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From the Marbles

2012 season in the rear view: Paul Menard

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

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(Getty)

Vitals: 16th in the points standings. 0 wins, 1 top 5, 9 top 10s, 1 DNF.

Moment to remember: Menard's lone top five of the season came at newly repaved Kansas Speedway, where he finished third, the highest finishing Chaser of the race and led six laps. It was crew chief Slugger Labbe's first race back from a suspension after Menard's car was found to have altered framerails after the August Michigan race. In that race, Menard finished 9th.

Moment to forget: With one DNF, it seems pretty easy to pinpoint, right? Well, we won't go with it. That DNF came in the fall race at Talladega, when Menard was caught up in that mass of sheetmetal with almost everyone else on the final lap and finished 28th. That was his second lowest finish of the season.

For the forgettable moments, we'll say both Phoenix races. His worst finish of the season came in the first Phoenix race when he finished 31st and in the second race there he was caught up in that final lap carnage and ended up with Danica Patrick's car on top of his hood for a brief second.

The wrap: Menard's post-race comments after that third place finish at Kansas summed up his season quite nicely.

"This year we've lacked speed overall week‑to‑week.  Last year we qualified really well, had a lot of good speed, but very inconsistent results." Menard said.

"This year RCR as a whole has kind of lacked speed.  We found some things in the last month or two that's helped us pick up just overall speed.  Then our consistency this year we've had, even though we haven't been as fast, we've been more consistent.  This is just one of the weekends where we put it all together."

When your two lowest finishes on the season are 28th and 31st, you know you're doing pretty well. However, Menard didn't have many of those weekends where his team put it all together, and that's why he was never really considered a true Chase threat despite being mathematically alive up until Richmond.

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