It was June, 2006 the last time Paul Menard visited victory lane in the Nationwide Series. He tasted victory again Saturday in the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 250. It was Menard’s second career win and first in in 98 starts. Menard talked about his win, “Man, good to be back in victory lane, you know, win number two and I think we finished second and third a ton the last couple years, so this feels really good.”
Though Menard had the fastest car, in the closing laps, he found himself chasing down Penske driver, Joey Logano, who used pit strategy to get track position. Once, Logano was out front, he seemed to have the race in hand. Menard was closing, but the Richard Childress Racing driver was quickly running out of laps until Logano slowed heading into turn three on lap 121 with a flat right rear tire.
As Logano hit pit road, Menard took over the lead and never looked back. Logano finished the day in 16th place in his Discount Tire Ford. When asked about the closing laps, Logano replied, “I ran over something, I don’t know. It pretty much sucks. Had a really good Discount Tire Ford this whole race.”
Sam Hornish Jr. continues to impress this season with his part-time driving duties for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hornish spun early in the race on lap two, and had to hit pit road where it was discovered he had an issue with the right rear tire. The early troubles did not seem to phase Hornish who has already visited victory lane once this season at Iowa.
Hornish quickly worked his way through the field and drove his No. 20 Sun Energy 1 Toyota to solid second place finish. Saturday’s run gives Hornish three top-10 finishes in just three starts in the Nationwide Series this season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr, pole-sitter Kyle Busch, and Menard’s RCR teammate, Brian Scott rounded out the top-5
Other notables: Jr Motorsports driver, Chase Elliott finished sixth. Elliott’s JR Motorsports teammate, Regan Smith coming home seventh.
Kyle Larson led 46 laps en route to an eighth place finish. Elliott Sadler ended the day in 17th.
Regan Smith leaves Michigan with a 14 point lead over Elliott Sadler and 20 points over Chase Elliott. Ty Dillon and Trevor Bayne round out the top-5.
The series now head to Road America on June 21, for the Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up By Johnsonville.