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Paul Menard wins Brickyard 400 for first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win

July 31, 2011 |  1:50 pm

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Paul Menard joined a list of drivers capturing their first victory in NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series this season by winning the Brickyard 400 on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Menard, a 30-year-old Wisconsin native who drives for the team of Richard Childress Racing, passed defending Brickyard 400 winner Jamie McMurray with five laps left in the 160-lap race and then held off Jeff Gordon for the victory.

Menard's win came in his 167th career Cup start, and it was especially sweet because his family, which owns the Mendards home-improvement chain, has raced for years in the Indianapolis 500 open-wheel race.

"I can't believe I won at Indy," Menard said in a television interview after climbing out of his yellow No. 27 Chevrolet. "[There's] a lot of emotion right now."

Gordon, the only four-time winner of the Brickyard 400, finished second in his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Regan Smith, who won his first Cup race this year at Darlington, S.C., was third and McMurray ended up fourth in a race where many of the leaders were forced to conserve fuel in the closing stages to reach the checkered flag.

Matt Kenseth was fifth and two-time Brickyard 400 winner Tony Stewart finished sixth.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 16th, pole-sitter David Ragan was 23rd and Jimmie Johnson, the reigning Cup champion and three-time Brickyard 400 winner, finished 19th.

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--Jim Peltz, reporting from Indianapolis

Photo: Paul Menard does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Brickyard 400 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. Credit: Jerry Markland / Getty Images

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