Third-Place Finish for Menard


Menard scored his best finish since coming home third at Kansas in October of 2012. (Photo: Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS  – Paul Menard came home third in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 and then hurried home for the birth of his first child.

Menard’s wife Jennifer is due to give birth on Tuesday and Matt Crafton was on stand by this weekend in Las Vegas in case those plans were expedited.

But Menard was able to answer the bell for Sunday’s third race of the Sprint Cup Series season and went on to score his best finish since coming home third at Kansas in October of 2012.

“Yeah, just had a really solid car all day and all weekend, really,” Menard said.

“We're clicking really well, we got a couple new engineers and of course (crew chief) Slugger (Labbe) is back for our fourth our fifth year working together, so a good group of guys. Our pit crew's pit stops were awesome.”

Menard is feeling good about the entire Richard Childress Racing organization, which saw teammate Ryan Newman score a top-10 finish Sunday. He feels the hot start to the season is a result of the work the team has put in to get ready for 2014.

But Menard also understands the season is only three weeks old.

“Well, it's too early to tell, really,” he said. “Obviously Speedweeks were really good for RCR with Austin on the pole, every single car was fast down there.

“But overall, proud of everybody. Richard has put a big investment in the off season hiring some new people, and I feel like our engineering and support staff is awesome.”

As for the blessed event back home, Menard was comfortable everything was in good hands.

“Matt Crafton is my backup and he really wants to get in the car, so I told Jennifer if it's important, call Matt because he's sure as hell going to tell me,” said Menard. “I didn't get the call, though, so I guess everything is good.”

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