Paul Menard held Ryan Blaney at bay over the closing laps Saturday afternoon at Road America, driving to victory on his “home” track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Menard’s hometown of Eau Claire sits about 230 miles northwest of Road America, which hosted the series’ third road race in four weeks. He started eighth, hung around among the top ten through the first half of the event and then moved the Number-33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet toward the front with the laps winding down.
When race leader Blake Koch’s battery failed during an extended caution less than ten laps from the finish, Menard was in position to assume the lead and held it over the final six trips around the sprawling four-mile circuit. Coming out of the day’s last restart, Menard withstood challenges first from rookie Darrell Wallace Junior and then Blaney before taking the checkered flag for his third career X-FINITY Series win. The margin of victory was a half-second over Blaney. Brian Scott finished third.
Defending series champion Chase Elliott was fourth after leading a race-high twenty-three laps. Wallace completed the top five … Qualifying was rained out, which put Ben Rhodes on the pole based on practice speeds. But the Junior Motorsports driver never challenged for the win, failing to lead a lap and finishing thirty-second in the forty-car field … Championship leader Chris Buescher finished ninth and holds a sixteen-point lead over Elliott, who climbed into second place. Ty Dillon finished tenth on Saturday and slips to third in the standings, now nineteen points off the pace.