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By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
Topic - Paul Menard
Brad Keselowski finished third Sunday after two straight runner-up showings at Dover and Pocono. Paul Menard was fourth, followed by Kasey Kahne, Gordon and Earnhardt.
A group decision for all of the cars powered by Earnhardt Childress engines to work together at Talladega Superspeedway proved the correct call in NASCAR's new knockout qualifying format.
Kyle Larson was ninth on the final restart at California, with four rows of traffic to navigate in two laps in a frantic bid for the best finish possible. With Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart at the front, Larson wasn't even thinking about victory.
Paul Menard will miss Friday's practice and qualifying session at Auto Club Speedway following the birth of his daughter.
Truck Series champion Matt Crafton will be on standby at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for Paul Menard as the driver awaits the birth of his first child.
Menards is sticking with Richard Childress Racing.
Richard Childress Racing is appealing the penalties NASCAR levied against Paul Menard's race team this week.
NASCAR has fined Paul Menard's crew chief $100,000 for illegal modifications found on the Chevrolet last weekend at Michigan.
NASCAR drivers Regan Smith and Paul Menard escaped injury Wednesday when Smith lost control of his truck and crashed into trees after hitting a patch of ice near his mountain home in Evergreen, Colo.
NASCAR has found no evidence that Paul Menard intentionally spun to cause the final caution at Richmond.
Richard Childress denied Friday his team ordered Paul Menard to cause an intentional caution at Richmond, but NASCAR said officials are investigating anyway.
Jeff Gordon said he finds it "a little fishy" that Paul Menard spun out at Richmond last weekend, forcing a caution that helped teammate Kevin Harvick win the race. He also wondered if Richard Childress Racing ordered Menard to do it.
Allegations of team orders swirled Thursday around the opening round of NASCAR's championship race, with Jeff Gordon alleging Richard Childress Racing intentionally caused a caution at Richmond that helped Kevin Harvick win the race.
It didn't take long for Paul Menard's race to go awry at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Denny Hamlin won Michigan's Sprint Cup race back in June. If he can repeat the feat this weekend, he might have a few more fans than usual.
"I actually got to go to Victory Lane yesterday with my daughter and my dad was here today, so it was a good Father's Day weekend for sure," he said. "We needed some clean air at the end and the guys got me out front with some pit strategy and good pit stops and we came home with a top five."
"The qualifying format, I think there are good tracks for it and bad tracks for it, and this is definitely a great track for it," Menard said. "We had a plan and we tried to stick to the plan as best we could. Ryan, we put the burden on him to decide when to go and where to go, and the rest of us held it in line. ECR top-six and RCR cars all up there is pretty exciting."