Newman, Menard post DNFs

Photo by Brian DeGruchy/
The Good Sam 500 logo.

By Dominic Aragon
March 14, 2015

AVONDALE, Ariz.Two of the three Richard Childress Racing drivers failed to finish Sunday’s Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Newman brought out the first caution of the race on lap 52 in turn three, while running on the lead lap.

Newman and Menard both suffered from a melted tire bead, a problem caused by “excessive brake heat,” as described by a Goodyear official.

“We just blew a right-front tire, It must have melted the bead or something,” Newman said of the accident.

Photo by Brian DeGruchy/
Ryan Newman's crew works on the No.31 car in the garage area at Phoenix International Raceway.

“I don’t know if something failed in the cooling department or what the deal was. I didn’t do anything any different than I’ve ever done here before.

“Just definitely blew a right-front tire out and that was the end of our day…[the tire] just blew all at once.”

Newman’s last place finish marks the first time since 2008 the driver finished last in a Sprint Cup race. Newman’s last DNF was 25 races ago at Pocono Raceway last June.

After PIR, Newman sits 25th in driver points, losing eight positions, 22 points behind the Chase cutoff.

Photo by Brian DeGruchy/
Paul Menard pre-race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Menard’s turn three single-car incident on lap brought out the second caution of the race,

“I don’t know if a left-front tire blew or what going into [turn] three,” Menard said. “I don’t know if something broke or if a tire blew. We are going to check it out. I’m curious about it.”

Menard weighed in about if he was concerned about his teammate’s tire issue the caution before.

“Well I was told that it wasn’t a tire failure on the No. 31, but then I just heard again that it was,” he said. “I’m not really sure. To me it didn’t feel like what happened to us was a tire failure, it felt like something broke. As soon as it happened I had no brakes either. I don’t really know. We are going to go find out.”

Entering next week’s race at Auto Club Speedway, Menard is 26th in driver’s points, 35 points behind the Chase cutoff.

Will Newman and Menard make the Chase?
Yes, both will.
Only Newman.
Only Menard.
Neither will.
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