Menard, Almirola take hit in points
Photo by Todd Warshaw / NASCAR via Getty Images
Paul Menard races at Pocono Raceway Sunday. Menard finished 31st, two laps down.
Almirola entered the Pocono race weekend 46 points ahead of 17th in points Clint Bowyer while Menard entered 40 points ahead.
After starting 25th, Almirola experienced engine problems before the halfway mark of the race. He fell out of the race after completing 88 laps, eventually finishing 43rd.
“It’s a shame, it was not a good weekend for us,” he said. “We struggled all weekend finding speed in our car… We had some sort of motor issue, so we’ll have to go back. Doug Yates and all the guys do an awesome job giving us great motors and this is just part of it. Every once in a while something happens.”
With 12 races before the Chase Grid is set, Almirola sits 25 points ahead of 17th in driver standings Clint Bowyer.
Menard ran as high as 12th place Sunday, but three pit road speeding penalties and tire issues plagued the No. 27 team’s race. Menard ran as low as last place before the halfway mark. He eventually finished two laps down, 31st overall.
Menard will enter next Sunday’s race 31 points ahead of the Chase cutoff, losing nine points overall at Pocono Raceway.
“Hopefully, we got all of our bad luck out of the way today,” Menard said. “It was a tough day for the Schrock Menards team as a series of events didn't go our way. I’m proud of the calls [crew chief] Justin [Alexander] made and the work the guys did on pit road.”
Menard, who sits as the 14th seed entering next weekend, will come into MIS as the highest ranked Richard Childress Racing driver.