News & Multimedia

Menard Surprises Field With Emotional Brickyard Victory

Paul Menard earned his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup victory Sunday, July 31 in the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com, surprising the field with a strategic fuel gamble and delivering long-sought glory to his family at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Menard held off the late charge of four-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon to win by .725 of a second in the No. 27 Nibco/Menards Chevrolet. Menard averaged 140.762 mph. It was the ninth consecutive Brickyard 400 victory for Chevrolet, dating back to 2003.

Menard’s father, John Menard, entered cars in the Indianapolis 500 in 1982 and 1984 and from 1990-2003, never winning “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid,” Paul Menard said. “My dad has been coming here for 35 years. This is for my dad. A lot of emotions right now.

“I can’t believe we won Indy. This is the greatest racetrack in the world.”

Regan Smith finished third in the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, while 2010 winner Jamie McMurray was fourth in the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet. Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five in the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford.

Menard made his final pit stop on Lap 123 with a large group of cars that gambled on stretching fuel to the finish. Gordon pitted for the last time from the lead on Lap 134.

Two-time Brickyard 400 winner Tony Stewart took over the lead on Lap 135, on a different fuel strategy from Menard and Gordon. Stewart dove into the pits for fuel on Lap 145, handing the lead to Menard.

McMurray passed Menard for the lead at the start-finish line on Lap 152, but Menard regained the lead in Turn 2 on Lap 157. Menard’s crew chief, Slugger Labbe, told him the car had enough fuel for Menard to step on the gas over the closing laps.

“Slugger kept telling me where Jeff was,” Menard said. “When he got to two, three seconds behind us, he said, ‘Take off.’ The car was really good. Clean air is so important. We had it right there.”

But Gordon, with no fuel worries and fresher right-side tires, still closed his No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet to within .688 of a second of Menard with one lap to go. But a lapped car between Menard and Gordon helped Menard expand that gap over the final lap.

“I knew there were some guys that were going to try to stretch it on fuel, and all I could do is run as hard as I could to put pressure on them and hope that I got there in time,” Gordon said. “We got there just a little bit short.

“But Paul did a great job saving fuel because when I got there, even Regan and other guys, they were still pretty much checking up when I got there. It was easy to get by them. But Paul had saved enough to where he could go back to a full pace. By that time, my car was just too tight behind him.”

Pole sitter David Ragan finished 23rd in the No. 6 UPS/Hall Of Fame/Ned Jarrett Ford. He led only one lap. Kasey Kahne dominated the race early, leading the first 47 of the first 51 laps from the second starting spot. He ended up 18th in the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota.

Indiana native Stewart finished sixth in the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, while fellow Hoosier Ryan Newman was 12th in the Haas Automation Chevrolet.

The Crown Royal “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard is scheduled for Sunday, July 29, 2012. It will be the fourth race of the inaugural Super Weekend at the Brickyard, which also will feature a NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday, July 28 and two GRAND-AM races Friday, July 27.

***

2012 tickets: Tickets go on sale Monday, Aug. 1 for the Super Weekend at the Brickyard, scheduled for July 26-29, 2012, at www.imstix.com or in person at the IMS Ticket Office.

The Super Weekend at the Brickyard will feature the NASCAR Nationwide and GRAND-AM Road Racing series for the first time at IMS as they join the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for an unforgettable four days of on-track activity featuring four races in three days.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Menard Surprises Field With Emotional Brickyard Victory
 
Menard Surprises Field With Emotional Brickyard Victory
Paul Menard earned his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup victory Sunday, July 31 in the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com, surprising the field with a strategic fuel gamble and delivering long-sought glory to his family at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Related Media
Kyle Busch
 
No Catching Dominant Busch at Prolonged Brickyard
Never before had a driver in this NASCAR race been so dominant, but the defending Sprint Cup Series and Brickyard 400 champion had to endure a series of four restarts beginning on Lap 153 that prolonged a 160-lap race 10 additional laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart
 
Two Hoosiers, One Final Memorable Moment at The Brickyard
Tony Stewart couldn’t imagine a better farewell, aside from winning, than to invite Jeff Gordon for one more 2.5-mile drive at the track that has meant so much to both NASCAR rivals. Sunday was supposed to be Stewart’s final Brickyard 400. Last year was supposed to be Gordon’s swan song.
Read More
Kyle Busch
 
Kyle Busch Wins 2016 Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver dominated Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard, leading 149 of 170 laps from the pole and surviving four restarts late in his No. 18 Skittles Toyota. He joined Jimmie Johnson (2008-09) as the only driver to repeat in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis.
Read More
Cassadee Pope
 
Chart-Topping Country Star Cassadee Pope to Sing National Anthem at the Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard
ward-winning country music artist Cassadee Pope will sing the national anthem at Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard.
Read More
Jimmie Johnson
 
Brickyard Hopefully The Elixir for Struggling Hendrick Motorsports
That’s what happens when an entire four-car team synonymous with NASCAR success sputters in an improbable slump. Owner Rick Hendrick’s four cars have failed to finish in the top 10 in the past three races entering Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 699
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
#SVRA Schedules "Open Wheel World Challenge" at IMS in 2017 - https://t.co/vWPsG2KKNi https://t.co/UnlRroFBwf
about 3 hours ago