2012 season earning his career-best finish of 16th in the Sprint Cup Series championship driver point standings.
Start – 18 Finish – 11 Laps Led – 0 Points – 16th
PAUL MENARD QUOTE: “We had a pretty decent night. We worked on the balance throughout the race and everything played out in our favor to get a good finish. I want to thank all of the guys on this No. 27 Duracell/Menards team and those at the race shop for all of their hard work this year.”