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Continued: Around The Track: Chad Knaus looks cool and confident, but is it just a facade?

  • Article by: JENNA FRYER , AP Auto Racing Writer
  • Last update: July 24, 2013 - 5:05 PM

Menard's win, of course.

Huh?

Yup, Childress picked Menard's win at Indy, a track his family had long supported through open-wheel racing, as the biggest victory of the three.

"Not taking anything away from Dale's or Kevin's first win there, but that one was so special because of being able to win a race with Paul, being able to win at Indy where that whole family had put so much into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," Childress said.

It was Menard's first and only career Sprint Cup win to date, and was decided on fuel mileage as Menard's Chevrolet got better gas than Jeff Gordon, who had the dominant car and led 36 laps to Menard's 21 laps.

"What made that so special was knowing that Paul's family was there," Childress said. "Knowing what John Menard had put into that, I think he had entered like 30-some cars over 20 years at Indy, in the Indy 500. To be part of watching his son win that race was such a special day."

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RAHAL CHANGES: It's been tough going since Graham Rahal joined his father's race team.

While teammate James Jakes has shown flashes of promise this season, Rahal has been mired at the back of the grid and unable to make many gains.

As the prodigal son sits 17th in the IndyCar standings with just one podium finish, father Bob Rahal has taken steps at Rahal Letterman Lanigan to attack the final five races of the season with a fresh eye.

The team this week made three key personnel changes, including moving race engineer Gerry Hughes head of development for the IndyCar program.

Neil Fife, who led Ryan Hunter-Reay to the team's last victory in 2008, will be Rahal's race engineer for the remainder of the season. Mitch Davis was named crew chief, a role that makes him responsible for preparation of the cars for both Rahal and Jakes.

"I'm really pleased about these additions of personnel and roles," said Bobby Rahal. "I want to thank Gerry for his hard work and efforts over the past year and a half as race engineer and I'm grateful that he has taken on the new role as head of development to ensure our success in the future.

"The last Indy car race we won in 2008 with Ryan Hunter-Reay was with Neil at the helm as race engineer, so it's great to have him back. I'm confident that he and Graham will work well together and we can have a successful last third of the season. Finally, having Mitch join the team is the result of a courtship of many, many years. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge with him and will ensure that the cars are put on the race track according to specification. These changes will be a big plus for us going forward."

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X GAMES TRIBUTE: Travis Pastrana will pay tribute to his beloved X Games with a special paint scheme on his No. 60 Ford for the upcoming races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Iowa Speedway.

Pastrana, a 17-time medal winner — 11 golds — at the X Games, will go directly from the Aug. 3 race at Iowa to Los Angeles to compete in RallyCross.

"X Games are the single biggest action sports event in the world," said Pastrana. "I've been able to make a career out of having fun and pushing the limits because of the platform provided by this event. I love everything about it."

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